From the January 1997 issue of Entrepreneur

Tips on Advertising on the Web

Want to advertise your business on the Web but don't have the budget? Maybe you can do it for free. Some local newspapers are starting online business directories where companies can list themselves--with brief write-ups and contact information--and the cost for inclusion is zip.

A case in point: the Business Directory located on the In Jersey Web site (http://www.injersey.com), an online service of the Asbury Park Press and The Home News & Tribune. A plus for users is that the directory is searchable by business specialty or location--so customers seeking, say, a payroll service in Brick Township or a children's clothing shop in Marlboro can quickly get directed to the right business (maybe yours).

Check it out, and if your local paper doesn't offer a similar service, ask them to take a look at In Jersey.

Flower Power

Send a cyber birthday bouquet--or flowers for an anniversary, a holiday or just for fun--and do it for free at (a href=http://www.virtualflowers.com>http://www.virtualflowers.com). The recipient gets an e-mail message inviting them to take a look at their flowers by visiting that site, a cyberstore erected by Jenny's Floral Studio in Ontario. Once there, they see gorgeous images of sunflowers, say, or roses.

This site ranks high for its cleverness in building traffic with minimal expense--Jenny's owner, Tanya Wolff-Molson, claims 3.5 million hits monthly. (And, of course, some of those visitors decide to buy real bouquets.)

Test Drive

Try it, don't buy it." That's the new wave of software marketing taking hold on the Web, where more software makers are offering free downloads of fully functional programs. A recent check found Norton, Quarterdeck, Starfish and Corel all offering "trialware" versions of major programs. The only hitch: The programs are "timed"--after 30 days, most expire and won't run until you type in a password that's yours upon payment for the program. Still, a good tip is if you're interested in a program but want to know more before buying, visit the manufacturer's Web site.

An even better tip: Once you've bought software, make a point to visit the company's Web site often. Why? That's where you'll find "patches" and "bug fixes," which are plentiful these days as makers rush products to market without ironing out kinks.

Most software makers' sites can be found just by pointing your browser at www.COMPANY-NAME.com. When that doesn't work, Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com) or any other search engine will locate what you want.

Site Unseen

What if you put up a Web site and nobody comes? An antidote is offered by WebPromote (http://www.webpromote.com). Offering Web site marketing packages that start at $185, WebPromote submits your site for listing to the top 100 search engines (such as Excite, Magellan and Yahoo), Web yellow pages, bunches of "What's New" sites, and more depending on the package you choose.

Couldn't you do this yourself? Sure, but WebPromote does all the time-consuming grunt work for you. Once you're listed, will visitors flock to your site? There's no guarantee--but you can bet that if you're not widely listed, there will never be traffic jams at your site.

Contact Sources

In Jersey, (908) 922-0770, info@injersey.com;

Jenny's Floral Studio, fax: (519) 332-2310, jenny@webpromote.com;

WebPromote, (847) 918-9292,manager@webpromote.com.