ForeWord Reviews

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How to Dotcom

Step-by-Step Guide to E-Commerce

Foreword Review — Nov / Dec 2000

The percentage of dotcom sites on the Internet have more than doubled over the last five years. How to Dotcom is a good starting point for all the people who are still unsure of how to begin commerce on the Web.

A dotcom is a commercial business that has a Website, the word being derived from the standard naming convention for Websites. Whether a person owns an actual storefront (brick and mortar) business and wants to take it online, or is starting a new business, this book is a handy guide on creating a successful dotcom. It covers website creation and design, marketing and attracting customers, and securing investors. From there it offers choices of software for building the site, instructions on how to set up sales transaction processing and credit card service, and gives sound business advice at every step.

The tone of the book is conversational and basic. It’s probably one of the most user friendly books on the topic, and there are many. Lots of real-life examples of different individuals and companies involved in Web based businesses give readers the assurance that anyone can do this, from The Chocolate Vault, a small husband-and wife-owned candy shop in rural Wisconsin, to retail giants like Staples and Office Max. Expert advice is also provided through “Cheap Tricks,” mini-interviews with low budget Website creators; and “E-Chats,” interviews with CEOs of famous name-brand sites. Key points are emphasized in small sidebars interspersed throughout the book containing useful information such as smart tips, money-saving ideas to consider, pitfalls to avoid, and pointers for other online opportunities. Affiliate programs, for example, are a way to generate cash from one’s Website every time a customer clicks on the affiliate’s site banner. Two chapters are devoted to discussing alliances and affiliates, and the pros and cons of using banners and links to other sites, strategies that are often unfamiliar to novice Web developers. The book also contains a chapter listing 100 useful e-commerce Websites to bookmark for reference on Web statistics, wireless Web resources, consumer protection, software and tools for Web page builders, clip art, and more.

McGarvey is a high-tech columnist for Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur’s Start-Ups, and Home Office magazines. His ten commandments of why not to delay setting up an e-commerce site and his expert and practical advice on how to proceed make this book a useful addition to any Netpreneur’s library.

Cindy Patuszynski