Everyone talks about the Internet, but it's intimidating for beginners.
Starting this month,Professional Jeweleroffers step-by-step instructions
on getting acquainted with the World Wide Web, setting up service, Web surfing
and building a Web site
If you don't have an Internet connection yet, getting started can be
confusing and may seem not worth the effort. There are many new terms and
much unfamiliar equipment. Take a deep breath and use our checklist to get
You'll need an adequate computer. To run today's World Wide Web browsers
(the software needed to view Web sites), you'll need a computer with sufficient
RAM (the computer's brainpower; in computer lingo, 16 MB is generally recommended)
and hard drive space (at least 1 gigabyte). Most Pentium computers bought
in the past few years are good enough, and some later model 486 systems
can be upgraded to work. The system should be sophisticated enough to run
Windows 95®. Visit a computer store and ask about deals basic
systems are available for less than $1,000. Also consider buying used equipment.
A Fast Modem
You'll need a built-in modem or a modem port to attach a separate modem
unit. A modem works like a telephone: you plug it into a phone jack in your
wall so it can "dial" a number to connect your computer to the
Internet server, another computer that's directly connected to the Internet.
Because Web sites are so graphic-heavy these days, buy a fast modem. (The
fastest speed available now is 56.6 kilobytes per second. Pages will appear
quickly on your screen when your computer communicates with the server at
This is a company that gives you access to e-mail, which allows you to send
and receive instantaneous messages via your computer. You also get access
to the World Wide Web, a network of pages of information and resources posted
worldwide by companies, organizations, schools and individuals. These pages,
called Web sites, are transmitted over the phone line to your computer.
Once you have an Internet provider, you can visit any of these sites by
opening your Web browser software and typing in Web site addresses (the
long string of letters starting with "www" that you're starting
to see at the bottoms of ads; they're also called URLs [uniform resource
When you sign up with a provider, you get an account with a password
and a local phone number that your modem dials to connect to the server.
You have several options when choosing a provider:
- Membership networks. Providers such as America Online (888-265-8002),
Compuserve (800-524-3388, ext 664), Microsoft Network (800-386-5550) and
Prodigy (800-213-0992) are exclusive, closed communities providing news,
entertainment, chat rooms, research resources and e-mail for members, usually
for about $20 a month for unlimited access. Most services also give access
to the World Wide Web with their own browsers, but it's secondary to their
members-only services. Because thousands of people dial the access numbers,
the line is often busy (especially with AOL), so you can't always connect
immediately. Many novices start with membership networks to get familiar
with the technology, then graduate to an independent provider.
- Independent providers. Practically every region has dozens of Internet
providers with local dial-in numbers. For a monthly fee (again about $20),
they set up an account and reserve space on their server so you can put
up your own Web page. These companies are more do-it-yourself than the
prepackaged networks and are often harder to set up properly. Look in the
Yellow Pagesunder "Internet" for local providers. Ask
each one what software and support they provide.
- WebTV. Devices for computerless folks made by Phillips/Magnavox and
Sony plug into your TV and phone line to access the Web and send and receive
e-mail. The TV box costs $249, and you then subscribe to a monthly network.
People use it to send e-mails during commercials and surf the Web from
the comfort of their sofas. The drawbacks: you can't access other Internet
capabilities, download files or save information to a disk the way you
can on a computer. (800) GO-WEBTV.
- @Home. Different from WebTV, you connect to the Internet with a computer
plugged in to your TV's cable. The connection is 100 times faster than
phone-line modem connections, the company says. Technicians come to your
home to set up the service, which is $29.95 to $49.95 per month. There's
also a service called @Work for businesses. The service is available only
in certain areas; call your cable provider to check.
Most service providers will send you beginning software to get you started
with e-mail and the Web. This often arrives on CD-ROM or floppy disk. Ask
whether they configure the software for you (in other words, they should
type in the necessary numbers, codes and options in the software that will
dial your modem for you.) The software checklist:
- TCP/IP and PPP software (short for point-to-point protocol), which
configure and help your modem connect properly.
- Web browser software, such as Netscape Navigator® or Microsoft
- E-mail software, such as Eudora (some Web browsers also read e-mail).
Once you have these programs, you can download other software, such as
alternative browsers and software to help you transfer files to servers,
telnet to connect to different servers and chat. (More on this will be explained
in future issues.)
The Phone Line
You need an available phone line. Understand that an Internet connection
will tie up your phone line like a phone call, so you may want to add a
dedicated line for the modem. "Call Waiting" often interrupts
your connection, so type *70 (to turn off this calling feature) before the
access phone number in your configuration. Be sure to use an access phone
number that is in your local calling area to prevent long-distance charges.
by Stacey King
Next month: Insructions on dialing your modem
for the first time, troubleshooting and starting the "browsing"
process on the World Wide Web.
Web Site Woes
For those who still see a needle in a haystack as a challenge, the World
Wide Web has become positively befuddling.
Jewelers who build monuments to their stores among this chaos are often
disappointed with the results, says Rich Goldstein of iJeweler, an Internet
marketing service for the jewelry industry. He outlines three major reasons
for lack of response to a jeweler's Web site:
- Problems with the site. The page is technically challenging (it loads
too slowly or the links don't work), hard to navigate or not useful. The
design should be clean and make sense; it should not alienate people with
older browsers and slower equipment; content should be an interactive resource.
- Lack of strategic planning. If you're thinking about spending money
to become part of an on-line marketplace, calculate the amount you'll spend
vs. how much of a return you might get as one of many jewelers in the spot.
If you're an independent site, consider how you can link to other sites:
check out banner ad exchange programs or consumer jewelry sites.
- Inadequate marketing. Most graphic artists who build Web sites fail
to approach the art from a marketing standpoint, says Goldstein. Find a
company to help you evaluate what to do with your Web presence. Once you've
designed a site geared toward getting a return on investment, promote your
URL like crazy: on business cards, advertising, on-hold messaging and local
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.