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One of the biggest benefits of the World Wide Web is that it presents a fast, efficient, and practical way to share information around the world. Information can be updated quickly and easily in a single location without incurring the costs of reproduction and distribution for each individual recipient.

There are two common Web models for information delivery:

Online Publications: You may for example, provide valuable news and how-to articles about business, finances, law, and technology through an electronic medium. Rather than buying the content from a physical newsstand, however, dues-paying your members get the premium content free of charge right off the Web, and nonmembers pay a per-item price to get the information.

If you are charging your subscribers for your online publication or have restricted access to your content, you may need many of the components of an e-commerce site, such as online forms, a merchant account provider, payment gateway software, alternative payment options, customer service, and possibly a product catalog and shopping cart for larger content sites.  If your site content is extensive, you may also need some form of content management software to track and manage your content.

Profits from your new-content Web site can come from charging customers for the content you provide to them. And you can syndicate your content to other Web sites. Of course, your Web site itself can also be a source of income if you sell advertising space for banner ads, sell and manage advertising space, join an affiliate (or associate) program, or create your own affiliate program.

Portal Sites: Portals are informational sites; they are not used to sell products or services but serve as information centers and gateways to other sites. Some portals -- such as Yahoo!, attempt to be complete directories to the Internet. This kind of portal often offers other special features too, such as e-mail, news, shopping directories, and search tools, to entice people to use the site as their main "point of entry" (or "portal") to the Web.

A special-interest portal is another kind of portal site, but it doesn't try to index the entire Web; rather, it is a directory pertaining to one particular thing. The Classic Truck Shop site is an example. There you'll find everything from classic truck auctions to parts dealers, truck clubs, chat, and a bookstore. The site also offers a free e-mail account to its users.

The advantage of building a portal is that you get to be an expert -- either an expert on one particular thing or on the broad scope of the World Wide Web. In the former case, you'll need to gather everything you can on a particular subject, establish contacts in that field, and decide where you want to advertise your site. With the latter, you'll need to constantly monitor and post what is important, popular, and useful about everything on the Internet in general, in order to keep users returning.

While portals do not typically sell products or services, you can make money from your portal if you sell advertising space for banner ads, etc.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 February 2009 13:38
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