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Start an Internet Store

What is an Internet Business?

An Internet Business is a business that drives most of its transactions through Internet.
A company can use the Internet in many ways to conduct its business, it can use email to reach clients and potential clients, it can use its own website to either acquire leads for selling products or sell the products directly on the Website. This Internet Business model is called E-Commerce and its main way of conducting the business is through a Website.
The early days of the e-commerce were held back by security concerns. Nowadays the security fears have lessened as the technology improved and people are confident when buying online. In fact buying online has become, for some people, the main way of purchasing goods.
Nowadays, if you have a good business idea or a good product to sell, opening your online business is almost trivial. You need a domain name, a security certificate, and a hosting company.
Initially the all of the Internet Businesses were hosted on the .com TLD, hence the name given to Internet Businesses – dotcoms. This has now changed and commercial organizations own several domain names on different TLDs.

What is e-commerce?

E-commerce is an acronym for Electronic Commerce and consists of the selling products and services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other types of computer networks. E-commerce also includes the process of marketing, delivering, servicing and paying using the Internet.
An e-commerce company is named e-tailer. E-tailers can be "pure-players" which means that the majority of operations are done on the Internet or, they can be “brick and click” e-tailers, which means that they have a physical storefront but use Internet to market their products and sometimes to complement the store sells with online sells.

Why is e-commerce so popular?

Buying online is very convenient; you can browse a search through products a lot easier than you do in a regular shop. It saves time, because you don’t have to go to the store. And usually the products are cheaper than in a regular store because an Internet Business has less expense associated with physical storage, salaries and other costs associated with a traditional store. These savings are reflected in the final cost of the product.
In fact nowadays, e-commerce has become so popular that we almost depend on it, and our lives would be more complicated if it didn’t exist. Virtually everyone has a computer, hence is a possible e-commerce client.

How Can You Start an Internet Business?

What if you don’t have a product to sell? You would like to start an Internet Business but you don’t have a product. In most of the cases that is not a problem, there is a niche for anybody. Many Internet Businesses actually, do not sell merchandise on Internet. They sell, e-Books, services, digital music, (iTunes and mp3), pay per view shows and movies, Domain Names, Websites, knowledge, and the list can continue. There are websites that live off of advertising only, they write good content and sell add space on their website.
When you plan your business, focus on the things you know very well and you are an expert in. Find your great business idea do a market analysis and start immediately. It is a good idea to buy the domain as soon as possible and start creating content right-away, even if your business will start later. Search engines rank websites using secret algorithms, but we know that the age of a domain name and the associated keywords are important parts of this algorithm.

Focus on Business not on Tools

Many people start an Internet business and lose the focus on the most important thing – the business. They start spending a lot of time on side tasks and most of the times it’s because they have chosen the wrong partner for their enterprise. It is important to choose wisely your online partner so you don’t waste your time assembling pieces of the puzzle from different providers. You need to choose a reliable and reputable partner, an established company that can offer you the tools and the support your business need.

How do you pick a good hosting company?

A good hosting company will provide you with all of the tools to start and not only. They know the market and they find out what tools you need before you do, and make them available to you. Having all of the tools integrated into one account make your life easier. You need to focus on developing your business and not on managing and finding tools.

Compress files in Windows

As a Windows Network Administrator I always have to make space delete unneeded files, archive old files, compress files that we don’t need but we might need at some point.
I don’t use the same compression method every time, because the scenario is different. Here are a three compression methods for Windows.

Compress Files Using the NTFS Compression

Compress Contents to Save Disk Space

This method of compression only works on NTFS partitions. You don’t have the option for a FAT or FAT32 partition.
The most usual and easier way to do this is to use the Windows’ Graphical Interface and access the Advanced File Properties and select Compress contents to save disk space.

Compact – Compress files or folders from command line

If you would like to compress files from a batch file use this command line variant. Usually if you access the advanced file properties, (right-click => properties and => advanced) you have the option to compress contents to save space. Another good use of the command line is that it gives you a better view of the progress. The graphic interface sometimes hangs and you don’t know if the job is still active.

The command to compress a folder from within the folder is compact /c /s. It compresses all of the files within the folder and marks the folder as compressed so that new files are created compressed.

Why would you choose Compact and not Zipped Folder?

The main reason is that a compacted folder can be used by applications. In other words if the path of a log file points to a compacted folder this is transparent for the application that writes the log file. As a result your log files will be compacted. You cannot do this with Zipped folders or files.

Compress files using the Windows’ built-in zip archiving utility

Send to Compressed (Zipped) folder

Why would you choose Compressed (Zipped) Folder over the Compacted Folder?

The zipped Folder has better compression and better portability. The zipped folder has a slightly better compression rate, and you can copy the files to any other Operating System, send them by email and they will retain the compression. The compacted folders will only be compressed on the original location unless you compress the file again at the new destination. Note in the image below the difference between the two file compression formats. The Windows shell has the option to “show NTFS compressed files in color”, which is a great option. Note that the zipped file is slightly smaller than the compacted, (blue colored), one.

Compact (the native NTFS compression) vs Compress the send to Zipped Folder
Compact vs Compress click to enlarge

Is there a Compressed (zipped) Folder – command line variant?

Unfortunately, there isn’t any Windows built-in option. The good news though is that there is a free archiver that has a command line version as well. 7zip is a great free utility very flexible that manipulates all of the popular archiving file formats.

Compressing from the command line with 7zip is very simple, the simplest command is 7z a NewFolder.zip “New Folder” that compresses the folder New Folder into the archive: NewFolder.zip. For more options and switches type: 7z –h, note that 7z doesn’t understand the /? switch, usual on any Windows application.

Why would you choose 7Zip over the Windows’ built in compressing solutions?

The main reason is flexibility. 7zip has a lot of options/switches that control a lot of the compression aspects and it is very easy to use in a batch file.

An interesting application is to separately archive a lot of folders from a batch file. Let’s say you have 500 folders that you want to archive and you know you will be accessing those folders on a regular. It makes more sense to archive the folders separately and not in one big file. It is easier to access smaller zip files from the Windows shell and keeps the system responsive. To do this manually for 500 folders is a nightmare. Here is a command that runs from a batch file that will compress those folders separately, each folder one zip file:

for /D %%d in (*.*) do 7z a -tzip “%%d.zip” “.\%%d\*”

To run the command from the command line and not from a batch file the command is slightly different:

for /D %d in (*.*) do 7z a -tzip “%d.zip” “.\%d\*”

There are other great archiving utilities such as Winzip, Winrar, Pkzip, etc… They are not free, but you can get a trial-ware which in many cases is good enough for anybody.

A few tips on what to compress and what not.
Usually Installation files are already compressed so there is no benefit in compressing.
Digital photos in a jpg or gif format are already compressed using special algorithms.
PDF files don’t compress.
Text files, (plain text, log files, etc…) compress the best.
Word files can be compressed but not as much as the text files.