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The following is a list of factors that IBM has determined positively influence Web sites. According to industry experts, by the end of 1999, one in eight small businesses will have a Web site. But, what makes a Web site successful? The following are tips IBM has found to be common on successful Web sites.

1) Update your site regularly to keep customers coming back. This includes adding new products, offering new promotions and updating graphics and pictures.

2) Keep it simple and easy to navigate. Your initial Web site should be no more than five to seven pages. The more complicated it is, the harder it will be for consumers to find the information they want.

3) Allow customers to ask questions and obtain additional information. Provide an 800 number and e-mail address. Customers greatly appreciate a prompt response within 24 hours.

4) Provide links to other sites that may offer additional information. Your Web site is a tool to better serve your customers. If they find the information they need the first time, they are likely to come back.

5) Don't go overboard on graphics. Potential visitors might not stick around long enough to let your site load on their computer. If your business calls for a graphics-intensive site, give consumers the option of loading a "light" site.

6) Provide as much customer service as possible. The key is to make your Web site convenient. Save customers time by including FAQs or frequently asked questions and product information. This will help consumers get answers to their questions quickly.

7) Invite customers to give feedback on your site and/or products by way of e-mail or surveys. This will keep you in touch with your customers as well as help you continue to improve your site.