Go beyond browsing. With these 39 exceptionally interactive websites and services, you can do anything from launching a private social network to publishing your own book. Here's our Web 2.0 survival guide.
WEB 2.0 BUSINESS AIDS
You have a business to run and you don't have the time or skills to build a website from scratch. Let these services do the heavy lifting for you, allowing you to focus on more important management matters.
The Homestead hosting service has a great toolkit for building a professional site, even if you can't tell your HTML from your BYOB.
The Design Gallery has more than 2,000 templates, so it's unlikely that your site will end up as a clone of your competitors'. Homestead's drag-and-drop tools let you easily add your company's logo and other brands. Its least expensive hosting service for businesses costs $20 (£10) a month, plus a $25 (£12.50) setup fee.
For more affordable hosting, try Yahoo Small Business. Prices start at $9 (£4.50) a month and, when we signed up, the startup fee was waived. The page-design tools are serviceable, although they can't match Homestead's. Constructing an e-commerce site is easy and you get plenty of tips for success.
Google Custom Search is a free, Google-hosted search window that you place on your business's site. You choose the pages that
are searched when your visitors enter a query.
For professional sites, the fee-based Business Edition is worth the cost (rates start at $100 a year). Business Edition removes the Google logo from the search window and Google adverts from the search results, while adding more tools and support.
The Microsoft Small Business Center supplies free technical support for the company's popular business-oriented apps, including Windows XP Professional, Live Meeting and Small Business Accounting. The Startup Center provides advice for entrepreneurs as well as an eclectic mix of business essays, such as the always-popular 'Five rules for on-the-job romance'.