Do you need a website? During the initial rush in the 90's, everyone thought they would benefit from a website. Too often, small businesses ran out of funds and their website never turned a profit. Your first step is to decide if, and why you need a website.

If you are a large scale product manufacturer, distributor, or a service provider a website is for you. Use it to provide literature about your product/service, thus cutting the costs involved in publishing and distributing brochures and manuals. Furthermore, customers are more likely to return to a business with a web presence, as it is the next best thing to 24-hour phone support. On the other hand, a small shop is unlikely to benefit from a website, even if you've seen commercials depict small businesses making it big through their website and UPS.

If you are looking to attract new customers, you need to determine whether your target audience actually uses the web to buy the product/service you offer. Not many people look on the web to buy groceries. However, a businessman looking for a manufacturer of solar cells, or a graduate student looking for insurance, or a parent looking for gifts to buy for the family are all likely to use the internet as a means to an end.