If you're feeling pressure to create a Web site for your company, you're not alone. Even if you don't want to sell your products or services directly over the Internet, simply maintaining a professional-looking, well-functioning site can help a new company seem more established. (Conversely, having an unappealing, poorly functioning site can hurt business.) Before you get started developing the online component to your business, though, consider the following eight common misconceptions:

1. "If I build it, they will come." Marketing your site may not be as easy as it seems. You'll need economical ways to direct traffic to your site on a national -- or international -- level. Perhaps the most obvious way is to advertise on search engines like Google and/or Yahoo!'s Overture, but this can get expensive. Unfortunately, it can take months or even years for your URL to turn up near the top of organic searches. Investigate other ways to get eyes to your site, like affiliate programs, email newsletters and partnering.

2. The more you offer, the more you'll sell. Trying to be all things to all people rarely works. It may seem logical that the more things you have for sale online, the more people you'll attract. But even if you attract them, will they buy? The "general" aspect of your offering will communicate that the value of your product or service is equal to that of others -- so price becomes the only issue, and branding becomes more difficult. In today's marketplace, there's a powerful demand for specialized products and services. The point is to differentiate your company from your competitors', so determine your niche and stick to it.

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