One of the biggest advantages of pay per click for small business is its low cost. Businesses can start out by spending as little as a few dollars per week.

Pay per click also gives businesses immediate feedback on whether their ads are succeeding at bringing potential customers to their Web site. They can change or halt their campaign at any time - something that's not possible with traditional media like the Yellow Pages.

Finally, pay per click is an efficient way of finding qualified leads -- potential customers who are actively interested in a company's product.

Running a successful pay-per-click campaign typically requires a detailed understanding of how to choose and price keywords, and write effective ads. It also involves tracking results and tweaking the campaign on a frequent basis.

So small-business owners face a tough choice between channeling their own limited time into pay per click, or spending big bucks on a consultant.

Get the full story at the San Francisco Chronicle