I feel like the small business Internet game is about as confusing as the entire Internet itself. What I hear from small business owners is, ?Do I really need a web site?? and ?Why aren?t I getting hits on my site now??.

The real issue is how do we as small business owners get the results we want and not pay a lot of money to make that happen?

Here are some rules of small business Internet development:

RULE 1 - Your idea has been taken, so make yours different. It?s the execution of the idea itself that makes a difference.

RULE 2 ? A web site is NOT a business. It is a business only when it generates revenue. If all you want is a place where people can get more information or if you are using it as a way to communicate information to a large market, then it is not considered a business.

RULE 3 - A single strategy for making money may not be enough. Look for creative ways to generate revenue. Banner ads are not the only way to build fusion-marketing strategies. You can sell tapes, books, and products from other companies and create a link to be a distributor.

RULE 4 ? The technology IS complicated! Don?t let anyone convince you that it is not. However, we can all learn new tricks and find the right web site consultants to guide us through the process. Beware of people selling you too much too soon. Interview a number of web masters before hiring anyone.

RULE 5 ? It is impossible to build a web site business without sharing your idea with someone. It could be a banker, an angel investor, or a strategy consultant. You will need help somewhere along the way.

THE MESSAGE - What?s in it for the visitor? Remember it?s not about you, it?s about them and what you can do to help them.

THE DESIGN - The image of your web site should not be left to amateurs. Treat it just like you do your business cards or other marketing collateral. If it looks unprofessional, your visitor will question the professionalism of your company.

THE PLAN - Integrate your web site marketing strategy in with the entire marketing plan for your business. Remember that it is merely a piece of the marketing pie and a single component of a larger strategy.