The first web site was published 20 years ago today. Can you believe it? Still, recent studies show that a large number of small businesses still don’t have a web site.

And that’s a big mistake, according to many small business marketing experts. Brandon Yanofsky from BlistMarketing.com, is one of them. As he sees it, small businesses that don’t have web sites are missing out on three big benefits.

1. People are looking for your product/service online.
People are now using search engines to find products and services. The only way a small business can appear in the search engine results is if they have a Web site, Yanofsky says. “If you have a website, your potential customers will find your business,” he continues. “If you don't, they'll find your competitors.”

2. People are looking for YOU online.
In addition to searching for products and services, Yanofsky says consumers are also using Web sites to get in contact with small businesses. If they need a phone number, they won't look in the Yellow Pages. Instead, they search for the company's Web site.

“When [a plumber's] customer had a leak in their house, they went online looking for his phone number,” he explains. “But because he didn't have a Web site, his customer wasn't able to find his phone number and called his competitor instead.”

3. It's the best way to spend your marketing budget.
Out of all the advertising and marketing methods available to businesses, Yanofsky says Web sites are the most effective and efficient. Compared to other forms of advertising, a Web site is much cheaper but yields more results.

“One of my clients was spending thousands a month on advertising,” he says. “When they finally got a website, they stopped running the advertising and still had more clients. They lowered their costs and increased their revenue.”

Some small businesses may be ready to take the next step: mobile Web sites. Everywhere people are using mobile devices to surf the Web for information. It is more important than ever for businesses to have a mobile website, especially one that presents essential information quickly and displays it in a way that helps website visitors find what they are looking for while on the go.

Traditional Web sites are designed to be used in a desktop computing environment, with a full browser, large monitor, mouse driven navigation and in a mostly sedentary context. By comparison, the mobile user has a small screen and limited navigation tools. Businesses who do not accommodate the mobile user are losing out on the most rapidly growing informational market segment in the world today.

"Having a mobile presence for your business is essential in today's competitive market,” says Gary Hughes, president of SoFlaMobi LLC, parent company of South Florida goMobi. “More and more people are relying on their mobile devices to find information they need while out and about.”

Here's a quick video on how to build a web site yourself: