The world isn't flat, there is no fountain of youth to be found in Florida, and drinking snake oil isn't going to give you any superhuman powers. Strange as it might seem, however, these were all once popular enough beliefs to get people to go to pretty great lengths (or part with big chunks of their own savings) just to find out.

fountain of youth

The same thing happens on a smaller degree with Internet marketing, simply because a lot of the people with the most to gain or lose – namely business owners and executives – aren't informed enough to know better. And how could they be? Unless you have time to study the Internet on a daily basis, like we do, you often have to rely on second- or third-hand information to make decisions and investments.

The problem, though, is that many of those beliefs and ideas turn out to be myths.

And, you don't want to build your next website and inbound lead generation plan on little more than that. With that in mind, here are seven myths about online marketing you might still believe, but should stop paying attention to:

Myth 1. Online marketing is best left to the experts.

Granted, there is a lot to know, but that doesn't mean you should take a hands-off approach to your company's success. A good online marketing partner will teach you about the fundamentals, so you know what you're paying for and can do as much or as little as you want to your website.

Myth 2. Social media is all about teenagers and vacation photos.

To be sure, lots of young people love social networking and spend more time on sites like Facebook and Twitter than their older, busier parents do. But, social media is everywhere these days, and sites like LinkedIn can be fantastic for delivering content and growing your network.

Myth 3. Your website should be designed for Google.

Given that Google processes more than two billion searches per day, it does make sense to pay attention to basic search engine optimization. But, designing your whole site around what you think Google wants is counterproductive – not only do algorithms change, but your first goal should be to sell to people, since search engine spiders don't spend money.

Myth 4. You need lots and lots of web traffic to be profitable.

As we have noted on our blog before, traffic is useful, since it leads to sales opportunities, but it has to be the right traffic. In other words, you shouldn't be trying to appeal to everyone online, but a select group of perfect (or nearly perfect) customers for your business.

Myth 5. Finding leads online is all about slick design or low prices.

Just as in the brick-and-mortar world, there will always be customers who flock to the lowest price tag, or those that are fooled once or twice by slick packaging. But, in this day and age, buyers are savvier than ever, and reviews are all over the Internet. That means that superior products, services, and customer care are important to long-term success.

Myth 6. Your website should be an elaborate brochure.

That's an outdated way of thinking. Today's sites certainly should convey information, but they should also be sources of news and insight, not to mention the starting points for new relationships. A professionally-designed and developed site should be able to collect information, generate leads, and help you connect with prospects.

Myth 7. Internet marketing is something you can do once.

This usually goes along with the belief that all you need is a great website and good things will start to happen over the Internet. That's not a bad starting point, but it takes a lot of work beyond that, especially in the form of blog posts, social content, and other updates, to really stand out online.