It is hard to give a specific answer to a general question, other then saying "it depends".
For most web-based startups, while attending conferences might be worth the cost (time and money), getting a booth makes no sense given the cost to benefit ratio. On the other hand, if you want to get into places like tech crunch, you might need to go to some conferences in the valley.
If the conference includes a competition, and you manage to win, it might get you investors, and be more then worth the costs. Checkpoint software, the company that invented the firewall in the early 90's did just that.
If your product is not web based, it might be very relevant to showcase it in a conference, once your product is ready. The company I work for (a startup with 20 employees) is showing its product, a biometric security system for highrise buildings, in a multifamily conference in Las Vegas right now (yesterday and today). Yes, its expensive, but our customers are not web savvy, and its hard to reach them any other way. I still don't know the results of the conference, but I hope it will be worth the investment.
I might be able to give you more specific advice if you elaborate more on your product and the current start of the company.