A recent study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that nearly a quarter of small business do not have a website. The findings are staggering. Australian’s are amongst the most tech-savvy consumers in the world. We are world leaders in online piracy, smart phones per person and social media use and yet one in four businesses are still missing out on the benefits of having a small business website.
Australian’s are not just amongst the world’s largest internet users when it comes to social or recreational activities. eCommerce has increased by 10 Billion dollars over the last 12 months. It now sits at $250 Billion annually. If you do not have a small business website you are missing out on this ever growing market.
Given having a small business website seems obvious, we thought we’d look at the common reasons business are currently missing out by not maintaining a website.
I don’t sell anything online so why do I need a small business website? A common misconception is that websites are only of value as an extra market place. In fact, the opposite is true. eCommerce is a bonus but the real importance of a website is as a marketing and branding tool. Your small business website first and foremost starts relationships. It shows people searching for your product that your business exists. Nearly 60% of consumers search online for local businesses at least once a month. Being online helps people find out that your business exists. In a country with 13 million internet users, that is nearly 800 thousand people per month searching for local businesses online.
I can just use Facebook instead. Whilst social media is important it doesn’t serve the same purpose as a webpage. A Facebook account still misses out on anyone searching for your business. It also lacks any personal touch and makes it harder for you to make important information available to users. Having a small business website can also help your business operate more efficiently by making answers available to your frequently asked questions. This will free up the time your staff spends answering them and leave them to focus on building stronger relationships with customers.
I can just use a free website design like Weebly. Any web presence is better than none at all, but users who are searching for business will invariably go for the one with the better website. A free website host is plain and generic and shows a lack of effort. The lack of personal feel in the website translates to the customer. Free website hosts also perform poorer in search engines making you harder to find for your customers.
I can’t afford to have a website. Whilst this is a common concern the question will increasingly be can you afford not to have one? Businesses with a website take in 20% better than businesses without one. Not having a small business website can hurt all your other efforts to win consumers. Studies show that nearly 60% percent of people do not trust a business without a website, so if you are looking for new customers a website is a must to ensure that you are not losing half of your potential market.
I don’t know how to update or use a website. New CMS’s like WordPress can be just as easy to update and maintain as sending an email or writing word document. It can be as writing a heading in one box and what you want to update in another and pressing post. This means once you’ve set up your website it is quick and easy to maintain.
My customers aren’t internet users. We are slowly hearing this less often, and rightly so, but we still here it now and then. The fact is, it is unlikely this is true and if it is true it won’t be for long. The fastest growing sector in internet usuage is between the ages of 50-75, so increasingly older customer bases will start becoming web users. On top of that, new customers will always be internet users.