Conducted in October 2012 by print, design and website specialist Snap and involving more than 250 SME owner-managers across Australia, the study found that 29 per cent of Aussie SMEs don’t have a website. Of those SMEs that do have a website, 45 per cent didn’t launch the site until six-months of trading, while 15 per cent waited until their second year of trading before they invested in an online presence.
The survey also found that for those companies that do have a business website, 79 per cent don’t have an e-commerce/shopping cart function built into their site; 60 per cent didn’t gather any kind of visitor data (such as email addresses); and 74 per cent had websites that weren’t mobile compatible. Further, while many of the SME owners surveyed rated websites and online as their second most important marketing channel, 48 per cent didn’t utilise SEO, while 83 per cent weren’t undertaking Google ad words or Pay-Per-Click activity.
The study concluded that there exists amongst Aussie SME owners a prevailing DIY attitude among towards their company websites, with 67 per cent taking on the job themselves, 27 per cent relying on the services of friends or family, while 9 per cent used keen work experience staff or office juniors. And while half of those surveyed admitted they’d faced “problems” due to the lack of professional help, the most common being confusing navigation (65 per cent), ill-conceived design (42 per cent), spelling mistakes (29 per cent) unnecessary website downtime (29 per cent) and broken links/error 404 messages (24 per cent), 30 per cent admitted to not employing professional help to build or amend their site.
“In today’s market, businesses should not only have a website, but they should operate at a certain level of sophistication – able to sell products through an online store, take customer enquiries and appear highly in search rankings,” Snap CEO Stephen Edwards says. “It’s no longer acceptable for owner-managers to shrug their shoulders and claim that this technology is too expensive or complicated. With the right provider, it doesn’t need to be. The vast majority of Australians are now active online, so it’s essential for Australian businesses to have a sophisticated web presence too.”
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