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UK Survey Reveils Small Businesses Are STill Without A Website

May 12, 2009 by  

Web Hosting ToolsLondon – 46 per cent of Britain’s smallest enterprises are still without a website and many seek assistance in getting one, according to research released today by 1&1 Internet Ltd., the world’s largest web host by known servers. A study of 530 small enterprises found that from those without a website, 41 per cent recognise that a web presence could increase their sales, but believe they are prevented by factors including the time, cost and skill required to keep a website. The data suggests that such companies are misinformed over the true cost and time needed to build a website themselves. Significantly, a further 47 per cent of firms still off-line believe that a website could not benefit their business. This is in direct contrast with a further survey of 152 similar businesses with websites, where 80 per cent gain revenue from their sites, and 80 per cent would be willing to build their next website themselves using a DIY-style website package.

Whilst many British companies achieve increased visibility and sales online, 1&1’s ‘Smaller Business Online Survey'(1) finds that an alarming number of small sized enterprises have been left behind. The study of 530 enterprises employing 1 to 5 people (including tradesmen, entrepreneurs, small retailers, self-employed and home workers), finds that today some 46 per cent are still without a website on the Internet to promote their business. Whilst the business owners involved are likely to use the Web in their personal lives, their enterprise activities remain out of sight of millions of potential customers. Some 41 per cent of those off-line desire a web presence to increase their sales, but first need concerns over the costs, time and skill to be addressed. For 1 in 5 owners, the worry that a lack of a website may be losing them business has caused negative emotions such as “stress” and “anxiety”.

1&1’s data suggests that confusion over the time and cost involved in creating a simple website could be a key factor in low web adoption within such sized businesses. The average off-line enterprise estimates the cost of a website to be double the £150 required. 1 in 3 firms estimate the cost to be over £300, and 1 in 4 at over £400. For very small enterprises, even a slight over-estimation of the costs is likely to negatively impact their cost/benefit decision.

Whilst using a DIY-style website package is one of the most common and popular ways for a business to launch online, the vast majority of small sized enterprises were misinformed over the time required. Only 14 per cent of respondents correctly estimated that it takes under 30 minutes to create a simple website oneself using an online website package. The average small business owner believes it would take up to 3 hours, 6 times the requirement, to build a very simple website. More than 1 in 4 (28 per cent) would expect to invest over 7 hours to build any kind of website.

Such misconceptions are in stark contrast with the experiences of 152 similar business owners already online(2), where around two thirds (65 per cent) built their first business website either themselves or by an employee with no prior experience of creating one. Experiences of self-build website tools were positive, with 80 per cent of business owners willing to create their next business website themselves using one, in order to reduce costs.

Oliver Mauss, CEO 1&1 Internet Ltd, said, “Whilst many small companies today leverage the web with increasing proficiency, too many enterprises remain excluded. Every business owner should at least be aware that today a website is simple and affordable to source. Those sceptical of the benefits to their business have little to lose in experimenting and seeing the impact for themselves”.

Graham Jones, Internet Psychologist, comments, “If small businesses do not deal with their fears and anxieties about running a website, there is a chance they will not be in business much longer because their potential clients will not be able to find them”.

Some 47 per cent of firms without a website remain convinced that a website could not benefit their type of business. Significantly, those companies that have launched a website would disagree. Those surveyed (taken from sectors including tradesmen, retail, professions, crafts etc) report that their websites succeed in generating sales revenue for 80 per cent of them. Their websites generate on average 10 per cent of their total sales revenue. Some 94 per cent believe that every size of enterprise should have a website, and 79 per cent would not wish to go back to the days where there was no Internet.

“Business owners often feel that the Internet will not help their company very much. But this is a mistake. Even if you are providing a completely local service and rely on personal recommendation for your income, those people recommending a business are more likely to do so if there is a website they can refer their friends too”, adds psychologist Jones.

This month, 1&1 launches a unique new website package, 1&1 MyBusiness Site which greatly simplifies the process of creating a business website. Users simply enter their business type and contact details, and 1&1 MyBusiness Site generates a fully functioning, sector-relevant website to be trialled free of charge and priced at £9.99/month+VAT thereafter. 100 types of small business sector are covered. 1&1 MyBusiness Site comprises an excellent way for any enterprise to launch online with no skill or upfront fees required.

Mauss added, “No business owner should feel it’s too late to join the digital revolution. Put simply, there are now solutions designed with them in mind. In today’s difficult economic climate, every British enterprise should have their door open to the Web”.

For more information on 1&1 visit the website at www.1and1.co.uk

(1) Survey of 530 UK enterprises with 1 to 5 employees in March 09 via online feedback form
(2) Survey of 152 UK enterprises with 1 to 5 employees and publish a company website, in March 09 via online feedback form

About 1&1 Internet Ltd
1&1 Internet Ltd based in Slough, west of London, is Europe’s No.1 web hosting and domain name registration company. 1&1 Internet Ltd is the UK arm of 1&1 Internet AG based in Germany (a subsidiary of United Internet Group, a public company with a market cap of around 2 Billion GBP). 1&1 was established in 1988 and holds some 8 million British, German, French, Spanish, Austrian and US customer contracts and serves some 10 million domain names at its 65,000 server strong Data Centres. 1&1 prides itself on being the one-stop-shop for web solutions.

1&1 Internet Ltd entered the UK domain registration and web hosting market in June 2000. As a well funded profitable company, it is in a strong position to deliver a high quality service at low cost. 1&1 is an accredited Registrar with ICANN (.com), Nominet (.co.uk), Afilias (.info) and NeuLevel (.biz).

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