2019 is here, and it’s hard to believe there are still small businesses who do not have a website. In fact, recent market research indicates that up to 50% of small businesses still do not have a website, despite the fact that most small business owners are aware of the importance of having an online presence.
The 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report researched the marketing strategies of more than 1000 SMEs and more than 1000 consumers across Australia and found, on average, only half of small businesses have a website. Furthermore, data from the research suggests 62% of customers will stop considering a small business if they can’t find information about it online.
This research should ring alarms bells for any small business who has not yet taken the plunge and invested in a website. Most small business owners understand why they need a website, so what are the major barriers holding them back?
Barriers to having a website
Perceived barriers for not having a website as reported by small business owners include:
- the cost of the website development
- technical knowledge (or lack there of)
- the need for ongoing technical support to maintain the website
- security concerns
- the personal time devoted to developing and maintaining the website
Addressing the barriers
Let’s address each of these barriers.
The cost of website development
There is a lot of mystery around the development cost of a website. In my experience, there are those who believe even a basic business website will cost many thousands of dollars, while there are others who think that for a few hundred dollars they should be able to get a top of the line website with all the bells and whistles. However, the truth lies somewhere in between. The cost will vary depending on what functionality you need and how your website is built. It can also vary based on who you get to develop your website – for example an agency will, in general, charge more than a Freelancer because they have more overheads, and an experienced web designer will charge more than a inexperienced designer.
As with any investment, it always a good idea to get quotes from a number of sources. Just make sure you are comparing apples with apples – the best way to do this is provide a brief to the web designer so they know exactly what you need. If you have multiple quotes and one is much cheaper (or dearer) than the others make sure you compare the quotes, as there may be a significant difference in the product they are offering. If you don’t know what you need – don’t worry. A good designer will be able to ask the right questions to determine your requirements.
Tip: Remember – you get what you pay for, so cheap is not always best.
Unless you are planning on building the website yourself, you will require very limited technical knowledge. A good web designer will steer you through the requirements they need to get your website up and running, it is their job to take care of all the technical requirements.
Ongoing Technical support
Would you buy a new car and not have it serviced regularly? Or a new piece of business equipment and not maintain it? Of course not, and your website is no different. The trick here is to ensure that the web designer/freelancer/agency you choose to develop your website can provide this support in a timely and cost efficient manner. Make sure this is included in the quote so you know exactly what you are up for moving forward.
This is a legitimate concern, however there are many steps that can be taken to minimise the risk. Talk to your web developer if you have concerns about security – an experienced web designer will already have systems in place designed to protect your website from viruses and hackers. Security concerns should not be a reason to not a have a website, considering all the advantages having an online presence brings to your business.
Time devoted to developing and maintaining the website
When you are building a website for the first time, you will be required to invest some time into the development of the content. However let’s put that into perspective: once your website is live, that content will be working for you 24/7 for a number of years. So it is worth the initial time investment to get this right. You may also find that you already have a lot of suitable content on hand, for example printed brochures, capability statements, business plans can all contain information that may work for your website. If you decide to get professional photographs taken for the website, you will also be able to use those for other projects such as brochures, advertising and social media.
Because your business grows and changes, your website should always be considered a work in progress, meaning that there will be instances where you will need to change or add new content to the website. If you are using a content management system like WordPress, there will also be software updates and other maintenance tasks required. These are simple enough to do yourself, or many web designers offer monthly maintenance packages which can include these updates plus content changes for a small monthly fee.
If your small business is one of the 50% in 2019 without a website, talk to us and let us help you get your business online.