The Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index 2014 has found that just 50 per cent of small businesses have a website, with the majority of these only providing basic functionality, while just under a third (29 per cent) believe that being online isn’t relevant for them. According to 123-reg, the UK’s largest domain registrar, the report points to a worrying lack of understanding among UK SMEs when it comes to getting their business online. Businesses must plan for the future and wake up to the imperative of having an online presence.
Matt Mansell, Group Managing Director of 123-reg’s parent company, Host Europe Group, said: “It’s staggering to think that in 2014 just half of small businesses have an online presence and that one in three seem to have dismissed the opportunity altogether. Having an online presence was once a nice-to-have, but it’s fast becoming a precursor to running a business. The movement of traffic towards the web is staggering, with more and more of us turning to the internet to assist us with simple every day tasks.
“By not having a website, these businesses risk missing out on some very real opportunities. We aren’t just checking the news and accessing social media sites anymore, but checking whether or not the hairdresser is open and what new produce is in the local deli. Even if you aren’t selling on your site, it’s a great window to countless potential customers. If they can’t find you, and see what you’re all about, the chances are that they will take their custom elsewhere,” Matt continued.
The index found that many small businesses feel that they either lack the digital skills required to manage and build website, and that establishing an online presence might be prohibitively expensive.
These barriers, Matt continued, shouldn’t deter businesses from taking the leap: “A perceived lack of skills should not deter SMEs from getting online as most online tools are now as easy to use as writing a letter. For those without the time, companies like 123-reg can help and make the journey online less daunting. Domains can cost from as little as £5, website builder packages are available to help even the most technophobic business set up their site, and there are countless free resources online to help to promote a business online.”
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