(Ping! Zine) – A worrying number of firms could be taking their foot off the Internet pedal, according to two sets of research released today by Streamline.net. The study of 2400 UK firms(1) finds that only 10 per cent of small firms are updating their websites on a daily basis. 1 in 3 firms admit that updates are being done ‘infrequently’. A further study of 400 UK firms(2) finds that over half of Britain’s small companies are now building and maintaining their website themselves. However, the data reveals that many time-strapped business owners are limited to using their evenings to address their web presence. Whilst businesses clearly see value in the web, the research suggests that many could be losing revenue by cutting corners with their web presence.
Streamline.net’s latest ‘Small Business Bytes Survey’ finds that many small companies with a website struggle to maintain a compelling web presence. Despite two thirds having had a business website for 2 years or more, only 1 in 10 firms succeed in making updates on a daily basis. 1 in 4 companies admit to updating their websites on a monthly basis. Over half (54 per cent) admit to making technical tweaks only ‘infrequently’. In general, investment in the web is modest. For example, one third of companies surveyed use only a single domain name, and three quarters own less than 6 domains.
It appears that for many firms online marketing is an area that can be neglected. Alarmingly, nearly half of firms (48 per cent) are not currently advertising on Search Engines. 1 in 3 (34 per cent) are unable to quantify the popularity of their website as they do not look at their visitor numbers. For many companies, the web is still not performing as strongly as traditional methods of generating new business. At present, ‘word-of-mouth’ is viewed as the most important driver, with the company website ranking third after printed advertisements in second place.
Claire Lewis, Marketing Manager at Streamline.net, said “Important elements like Search Engine submission and website measurement can transform the return from a website. There are now easy-to-use and affordable tools for achieving these to suit all budgets, so every company should check they have these bases covered”.
A further study of 440 UK firms finds that building and maintaining a company website DIY-style is a task undertaken by 57 per cent of UK businesses. Only 1 in 5 firms report that they have the funds to pay an external designer to oversee all aspects of their online presence. The poll finds that more than half of those responsible for the website (55 per cent) frequently use their evenings to tackle all aspects of their website. For 22 per cent of companies, late-evenings is only time they have ever dedicated to their website.
Lewis added “Business owners have felt the pressure in recent years. It is perhaps understandable that work on the company website can often get relegated to evenings. However, every firm should ensure they invest quality time and energy into presenting the right image and engaging with their website visitors. Leveraging an up-to-date website package can help, as today there are features designed to make the process far quicker and more enjoyable”.
As a market leader for value web hosting, Streamline.net can offer small businesses a high quality professional, reliable service at low cost. Customer websites are hosted in a state-of-the-art UK data centre, and customers receive free technical support by phone or email. Streamline.net offers a comprehensive range of web solutions including domain name registrations, email packages and tools for online marketing.
For more information on Streamline.net, see the website at www.streamline.net
(1) 2479 UK small businesses using a website surveyed via electronic feedback form
(2) 410 UK small companies using a website surveyed by OpinionMatters via electronic feedback form