Landmark's Business Tips: Simple solutions to help the 50% of UK businesses without a website get online
Submitted by Catrin Jenkins on
It's 2017 and every business has a website. Right?
Not quite. Data released by the ONS in November 2016 found that only half (50.1%) of all businesses had a website (these findings relate to data sourced from the E-commerce Survey of UK Businesses, which surveyed 11,000 UK businesses in 2015).
Nearly all of the larger businesses surveyed had a website, but not all - and the figures continue to decrease along with the size of the organisation. According to ONS data, these organisations did not have a website at the time data was collected:
• Large organisations with 1,000 or more employees: 2.4%
• Organisations with 250 to 999 employees: 3%
• Organisations with 10 - 49 employees: 19.4%
• Small firms with 1 - 9 employees: 53.6%
Despite the prevalence of online marketing, it is startling to learn that such a significant proportion of UK businesses don't have their own website. As we discussed recently, a website is the digital 'front door' of your business and just like stepping into your company HQ, it has the power to convey essential make-or-break first impressions.
When researching a company - be it for a purchase, a holiday booking, a local supplier or an investment opportunity - often your first port of call is the Internet. Tap a company's name into a search bar and if nothing is returned except a string of alternative spelling suggestions or, worse, negative reviews, your first impression certainly won't be a positive one.
If your organisation doesn't have a website, this is the experience your own consumers and business partners are facing. Restricting your online presence is essentially a business roadblock that's putting your business at a severe competitive disadvantage.
Happily however, getting your business online isn't as tricky - or as expensive - as you may think.
Want more Business Tips? Why not read our series starting with: Landmark's Business Tips: 7 Ways to grow small business credibility
You don't need to be a software engineer, you don't need to meddle with HTML code, and you don't even need an eye for design. Social media and blogging platforms have given everyone a voice, and demand for such user-driven content has pushed the need for easy-build websites under the spotlight.
Today there is an excellent choice of easy website building programmes on the market, which means it can cost just a few pounds per month to create and run your own website.
Before we go any further, we're not suggesting that a Fortune 500 company should operate a £10 website from a free template. Skilled web designers exist for a very good reason, and there's a lot to be said for a branded, beautifully designed and user-friendly website that eases the transition from window-shopping to sale.
But if you're a consultant, a sole trader, a startup, or you're an established organisation looking to test a new market on a tight budget, a low-cost website builder will get you online quickly, efficiently and at comparably low cost.
Here are some of the biggest and best-loved DIY website builders on the market right now:
• Wix: From television to social media, you've almost certainly seen or scanned a Wix advert. Feedback is often positive, thanks to Wix's huge bank of industry-focused templates, easy drag-and-drop design and code-free editing. Take a free trial and give it a whirl: www.wix.com
• Weebly: In this report, Jeremy Wong claims that Weebly is the "easiest drag and drop website builder to use" with a painless and pleasant user experience, even for beginners: www.weebly.com/uk
• Squarespace: Although Squarespace features fewer templates than the likes of Wix, its readymade designs are responsive - which makes it a great bet for customers viewing your website across different mobile devices: www.squarespace.com
• DudaOne: Among other features, DudaOne can take a standard desktop website and convert it into a mobile website. This website builder also comes with easy DIY capabilities and e-commerce tools for online sales: www.dudamobile.com/responsive-website-builder
• uKit: Generally a good fit for bloggers, uKit is low-cost and straightforward. It lacks built-in image editing software, although you can easily integrate various apps such as Instagram and Pinterest: ukit.com
If you want to dig a little deeper into these website builders and others currently on the market, you'll find plenty of reviews and reports from people who have done just that. Try these resources for further reading: