DOES YOUR BUSINESS NEED A WEBSITE?
To kick off our blog series, we would like to take a deeper look into websites, addressing the question: does a business need a website?
Websites have been our business for over 10 years and we have built and designed them in all shapes and sizes during this period. And yet, we assumed that at this stage, the vast majority of businesses would have website. But, we were wrong!
According to Blue Corona, less than two-thirds (64%) of small businesses have a website citing “cost (26%), irrelevance to industry (27%), and social media (21%) as key reasons behind their decision not to have a website.” Further to this, their independent research shows that 60% of medium sized businesses do not have a website, and of those 60%, 30% cite cost as the reason why, and 35% feel their operations are too small to warrant a website.
What makes this even more shocking is how little is actually spent on a company website. Again, Blue Corona reports that “more than one quarter (28%) of small businesses spend less than $500 on a website.“ So the question remains, is a website truly worth the money? Or are these companies right to save their budget to invest elsewhere?
Considering cost is a significant factor in a business’ choice not to have a website, it seems only appropriate to address what having a website means monetarily to a company. Putting aside the number of daily Internet users that could contribute to your company’s income, money spent online is on the rise. For instance, Shopify predicts that by 2021, global retail e-commerce sales will reach $4.5 trillion. In other words, the amount of money spent through e-commerce sites will increase significantly in just a few years.
Upon first look at these figures, I wondered how relevant they are for a company like us. After all, we do not sell products, we’re not in retail, we predominantly make B2B sales and less than 8% of total B2B product sales are closed directly through the Internet. Yet, the way we do business is changing. E-commerce Platforms’ recent research demonstrates that B2B e-commerce sales are expected to outgrow B2C e-commerce sales as soon as 2020. In a fast-changing climate, we will have to prepare for the future if we want to safeguard the survival of our business.
Regardless of what you sell, it seems that more and more business will be conducted through the Internet; the face of which, is your website. If you are cutting corners on your digital spend, what does that mean? Clearly, making do without a website is an ideal that is becoming archaic, but what about budget solutions or continuing to use that website you built back in 2001?
DOES YOUR WEBSITE NEED TO BE UPDATED?
You may have told yourself that you got a good deal; after all, you haven’t had to invest any further and seem to be doing just fine as you are. But we would suggest it’s time to take another look, and consider how the digital landscape has changed.
Mobile Internet browsing in 2001 would be considered unusable and illegible in 2018. Now, we carry what would have been previously considered marvels of technology in our pockets every day. The iPhone 6 is 32,600 times faster than NASA’s best computer when they sent a man to the moon!
It is no longer good enough to have only a mobile version of your website. Users now demand that your website is not only highly functional and well designed on mobile, but that it is responsive across all your devices. Sweor states “57% of all mobile users will not recommend a business if their mobile website is poorly designed or unresponsive.” Your website must provide users with a seamless experience, by looking good and performing functionally well. Even meeting this criteria can still mean your website falls short; your site is expected to be fast – really fast. Google’s data shows “mobile websites that load in 5 seconds or less will end in a viewing session that’s 70% longer than their slower counterparts.” This is especially worth considering for the notoriously slow e-commerce businesses. Hosting Facts estimates that 45% of all e-commerce will be conducted on mobile devices by 2020, compared to just 20% in 2016.
You can have a great product or service, but it is becoming clear that unless your website is providing a good user experience, your customers won’t stick around to find out.
It is also worth noting that website security has started to play a bigger role in the digital landscape. You will most likely have heard of the big hacks and data breaches from Equifax and Sony but this is, in fact, a very common occurrence. Google highlights that 250,000 web logins are stolen each week and website hacks increased by 32% in 2017. This has lead to 18.5 million sites that are infected online at any time; with over 40% of cyber crime attacks targeting small businesses.
In addition, it is becoming clear that online users are increasingly aware of the security of a website. Blue Corona finds that 84% of people will not make a purchase if they are dealing with an unsecured website. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are making a big push to highlight insecure websites to these users. For instance, you will notice that your domain bar will turn red or green, say ‘not secure’ or show a padlock to make it clear to users if the website is or is not safe. This, in turn, has put pressure on website owners to purchase and install an SSL certificate. If you don’t have one, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are a malicious business owner, and yet it is something that the big players in Internet browsing are making a priority.
A good SSL will cost you anything from £70-£200 per year. Throw in some additional security measures like a firewall, malware scanning and back ups, and you can easily double that budget. Optimising your site to be really fast will take a developer two weeks of testing and adjusting – just like tuning up a race car – which will also come at a cost.
Website security and mobile optimisation are two small but important pieces in your website. If you’re seriously considering spending $500 or less on a website, it is worth pausing for a moment to weigh up what you are getting for that price. Could you be throwing away money on something that will do more harm than good to your business? If cost is your biggest problem, then come back next week where we’ll look at some budget solutions on the blog!