It proves how far we have come when a business’s credibility is questioned if it lacks an online presence. Someone searching for a company’s credentials before using its services will probably look elsewhere if they can’t any find results online. A website acts as a billboard that says ‘this is a real business, you can spend your money here’.
As of 2014, small businesses make up 99.3% of all businesses in the UK, yet a staggering 2.5 million of these have no online presence. These businesses essentially render themselves invisible to today’s consumers. How many potential customers have taken their business elsewhere because of this?
Besides the opportunity to be found online, there is the additional benefit represented by online sales for those operating in the retail space. The convenience of e-commerce has meant that online sales have grown year-on-year and this trend looks set to continue. Changing consumer expectations mean that even small businesses need to meet the demand of maintaining a 24/7 online platform that enables, and even enhances, customer engagement.
This also can mean reaching a larger, global audience. Britain’s 228,000 online retail businesses export more than the rest of Europe’s e-retailers put together. The 2012 Internet Matters report by McKinsey showed that companies using the Internet with a high-intensity grow twice as a fast as those with low-web-intensity. For a startup, having an online presence just makes good sense.
So why is there such a reluctance from some to be online?
Maybe some people assume that launching a website requires them to have a degree in computing. Or that maintaining an online checkout takes too much time. Maybe there are so many other things to think about when starting a business that the website gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.
But creating an online identity doesn’t need to be difficult or time consuming. And actually it should be considered as a priority number 1.
Thanks to the recent availability of hundreds of domain name extensions, it’s possible to give your startup an even more customisable domain name than before. It’s important to think about how you want your business to be perceived in the long-term. Opting for .LONDON immediately tells customers where you’re based or .PLUMBING tells them what you do in one word. Local domain names such as .co.uk or .uk immediately associate your business with valuable attributes such as reliability, solidity, and credibility for potential customers in the UK. On the other end, a .com is synonymous of global scalability. Whatever domain name you choose, make sure it is unique and memorable.
The next step is building your website. GoDaddy continually works to help simplify this process. We are putting businesses online for just £1 per month, with an annual purchase. Testing our suite of tools and services will cost only £12 for the first year, an incredible opportunity to become digital in a very effective and affordable way.
We also provide 24/7 telephone support that is there to help ensure your website is up and running with no hitches. You shouldn’t feel alone when creating your online identity; there’s already enough to worry about when starting a business and creating your website shouldn’t be one of them.
Startup businesses keep innovation alive. They’re small enough to explore new ideas but have the potential explosive growth for those ideas to mean something. Niche products can create new markets and find new audiences and it’s this potential that is exciting. Having access to these businesses online is therefore vital. Your startup is too important to lack a great website.