“It’s easier than ever for small businesses to have a website. A website can provide all kinds of benefits to a business. It can verify the existence of a business, increase visibility to new and current customers, and improve customer experiences. But, how many small businesses take advantage of these benefits?”

“Nearly half of small businesses do not have a website, according to our second annual small business marketing survey of over 350 small business owners and managers,” Amanda Soderlund wrote for Clutch. “The majority claim that they do not have a website because it is not relevant to their business or because it’s too expensive.”

“Moreover, for those that do have websites, 23 percent are not mobile friendly, and another 9 percent have unknown mobile capabilities. Luckily, these businesses are planning improvements to their sites, especially in areas of search engine optimization, social engagement, design, and content.”

“Overall, small businesses have a very high potential for online success, but they will only reap the benefits by developing and sustaining a strong Web presence.”

“The majority of survey respondents are businesses with 1-10 employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue, a true representation of small businesses according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”

Many Small Business Owners simply don’t have the time to think about their digital presence. AudienceSCAN found 19.6% of Small Business Owners have children aged 13-17 at home, so think about how limited their personal time is as well.

“To begin, we asked the small businesses if they have a website,” Soderlund said. “Overall, 54 percent currently have a website and 46 percent do not have a website.”

Further findings:

  • 24 percent plan to build a website in the near future.
  • 12 percent are unlikely to build a website in the future.
  • 10 percent are unsure whether they will build a website in the future.

“A website can help verify a business’s existence, increase credibility, and relay accurate information. Additionally, a website can help bring in new customers that are searching online. So again, why do nearly half of the small businesses surveyed not have a website?”

“We inquired about the main reason that these small businesses do not have a website. The top two reasons were,”

  1. A website is not relevant to their business and/or industry.
  2. The cost of a website.

“Other reasons included the use of social media profiles as an online presence instead of a website, the need for ongoing maintenance, and a lack of technical knowledge.”

Small Business Owners also think advertising is not as creative as it used to be, according to AudienceSCAN data.

“Of the small businesses without a websites, 32 percent report that having a website is not relevant to their business or industry. However, agency leaders unanimously conclude that a website is relevant to every business and every industry, in some capacity.”

“While the capabilities of the website can depend on the business or industry, the bottom line is that some sort of website will benefit every type of small business,” Soderlund said.

“The cost of a website can vary dramatically. One option is to hire a specialty web design firm to build a quality, custom website specifically for a small business. While this type of site surely will be high quality and customized, not all small businesses need a website of this caliber and cost. However, with lower cost DIY website platforms, building a brochure or informational website becomes a more simple and cost effective solution. Nowadays, there are various options to build a website, resulting in an ideal cost structure for every business.”

“With several options for building less expensive and less time-intensive websites, is the cost of a website still a viable reason for small businesses not to have a website? Or, are these small businesses really dealing with the cost of NOT having a website?”

“Instead of viewing a website as too costly or unnecessary, a small business should see a website as an investment for their business. Once built, a website can have an incredible return on investment, especially in the long term.”

“A mobile-friendly website is especially important, considering recent increases in the amount of customers that visit a website from a mobile device. As the amount of people dependent on smartphones for Internet access (link is external) continues to increase, having a mobile-friendly website will become a requirement. In fact, not having a mobile-friendly website can hurt a business with a substantial amount of mobile users.”

The importance of mobile-friendly sites might click with Small Business Owners when they see their current sites on their own phones. AudienceSCAN reported 44% of SMB Owners use Android smartphones and 32% use iPhones.

Of the small businesses with a website,

  • 68 percent have a mobile-friendly site
  • 23 percent do not have a mobile-friendly site
  • 9 percent are unsure whether their website is mobile friendly

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.