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Does every business need a website?

Does every business need a website?   - A summary of a national poll carried out to UK SMEs
With more than 2/3rd of the UK population being online, having a web presence has become an integral part of any business. But do UK SMEs also share the same opinion?
Touch Local carried out a poll amongst a sample of UK small business owners, to find out whether their business had a website, and what forms of promotion they did to market their website.
The Survey
Does your business have a website?
The Results Yes                           1207  (92%)
No                            99      (8%)
*Total responses:    1306
(As of 20th May 2011)
The vast majority of business owners (92%) who took the survey confirmed that they did indeed have a website, many of them stating that although probably not an effective direct sales generator, it provides very useful information about the business and its capabilities.
Only a minority of respondents (8%) stated that their business did not have a website.
More information acquired from business owner who have a website:
When it came to managing their business website, 37% of businesses outsourced to a Web Design company, 34% had their own internal web designer, and 29% used software packages and templates.
When asked how they promoted their website over half of the survey respondents (54%) prioritized SEO, followed by a third that utilized online business directories, and a minority (10%) that relied on PPC. 
In terms of the knowledge of SEO techniques, a surprising amount of respondents seemed have a good understanding of the subject.
Though only 6% considered their knowledge to be very high, 20% did deem their understanding of the subject to be high.
The majority of businesses owners (38%) felt that they had a good understanding SEO.
On the other hand, of the survey respondents 19% considered their knowledge to be low, while 18% cited to know nothing about SEO and they get someone else to do it for them.
Although half of the respondents would decline any SEO report on the performance of their business, however, 28% would welcome a free report, with the remaining quarter stating that they would be a consideration.
More information acquired from business owner who do not have a website:
Even though 8% of SMEs stated that they did not have a website, 67% of those respondents conceded that businesses in their industry did however need a website.
A third of business owners also feel that a having a business website will not contribute effectively to market their business.
For respondents who were planning to set up a website in the next 12 months, 29% of respondents had everything planned to have a website setup. Some business owners 18% also stated they would seek for advice.
However, 25% thought a website for their business was pointless and 29% of respondents were unsure if they will be investing time and money to get a business website.
On reviewing this survey, we have come to the realization that a business more importantly needs a good web presence and not necessarily an all singing, all dancing website, but one that meets their needs.
Some of the comments from the respondents:
Websites are the ultimate marketing tool and an essential tool for any size of business.            
I tend to use Google analytics to monitor SEO, however we get free activity reports from our free listing on a couple of the free online directories that I find useful and interesting e.g. how many profile views and how many clicked through to the site etc...
Our Website is of low importance to our business. All of our business in the UK and USA since the company was started in 1976 has been through reputation and referrals.
The unique nature of our business means that we are rarely searched for, other than by someone looking for our specific service. As such, SEO does not at the moment seem to be of much use. We are the top listing if searched for specifically.
Although I outsource the design of our website, I operate it via a content management system and SEO it myself. Any free guidance and constructive criticism is always welcome.
Due to the nature of our business it is a necessity to have a flagship website to give reassurance to our clients.
Most average websites including our own are probably non-effective other than providing some additional info about the firm and its capabilities. It is not a direct sales generator
I sort of have a website through an online business directory where I can upload images and write something about myself and my business.
I think websites can be very useful in my sector, but I do not intend to set one up myself because I do not need to generate any additional business.        
  Businesses more importantly need a good web presence, not necessarily an all singing, all dancing website, but one that meets their needs. Not all businesses require this, but most do, even if in retail, for instance, it gives a prospective customer a glimpse of what they offer and to expect on visiting them. Suppliers need a different sort of web exposure, which can be a very cost effective manner in reaching out to new prospects, as well as maintaining their brand.    


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