Small businesses make up 96 per cent of Australian companies and while most of them have internet access, only half of them have their own website. It seems like a no-brainer for any company to have an online presence, but many small businesses have thrown this in the "too hard" basket. However, there are easy ways for even your local fish and chips shop to make themselves known on the world wide web.
If you are a self-employed tradie working out of your van and working long hours, the last thing you'd want to do is faffing about on the computer trying to conjure up a website. But this isn't the '90s where your only option was to learn basic HTML just to create horrendously bad Geocities page.
A quick and dirty way to be visible online is setting up a Facebook page. It's extremely simple to input the details of a business such as address, contact information and opening hours but the trade-off is that it gives you less control over how the page looks. An added bonus is that it doubles as a message board for any business updates you may want to share with your customers -- although the dialogue flows both ways, which means any criticisms are public (unless you delete them which can cause its own set of problems).
In any event, Facebook is the bare-bones approach. For those selling commodity goods like clothing and homeware, you can opt to join up with e-commerce marketplaces. Shopify and Bigcommerce are just two options for that. They can host your online store which includes integrated payment systems.
If you are ready to take it a step further, a fully-fledged website is what you’re looking for. Many web hosting companies are ramping up efforts to woo small businesses and are offering up tools and services to make establishing and managing a website a painless process. One of these companies is GoDaddy, which has just launched its Australian operations.
“It’s important to have your own brand and your own identity online and be able to run your business and engage with customers there,” GoDaddy international executive vice-president, James Carroll, said at a local launch event. He added that he’s seen first-hand how having a website has helped boost business for sole traders and small mum-and-dad operations overseas and is keen to educate Australian small businesses that creating an online presence for themselves is not rocket science.
For a complete guide to setting up your own website from start to finish, we have just the article for you here.
Do you run a small business that has benefited from having an online presence? Let us know in the comments.