Even though high-quality websites are more accessible and affordable than ever, not all small businesses find them necessary, a new survey from creative portfolio website Visual Objects finds. In fact, more than one-third of small businesses choose not to invest in a website.

Most small businesses (60 percent) do have a website, primarily to establish brand legitimacy and authority, and most small businesses believe a website is a necessary component of any successful digital marketing strategy in 2019. Nevertheless, the research found that 28 percent of small businesses are unlikely to create a website in the future.

Some small businesses consider websites irrelevant

Nearly a third of small businesses that choose not to have a website (28 percent) say a website is irrelevant to their company’s needs. These companies tend to leverage their personal networks and traditional marketing strategies—such as email and PR—to generate business.

Industry experts however, are skeptical of businesses that rely on word-of-mouth marketing strategies without websites.

“At some point, businesses get into the outer reaches of that word-of-mouth network,” said Jackson Fox, director of user experience at full-service digital agency Viget, in a news release. “Without a digital presence in some way, people who don’t know you may not trust your business.”

More than a third of small businesses choose to have no website

Cost and the use of social media for a web presence are other reasons small businesses gave for not creating a website.

Most small businesses spend less than $10,000 on their websites

Websites have become more affordable for small businesses—65 percent spend less than $10,000 to design, build, and launch a website.

Website builders such as Squarespace and Wix help small businesses establish a basic website presence quickly without budgetary strain. However, the ability of these website tools is limited, and the advanced design features are often beyond the average small business owner’s skill level.

Kristine Neil, owner and creative director at web design firm Markon Brands in Vancouver, Wash., says website builders tend to establish unrealistic expectations for amateur web designers. “Those [platforms] really oversell and under-deliver when it comes to the lay person’s ability to execute or recreate the samples that they’re seeing,” Neil said, in the release.

More than a third of small businesses choose to have no website

Web design agencies help small businesses meet strategic goals

Nearly 20 percent of small businesses use a web design agency to maintain their websites. Most small businesses (52 percent), however, keep website maintenance in-house and may not have the necessary expertise for complex website features.

Web design companies can save small businesses time and effort by creating a high-quality product that empowers clients to take over day-to-day maintenance of the final version.

More than a third of small businesses choose to have no website

Roxana Colorado, creator of the LatinaNomad business blog, hired a developer after attempts to build her own website came up short. “The hours spent trying to figure it all out were insane,” Colorado said, in the release. “The learning curve on the development side was huge. I would have been better off hiring someone.”

Read the full report here.

The survey included 529 U.S. small businesses.

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.

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