Half of Aussie SMBs now have websites

Over half of the country’s small businesses are now online, according to a new Google survey, up from last year’s result of  just 35 percent.

Some interest statistics the survey uncovered include Tasmania having the largest proportion of tourism and retail-related sites, while Western Australia leads the rest of the country in websites created in the construction and trades category, which represents a quarter of all sites created in the state.

A website is just the beginning for most SMBs. They’re building on it to help reach their customers, be found, and grow their business,” Google’s head of local business Claire Hatton said.

One year on from the Google and MYOB launch of the Getting Aussie Business Online program, more than 30, 000 businesses have used it to create free websites. Businesses in NSW and Victoria led the pack in the number of websites created through the program, with 33 percent and 26 percent respectively.

The program has demonstrated the vital role the internet plays in Australia’s regional economies, with two thirds of the businesses using the program located outside capital cities.

Queensland leads the other states by having the highest percentage of sites created outside its capital city, some 84 percent.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed said: “Third party word of mouth flows through to revenue but only goes so far. A website allows the business owner to create their own noise.”

“Getting online also enables them to break down geographical limitations and test out customer demand for new products and services,” he added.

A range of new features have been added to the Getting Aussie Business Online program since launch, with Google offering a $75 AdWords Express trial offer and MYOB adding eCommerce functionality, payment solutions, and new website designs. Businesses that sign up for an e-commerce enabled website are also able to gain exposure through Google Shopping.

A number of business owners have praised the MYOB/Google program.

Wilma Ashby, owner of Launceston’s Friends Café, said creating a website has changed the way her business operates.

“As we’re one of the only cafes in Launceston with a website, it really has helped us stand out and give us a professional image,” she said.

Brian Birrell, who runs Civic Bikes in Newcastle, said his new website has resulted in a better conversion rate in sales.

“There has been an enormous increase in the number of people who visit the site, and mention the site when in store. They usually have looked at stock online and then want to speak to us in person to get a bit more information,” he said.

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