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Research by Cambridge-based Internet design and marketing company, Netflare, has uncovered what it calls “shocking” levels of website neglect by small business owners.

The survey, conducted at the end of 2007, covering nineteen small business sectors, discovered that 23 per cent of websites had not been updated since their launch, making much of their content inaccurate, if not obsolete. The average age of the website was four years.

However, perhaps the most revealing figure, given the huge growth in consumers using the Internet to buy goods and services, was that a mere 8% of respondents had an e-commerce element to their sites.

“We were completely staggered by the tiny percentage of small business owners who were actively using their websites to generate sales,” said Jon Beal, Managing Director of Netflare Ltd, adding: “Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that between 2005-2006, consumers spent £102 billion in online purchases in the UK alone.

“It is beyond comprehension that small business owners are ignoring one of the fastest growing sales opportunities there has ever been.”

Another revealing figure showed that 25 per cent of companies had no way of tracking how many sales were made as a result of people visiting their websites.

“It seems that once small business owners have a website, they don’t really know what to do with it, so they ignore it,” says Jon.

Ironically, when asked what they wanted from their websites, a majority said they wanted to increase sales.

Additionally, over a third (38 per cent) had no budget at all for regular website updates. Of those that did update their sites, the annual spend was around £250.

In response to these findings, Netflare is launching the Business Web Factory, a complete step-by-step process to creating, managing and marketing business websites that generate sales including a free ‘7 Week Blueprint to Website Success’ email course.

“The UK has the most active online population of any country in Europe with around 21 million of us logging on every day. Some 72% of those are using the Internet to make purchases of goods and services. The fact that small businesses are neglecting this huge and growing marketplace is astonishing,” concludes Jon.

March 2008

Note to editors:

Netflare is also publishing the full research report along with some free guides to what it describes as the "four pillars of website success - ownership, marketing, knowledge and support". To download these reports in pdf format go to (

For media enquiries contact Steve Greenhalgh, Real Public Relations, 01954 231911.

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