Streamline.net web hosting research finds the majority of consumers using SME websites in the past year experienced usability faults.
The Streamline.net study of 1700 consumers found that 83% faced faults including unfinished web pages, broken URLs and an out-dated design. A further survey of 450 UK firms revealed that whilst half consider their website to look 'professional', 1 in 3 owners admit that they are guilty of 'neglecting' their sites. There is also a worrying discrepancy between where consumers wish to find web addresses, and where companies are displaying them. For example, 48% of firms still do not make any efforts to optimise their URL on search engines. Whilst 1 in 5 consumers took a web address from the side of a small company's vehicle, only 10% of small firms currently display theirs in this way.
The data from Streamline.net showed that many SMEs are alienating web users through simple web errors. 76% of consumers have now used the website of a small business. Whilst 47% of consumers consider their experiences of such sites to be overall 'good', a further 1 in 4 Britons conclude such websites to be 'barely usable'. In the past year, 83% of online consumers found faults on more than one occasion. Web errors reported included unfinished web pages (54%), broken URLs (52%), outdated email addresses (50%), and missing contact details (31%).
Top design gripe with SME websites is an outdated website design, faced by one third of users in the past year. 1 in 5 online consumers have encountered superfluous descriptions of products and services. 20% have been confused by the use of generic corporate images that bear no relation to specific company's.
The findings are in contrast to another survey of 450 small firms where 76% felt confident that the language on their website could in no way be perceived negatively, and 84% saw the images on their website as fit for purpose.
Steve Holford, Marketing Director at Streamline.net, said, "As with many areas of business, if the basics of a website are not sound, customers will be deterred from purchasing".
Almost half of companies (48%) made no attempt at optimise their position on search engines, when 77% of consumers call upon these. Many enterprises are prioritising the display of their URL in places unpopular with online consumers. 43% of companies publish their web address on industry websites whilst only 15% of consumers use this source. Remarkably, only 9% display their web address on signage or windows of their premises, when 1 in 5 Britons have made use of a domain name taken from here in the past year.
Holford added, "Every opportunity to capture online custom must be seized upon, which means promoting a web address in every possible environment - online and off-line".
Streamline.net provides a comprehensive range of domain registrations. Users can even try free web hosting for 3 months with Streamline.net.
Established in 1999, Streamline.net is a leading value web hosting provider. Based in the UK and operating 24x7 from dedicated UK data centres, Streamline.net hosts over 150,000 websites. The company focuses on providing unrivalled value for web solutions. Streamline.net products include tools for web design, search engine optimisation, web mail and eCommerce.
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