Small businesses and sole traders are lagging behind when it comes to mobile-friendly websites, according to new research on business websites. The poll of 400 UK self-employed professionals and small business owners - commissioned by creative software developer Serif - revealed that 74% have not designed a version of their website for viewing on smartphones and 86% for viewing on tablets such as the iPad.
With 84% of smartphone owners now regularly using the internet on their phones to access information, firms must adopt new and changing technology. Most are not though. Only one in ten small businesses believe it is necessary to have a mobile-ready version of their website and, worryingly, more than 40% do not even know how their site appears on a smartphone or tablet.
"It's essential for organisations to have a website if they want to create the right impression, engage with customers and boost business," says Gary Bates, Managing Director at Serif. "A branded website adds perceived professionalism, which makes it one of the most effective marketing tools, and a matching mobile-ready version adds even more credibility - essential for keeping existing customers and attracting new ones. But, many do not recognise the need to create versions compatible with different devices."
A staggering 41% of small businesses would ignore optimising their website for viewing on smartphones and tablets if they thought it would be too difficult or expensive to do. Some are even further behind the times and do not have a website at all: a separate poll by Serif found that over 40% do not have an online presence - despite the fact most consumers make purchasing decisions on the web.
"Hiring a web designer is often too expensive for many companies, but some web design software offers an affordable alternative and helps businesses adapt to the latest technology. WebPlus X6 eases the creative and financial burden, as there is no need for users to learn to write code or find budget to hire a specialist. The program allows those with regular office computer skills to quickly and easily create professional-looking websites - whether designed from scratch or by using a template - that can be viewed on devices from regular computers and laptops to smartphones and tablets."
In addition to the simple drag-and-drop approach in WebPlus, users are also given the freedom to customise everything on their website. This includes the site structure, colours, page layout, graphics and text, plus interactive features such as forms, photo galleries, podcasts, YouTubeTM videos, blogs, forums, RSS feeds and online booking. WebPlus X6 is compatible with Windows 7/Vista/XP and costs just £81.69. It is available directly from Serif and includes free 30 days hosting with sub-domain web address.
1 Serif & OnePoll research on 400 UK sole traders and small businesses in 2012
2 Serif & OnePoll research on 400 UK sole traders and small businesses in 2011
Serif is the publisher of the award-winning software range that includes PagePlus, PhotoPlus, DrawPlus, WebPlus, MoviePlus, CraftArtist and more. Founded in 1987 with the aim to develop low-cost alternatives to high-end publishing and graphics packages, Serif has been repeatedly praised for its powerful yet easy-to-use software which has put professional effects and demanding publishing tasks within the reach of ordinary PC users around the world. Now with over 6.5 million customers worldwide, Serif has over 250 employees at its head office, development and European sales centre in Nottingham, UK and its North American sales operation in California, US.