Small and medium businesses (SMBs) now make up around 99% of all EU enterprises, but what really matters to them when it comes to making a website? With 10 years of experience and over 8 million published sites running on BaseKit, we like to think we know a thing or two about this, but there’s always more to learn in the rapidly expanding SMB market. With this in mind, we recently conducted some research and spoke to the people with the answers: SMB owners themselves. All of these SMBs had gone down different routes to create and maintain a website, yet the same 6 requirements came out on top every time:
Having a website is vital for a business’s professional image. While social media is an important tool for SMBs, today’s customers expect a stronger web presence from companies; in this data published by Statista, only 16.8% of global online shopping traffic came from social media platforms – less than from direct navigation, search or email. Domain names and email addresses are also considered important, but if these aren’t included in a website bundle, they are often deemed too expensive.
Many people rely on third parties (web agencies, friends or acquaintances) to design their websites, while others choose to build their own – but this can be a difficult process. In either case, a lack of direct input or technical experience can mean that finished websites aren’t always what SMB owners have envisaged, and leave them short on money, time or both. In addition, these constraints mean that SMB owners may be unable to update their websites as frequently as they would like further down the line. Small businesses are constantly changing, so being able to do this – without the technical experience of a web designer or developer – is an important part of any business strategy.
3. Discoverability (SEO)
Small business owners know the importance of getting their website ranked in search results and noticed – but most people are unwilling to pay the (often hefty) charges for search advertising. This leaves them needing another way to make sure their websites are SEO-friendly, such as in-built SEO keyword functionality and guides. A simple and mobile-friendly sitebuilder can also play a huge part in SEO success by allowing SMBs to add content regularly, as this is one of the key factors in driving up a website’s search ranking.
61% count improving SEO and growing their organic presence as their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot, 2017)
A good online store can boost sales and contribute to the smooth running of a business. The time constraints of running a small business mean that owners need an all-in-one platform; something that will process payments and orders without constant management, leaving them free to work on other areas of the business.
By 2021, Global e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 4.48 trillion. (Statista, 2017)
SMB owners often have to single-handedly balance a business with other personal or professional commitments – in 2017, 76% of businesses were entirely run by the owner(s). Many of these owners don’t work from a desk, and need a website they can manage on the go, at any time. For a website to be as valuable as it should be, it needs to be easily updated and managed, without draining busy SMBs’ resources.
6. Social media cross-functionality
Because of the importance of social media for businesses, SMB owners rank the ability to have their social media posts visible among the things they most want from a website. In this way, their website can reflect the time they spend updating social media, and news and updates posted on social are displayed in both places.
For SMBs, a website can be instrumental in ensuring that prospective customers become actual customers, and keeping them engaged further down the line. For this to happen, their website needs to be an accurate reflection of their business and offerings