Only 40% of Australian businesses have a website

  • Only 40 per cent of Australian businesses have a website
  • Small businesses could be missing out
  • Setting up a simple website is inexpensive

Just 40% of Australian businesses have a web presence in 2009-2010, according to the latest figures from the government.

While 94% of large businesses with 200 or more employees have a web presence, only 43% of businesses with 20 employees and under have their own website, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found.

Although nine in ten businesses have access to the internet, with broadband accounting for 97% of these connections, the majority of firms, especially small businesses, do not have a website.

The figure puts us behind the UK with 76% of businesses with their own website, and the EU with 67% of businesses on the internet.

A recent Deloitte report put the contribution of the internet to the economy at $50 billion, or 3.6% of Australia’s GDP in 2010 – a similar value to the retail sector or Australia’s iron ore exports. The report predicted Australia's digital economy will continue to grow by $20 billion over the next five years, to roughly $70 billion, rivalling the health care sector.

The ABS research echoed this finding, reporting a 15% rise in internet sales to $143 billion over the year.

Businesses without a web presence risk missing out, especially small businesses.

Even those businesses that did have a website primarily used it for information about the business (95%), followed by enquiry or contact facility (90%). Less than one in ten businesses had online shopping cart facilities, suggesting many could be missing out on opportunities.

Internode product manager Jim Kellett said he was surprised at the number of businesses without a website.

"It's pretty easy for a small business to setup a website - there are numerous website development companies that can create a basic website for just a few hundred dollars.

"And hosting of a basic website is similarly inexpensive - typically around one hundred dollars a year.

"Finally, registering a business domain name is also inexpensive - usually less than a couple of hundred dollars per year. This means that a company called Example1 Pty Ltd can have a website called example1.com.au, with staff email addresses such as [email protected]

"I'd suggest getting started by talking to owners of similar companies to themselves, that do have a website, and asking for the name of their website developer if they're happy with it. As with everything else in life, getting three quotes is wise!"

Small businesses can reap benefits from having a well-designed website for little cost, according to Mr Kellett.

"The benefits are simply a new vector for attracting potential customers, and letting the world now about your products and services. It's about the cheapest marketing there is, and increasingly consumers will turn to the web when researching for their next purchase."

Small businesses can contact Compare Broadband on 1300 106 571 for Internode plans and other broadband services suitable for small businesses.