Study reveals why 59% of Australian small businesses don’t have a website

5 min read
Claudia Bouma

At a time when most people search and shop online for the products and services they want, a recent study by GoDaddy has revealed a surprising fact. The majority of small businesses in Australia do not have a website — 59 percent to be exact. This number jumps to 65 percent for businesses located in regional areas.

59 percent of businesses with fewer than 20 employees don’t have websites.

The study, conducted for GoDaddy by YouGov Galaxy, was carried out online among a representative sample of small business owners and managers. The sample comprises 425 respondents distributed throughout Australia, including both capital cities and regional centres. The study is a valuable contribution to small business statistics on Australia’s 2 million SMBs.

So … why not?

The main reasons survey participants gave for not having a website is their sense that:

  1. Their business is too small (44 percent).
  2. It is too expensive to have a website (30 percent).
  3. They don’t have the time to build or manage one (17 percent).

Men are more likely than women to feel their business isn’t big enough to need a website. Men are also more likely than women to believe that building a website is too hard to warrant having one.

Nearly a third of small business owners believe it is too expensive to have a website.

So what are they expecting to spend on a website?

Cost expectations

Small business decision makers on average expect a professional web designer to charge around $3,200 to build a fully functioning business website. It is interesting to note that there is a digital generational divide, with Millennials expecting higher professional website fees ($4,347) than either Gen X ($3,208) or Baby Boomers ($2,553).

The study also revealed that female business owners are more likely than their male counterparts to believe that cost is a major factor in not having a website.

Almost half of small businesses say it would be easier to get a website if it was inexpensive.

Small businesses in metro areas are more likely than businesses in regional areas to think that making websites cheaper would increase the likelihood of them building one.

Time constraints

As many as 70 percent of small businesses with company websites report having issues with their sites. The main problems are the amount of time it takes to update incorrect or out-of-date information.

Interestingly enough, males are less likely than females to believe that the information on their website is incorrect or out of date. Small business owners in metro areas are more likely than business owners based in regional areas to believe that it is too time-consuming to update a website.

Benefits of having a website

Yet, small business owners have no trouble accepting there are benefits to having a company website. Nearly two thirds are of the opinion that it makes their business look more credible and professional.

Many business owners say that having a website:

  1. Provides a good means of receiving customer enquiries (59 percent).
  2. Opens up new business opportunities (58 percent).
  3. Means the business can be found on Google (56 percent).

The majority of small businesses that operate a company website believe it has had a significant commercial impact on their success.

Small businesses report their websites have contributed as much as 25 percent growth to their business.

Small Business Australia Bakery Window

Women are more likely than men to believe their company website has had a contribution to business growth. And even if you don't know where to start or don't think you have the technical chops to set one up, you have plenty of free online resources at your fingertips.

For example, GoDaddy's Logo Maker is a free tool you can use to create a customized logo in a matter of minutes using hundreds of curated templates, graphics, and fonts. Best part is, you don't even need any prior design knowledge to use it.

Likelihood of getting one in the future

Almost half (47 percent) of all businesses without a company website said they are considering building one within the next 12 months.

Small business owners surveyed would seriously think about getting a website if:

  • The process was quick and easy (39 percent);
  • There was an easy-to-use DIY website builder they could use (36 percent) or
  • A professional designer built one for them (34 percent).

More than half of small business owners based in metro areas who do not have websites are considering building one in the next 12 months, versus only 31 percent in regional areas.

Small businesses in metro areas (38 percent) are more likely than businesses in regional areas (26 percent) to think that having a professional do it for them would increase the likelihood of them building a website.

Related: Building a website – the total A to Z guide of website design

Australia’s small businesses — in danger of falling behind?

Small Business Australia Tour Company Vehicle
A website increases the chances your business will show up in Google search.

Our study revealed that the majority of small businesses in Australia do not have company websites, mainly due to company size, cost or time constraints.

Yet, most business owners recognise the value of having a company website and expect to build one or have one designed by a professional in the next 12 months.

Cost is a major factor, with nearly half of all businesses indicating they would get a website if it was inexpensive to do so. Other considerations to pull small business owners over the digital line would be access to an easy-to-use DIY website builder or getting a professional designer to build it for them.