The top five website errors committed by Aussie SMEs

While even our lumbering retail giants are, albeit reluctantly, beginning to embrace the digital world, it appears that the online progress of Australian small businesses is a little patchy.


This week saw the latest report card on how Aussie SMEs are doing online. A survey by design firm Snap found that 29% of the nation’s small firms don’t have a website, with nearly half of those that have an online presence waiting a ponderous six months before taking the plunge.


The research follows previous studies that show the proportion of website-less businesses could be as high as 50%.


Similarly, an Optus poll in May found that just 18% of SMEs offer mobile apps, although 48% say they plan to do so.


With the value of online transactions set to balloon to $37 billion in Australia next year, it’s perhaps surprising that so many small businesses are reluctant to invest in a new website.


But Snap’s research uncovered reasons why small firms may be wary of online. Businesses with websites reported that they encounter a number of problems, which may put off the uninitiated.


Here are the top five website errors committed by Australian small businesses, along with what to do about them:



1. Confusing navigation




The basics of enabling customers to find their way around a website is the biggest headache for small businesses, according to the study, with 65% identifying it as a major issue.


If you are really struggling with this, it’s probably time to get outside help to avoid wasting your time and money.


While navigation (65%) is the major issue for most websites, ill-conceived design (42%), spelling mistakes (29%), unnecessary website downtime (29%) and broken links/error 404 messages (24%) also prove to be bugbears.


Stephen Edwards, CEO of Snap, says: “I think a lot of people designing websites don’t know where they need to go or what they need to ask. People receiving the brief are often backroom technicians.”


“I see a lot of websites and it’s about function versus look and feel, so it’s a very conflicting story.”


“Deal with a professional that has a bit of history in the market. Go to people who have credibility.”


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