“The days of getting a PhD to get your businesses online are over” declared James Carroll, GoDaddy’s international executive vice president, last week on a visit to Sydney.
GoDaddy is the world’s biggest internet domain name registration service and Carroll was in Australia to promote the expansion of the company’s local operations.
Australia is a prime target for the company with nearly half the nation’s two million businesses not having a web presence.
“I think there’s an awareness issue about the skill that are needed to get online,” Carroll says.
GoDaddy’s Australia and New Zealand country manager Tara Commerford suggested two reasons why small businesses aren’t going online: “I think it’s lack of awareness and people don’t know how to do it.”
Commerford suggests that simplified online tools are making it easier alongside the easy access to other platforms like social media and location online services.
The problem, though, is these tools are not new, this blog has been discussing how companies need to get online for years and yet the proportion of small businesses getting a web presence has remained fixed around the 50%.
One of the barriers to getting online is confusion and the new top level domains haven’t helped this by muddying the message about which domains they should be registering under.
This is only increasing the fear among small business owners that going online is complex, expensive and risky.
It’s understandable that domain registrars like GoDaddy would push the new domains given the industry’s low margins and need for scale, but that’s not the problem for smaller operators.
The problem for small businesses is getting the basics right with with a mobile-friendly website, particularly for hospitality and tourism operators.
Having the right domain name is an important first start of an important journey for most businesses.