In 2016, according to House of Commons Library briefing paper 06152, there were 5.5 million businesses in the UK. 99% of those are small or medium sized employing 0 to 249 people with 5.3 million (96%) classed as micro-businesses – employing 0-9 people. Micro businesses accounted for 32 of UK employment and 19 of turnover.

Since 2000, the number of businesses in the UK has increased each year, by 3% on average. In 2016, there were 2.0 million more businesses than in 2000, an increase of 59% over the whole period. The number of sole proprietorships (businesses with no employees) has grown by more than the number of all businesses (by 77% compared to 59% for all businesses).

It is estimated that in the UK in 2016 there were 1 million micro businesses employing just under 4m people.

25 years since the birth of the internet and with the every increasing ease of getting your business online, you would think that every small business would have staked their claim on a little piece of the web. According to a 2015 survey commissioned by GoDaddy by Redshift Research nearly 60% of small businesses didn’t have a web presence.

How does this compare to UK small businesses in 2017,

  • do we have a larger proportion of small businesses with a good web presence?
  • What are the reasons UK businesses don’t have a website?

First, you need to decide what your website needs to serve.

  • What exactly do you want it do be?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Will it be an online business card, with a little bit of information about your business, what you do and your contact details?
  • Do you want to capture the names and email address of visitors by having them sign up for a free eBook or newsletter?
  • Or maybe you are creating a audience for your blog and giving out great hints and tips?
  • Are you looking to sell a physical or virtual product online?

Whatever the ask from your website, its vital that you work out what your first step needs to be. Although you need to plan where ultimately the direction your website needs to go, always remain flexible enough to tweak and change your plan as you go.

Next, how hands-on will you be when it comes to maintaining the website? You may just want to let your design firm handle everything – even writing and posting to your blog – so that you can concentrate on other business tasks. On the other hand, you might want to be able to publish a blog post, change an image, or update your product or service offerings yourself without on waiting for someone else to do it. Your decision on this matter will most likely affect the technology used in constructing the website, and so your level of involvement needs to be determined early in the process.

Finally, how will people find your website? Putting your domain name on your business cards and marketing materials is a no-brainer, but ideally you’d like potential customers to be able to find it through other means, as well. Proper search engine optimization (SEO) can help your website rank highly in the search engines, thus increasing traffic. Integration with social media, email marketing, and other online and offline marketing methods can also help get more traffic to your website. Whatever methods you use to get viewers to check out your website, make sure it’s worth the visit by making it easy to use, up-to-date, and engaging.

Now you’re ready to schedule that meeting with your web designer and get cracking on your website!

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Figures quoted in this page are taken from the Business Population Estimates for the UK and Regions 2016