Are small businesses performing online? Hostopia and Deluxe did an analysis on over 60,000 U.S. small business websites to uncover trends and opportunities in online performance.
With 93% using the internet to find local businesses in the last year (BrightLocal), it’s unlikely small businesses will be able to survive and grow without showing up online where potential customers are searching.
In the U.S. and EU, the majority of established businesses have existing websites. However, business owners aren’t investing any time or money into maintaining their website and online presence, allowing their websites to quickly become out-of-date. Most small business websites also suffer from low traffic, as businesses aren’t investing or doing any SEO activities. Without a consistent online strategy that at minimum involves keeping website content up-to-date and optimizing for local listings and reviews, businesses are likely to be causing damage to their brand and online relevance.
Hostopia and Deluxe did an analysis on over 60,000 U.S. small business websites and greater online presence to uncover trends in online performance, from the design and structure of the website to how visible the business is online.
Small Business Website Profile
Design & Structure
Factors like the design of the site, not being mobile-friendly, not having SSL so the site shows as “not secure”, or not updating the website on a regular base all have a material impact to both the customer user experience and for search engines determining how high the business is likely to come up in the search results.
The average domain age of websites analysed was 12 years, meaning a lot of these domains (and potentially websites) have been around for a long time. Considering the domain age, a good proportion of websites analyzed were mobile-responsive. A majority of sites had some design and coding issues that impact SEO and website accessibility.
- Over 20% are not mobile friendly (21.7%)
- 91% have images missing alt-text
- 38% have headings missing content
- 22% have a video
- Average number of days since last update is 495
- 1200 websites were still using Flash
- 67% take 4 or more seconds to load
In 2020, the pandemic has caused a quick shift towards more digital tactics for small businesses, and 64 percent of small business owners said that the changes they have made this year will continue into 2021 (Chase Ink).
While 35 percent of small business owners said that the pandemic would have forced their business to close without e-commerce, 19 percent said they began selling products online or shipping to customers for the first time in 2020 and this trend will continue as more new and existing businesses move to online offerings (Inc.com). Of the established businesses analysed, the adoption of ecommerce was lower than newer businesses or pandemic-established spin-offs.
- Only 12% have ecommerce
- 28% are not SSL-secured
Traffic and Performance
The majority of “already in business” SMB owners have checked off domain and website from their to-do list, however the tough reality is that most of these websites don’t see a lot of traffic. There are added steps businesses need to invest time or cost into to optimize their website to start driving traffic.
- 65% get less than 150 organic monthly traffic
- 64% are missing basic site info for SEO optimization (unique page titles and descriptions)
- Only 7% are using paid ads (Google AdWords)
- 43% are using an Analytics app like Google Analytics to track website performance
Many small businesses know they should be taking action to get found online, but most don’t know where to start or believe online marketing is out of their budget. Not getting found in online directories like Google Maps, Yelp and more or using reviews to build trust and reputation can have a devastating effect on whether or not customers choose one business over another.
- On average, we found businesses listed in 20 out of 35 maps and online directories searched
- 29% did not have a Google My Business listing (that we detected)
- Of businesses with a Google My Business listing, 26% had errors or missing information like business hours or website
- Appears 37% had no online reviews on Google or Facebook
- Of the businesses with online reviews, 48% had 10 reviews or less
- 26% websites link to an Instagram account
The average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business.
In 2021, we’re focusing on four key areas to support small businesses online with best-in-class products to meet these needs:
- Website design
- Local SEO through maps and directories
- Optimizing online reputation
Are you a small business service provider looking to differentiate and grow revenue? Partner with Hostopia to bring in-demand, value-added services to your portfolio.
The data in this report is an analysis from an October 2020 assessment of 67,061 small business websites. A subset of 52,341 businesses were scanned for directory listing results, and 27,744 scanned for online review data.
The results of this analysis are compiled using various third party tools and metrics and are subject to change and variability that are outside of our control. As a result, the scoring may deliver variability from time to time. Reasonable efforts have been made to accurately represent all testing services on this site.