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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : January 23, 2009

Nearly half of small businesses have no website

It's 2009, yet many small businesses haven't made their presence felt on the Internet, and even those that have aren't putting enough time and effort into making online marketing work for them. Such are the results of a Webvisible/Nielsen Online survey.

by Helen Leggatt

While sat at my desk the other day, I remembered I had to make an appointment to take my dog for a check up at our small, rural veterinarian clinic. Without wanting to rummage around for the Yellow Pages, I decided to look up the vet's opening hours and contact information online, using Google.

webvisible logo.jpgThe search engine returned nothing. The vet clinic had no website and, it seemed, had not registered with online directories. New research from a joint Nielsen Online and Webvisible survey in the U.S. found that this is not unusual, reports Marketing Charts. According to their data, 44% of small businesses don't have a website despite many people, like me, turning to search engines first for local small business information.

Furthermore, while the majority of small business owners use the Internet as consumers to search for local services and products, they rarely implement them in their own marketing plans. In fact, 82% of consumers and small businesses use search engines first to find information online, compared with 52% who turn to Yellow Pages online.

When you consider the apparent lack of financial and physical effort being made by small businesses to build an online presence, it's no wonder they can't be found by consumers. According to Webvisible's survey, 78% of small businesses with websites divert 10% or less of their marketing budgets to Internet projects and 61% spend less than three hours a week marketing their website. Surely there aren't still people out there of the 'build it and they will come' ilk?

However, it's not all gloom and doom. There are signs that small businesses are slowly warming to the world wide web. Over the past two years, 43% of small businesses say they have increased the use of search engines in their marketing efforts. Perhaps as a consequence, their use of some traditional media is declining with 23% of small businesses saying they use Yellow Pages less and 42% using local newspapers less.

Tags: local business, local search, marketing budget, online directories, search engine, small businesses, website, Yellow Pages

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  • In my household, the Yellowbook has become a paperweight. We never use it. Good websites are easier to use, and they provide more information. Businesses need to step into gear by getting high quality useful websites that assist customers in finding what they want.

  • Brett

    I always use because I got tired of searching for local businesses on google and not being able to find a lot of them.

  • lisa

    If you go to, or a similar online directory, you won't have the same problem finding the customer. They are more likely to be on the online directory than they are to be on Google. Besides, Google cookies all your searches-you might prefer, which has no cookies.



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