Study reveals SMES could be losing up to 54% of online revenue

Yell has released new research into how businesses in the trades sector are approaching their online presence in light of the pandemic, and how, as we come out of lockdown in the UK, getting your website right has never been more important. 

The research identified an effective online presence as a key driver for sales and enquiries for tradespeople. 79% of businesses stated that their branding and customer reviews were the most important aspect for generating leads and sales, closely followed by their website (78%). 34% of tradespeople stated that they thought their website was unimportant before the pandemic, but now think that it is important and over one in three (37%) think that their business would not survive without a website. 

Consumers are increasingly seeking out businesses online too. On average, 80% of consumers are either likely or very likely to seek out a trades business online before making a purchase or booking in a job.  

Content is king 

Out of the websites analysed, on average, trades websites were last updated an estimated 20 months ago, revealing that many businesses are neglecting to update them regularly. 

Yell’s research shows that this could have a direct impact on revenue from online sales, with the study finding that consumers spend 54% less per month on average on websites that have not been updated regularly versus those that have. Moreover, when consumers were asked what element of a business’s website would most likely increase their chances of making a purchase or booking a service with that business, 42% stated that it was a website having up to date information. 

The most common reasons amongst businesses for not updating or amending their website are, a lack of expertise (47% of respondents), followed by a fear of something going wrong and a lack of money (both 39%). Interestingly, 63% of respondents agreed that it was costly to update their website. 

Designed for success 

More than half (51%) of businesses in the trades sector stated that design is the most important part of their website and this is reflected in consumer behaviour too. Half of consumers surveyed stated that they would be less likely to give a website their business if it was badly designed and 41% said they would not use that business again. 

However, the analysis of websites showed that 13% of trades websites contained text too small to be read on a mobile device. Furthermore 31% of businesses had a website with horizontal scrolling on mobile devices, a common complaint amongst mobile users, and nearly 1 in 5 (19%) were not optimised for mobile at all. 

Speed is of the essence 

With 36% of consumers stating that they would be less likely to give a company their business if their website was slow to use and 9% even saying they would post a negative comment about their experience on social media, site speed is another incredibly important factor for businesses in the trades. 

On average, out of all websites analysed, the analysis found that it took 6.7 seconds for a business’s website’s page to go from a blank screen to a visually complete state. In comparison, it took trades websites 6.2 seconds, on average. Showing that on the whole, trades websites are performing slightly better than the standard amongst other SMEs. 

Claire Miles, Chief Executive Officer of Yell comments: “It’s been an incredibly tough time for tradespeople across the country. The pandemic has forced them to adapt quickly and has led to a widespread adoption of digital services at speed. Whilst these digital services have been crucial for businesses to survive the past 16 months, our insights show that this trend towards digital is set to continue long past the pandemic. Therefore, it is crucial for SMEs to be getting their digital strategy right and an effective website will always be at the heart of that.

Our research highlights just how important an effective website is in helping to drive sales and leads for businesses in the professional services industry, which is why Yell is delighted to have enhanced its website product by teaming up with Wix, combining our digital expertise and customer service with one of the world’s leading web development platforms to create websites that are easy to update, secure and professionally designed.”   

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