Why web development is still important to SMEs

Digital 360 on 1 August 2017

Despite the popularity of social media platforms, Australian SMEs still rely on search marketing and website development to promote their businesses online.

Current website trends in Australia indicate that web development is still relevant to SMEs. According to the Sensis e-Business Report 2016, 60 per cent of SMEs “with websites believe this has improved the effectiveness of their business”.

What’s more, in an ABS survey from 2015-16, it was found that “for the first time, a web presence was reported by more than half of all Australian businesses”. Neither of these statistics should come as a surprise, for internet users are estimated to make up 85.1 per cent of the Australian population.

However, there are some valid concerns about the use of websites for SMEs. While hacking remains a big concern for SMEs in Australia, many business owners and managers feel that social media platforms like LinkedIn are more than sufficient to promote their businesses online.

This simply is not the case. Rather, it’s a matter of integration. Businesses perform best online when they have multiple platforms working together. In this way, websites are still relevant to SMEs in 2017, but perform best when other platforms, like social media, are hard at work.

Why websites are still important to Australian businesses in 2017

Saying no to a website is like saying no to search marketing. Not only is creating a website relatively easy thanks to modern CMS platforms, but it is an affordable marketing channel for SMEs. SEO can seem like a complex topic, but it’s one of the most reliable and effective channels online.

What’s more, search marketing is controlled by search engines, like Google and Bing. Internet users want to find what they’re looking for in seconds. If you don’t have a website, you stand no chance of appearing on Google’s search engine results.

Unpaid, organic search results are achievable for almost all SMEs. But great organic results requires a long term investment in web development, optimisation and content marketing.

Websites are fully mobile in 2017

For the first time in October last year, web analytics firm StatCounter recorded a global smartphone and tablet takeover of desktop web browsing, with 51.3 per cent preferring their ‘mobile’ device.

What’s more, Google prioritises mobile friendly websites on mobile devices. With consumer behaviour shifting to mobile platforms, a modern website platform is important for both your users and your SEO efforts. To stay ahead of the curve, SMEs need a website to stay in Google’s favour.

The impact of social media on website performance in 2017

Social media is not a stand-alone investment. Rather, new platforms should work together with your existing marketing activity and digital assets, such as your website. Consumers on social media may have a different intent when browsing, compared with a search engine user.

As a business, you want to grab the attention of your consumers across multiple platforms. You'll capitalise on all types of consumer behaviour, from buying, to window shopping, to researching.

Linking between these marketing channels will only strengthen your online presence. What's more, with multiple platforms at work, you can analyse even more metrics and site data, allowing you to better segment and target your audiences.

Getting ahead in web development

Asking for expert help is a fast way to results. If your business needs a digital revamp, then consider the multitude of resources available online. A web development agency can also be of help. They will know how to build your website with your business strategy in mind.

If you would like to know more about web development in 2017, contact one of our digital specialists in Melbourne.