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Can’t See the Web for the Trees

How are SME websites performing?

Quick nav:

Illustration of a laptop computerWe know that SMEs are investing time, effort and money into their websites and are aware of just how important this is from a business perspective. But how are those websites actually functioning?

We started off by asking SMEs how happy they are with their business sites, and the overwhelming majority were pretty pleased:

  • 90% of businesses are happy with the overall look and feel of their website
  • 89% considered their website to be up to date

But we wanted to find out more about whether the reality matches these opinions. To learn more we worked with Insites to analyse the performance and accessibility of over 1 million SME websites. We reviewed how accessible sites were, how secure they are for customers, how clear they are for visitors and search engines, and whether they were performing well on mobile. We discovered:

  • 19% of websites weren’t optimised for mobile, at a time when 90% of the global internet population uses a mobile device to go online (Statista, April 2021).
  • 13% of websites contained text too small to be read on a mobile device
  • 24% of websites do not have an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate – this is what keeps any customer information secure from hackers
  • Two thirds (66%) of websites didn’t have an email address on their website, stripping out a convenient way for customers to get in touch

This shows that many business websites haven’t quite been set up as effectively as their owners believe, with many even leaving their customers open to privacy invasion.

Site speeds

Another incredibly important area where business websites have been failing to keep up is site speed. 89% of SMEs said they are happy with the speed of their website, yet our analysis shows that on average it took 6.7 seconds for business’ website pages to go from a blank screen to a visually complete state (Speed Index).

Best practise for website speeds should usually be between 0 – 4.3 seconds, with many statistics linking a fast site speed directly to conversion levels, showing customer traffic and interest drops off dramatically with every additional second a page takes to load.

Website performance by sectors

Each of our key sectors fared a little differently when it came to site set up and performance. Here’s a breakdown showing how each fared.

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In summary

So the majority of SME websites are mostly performing well, but there’s definitely room for improvement, particularly when it comes to site speed, easy-to-find contact details, security and clear, search engine-friendly layouts.

Survey methodology

1,011 SME owners and 2,039 consumers were surveyed in April 2021 by Censuswide on behalf of Yell Business.

Download SME survey data

Download Consumer survey data