Forty-percent of SMBs don't have an online business, and more than half of those companies don't know how much such an initiative would cost, according to a new study conducted by 1&1 Internet.
Many SMB owners said they are confused about the cost and effort involved and need more information about the benefits of having a Web site, said Oliver Mauss, CEO of 1&1 Internet.
"While many small companies today leverage the Web with increasing proficiency, too many businesses remain excluded from the online world. Although an online presence becomes more and more important for the acquisition of new customers, small business owners are still unaware of the true cost of Web hosting," Mauss said of the study, which included 1,800 SMB companies. "They overestimate the necessary business investments for being online and underestimate how simple and affordable it is to source a Web site."
More than 80 percent of SMBs with an online presence said their Web sites were essential to their companies' success, according to the study.
The average respondent without an online presence guessed that a business Web site would cost $67 per month, according to the study, while 91 percent of respondents guessed it would cost more than $10 per month.
According to the study, the average SMB with an online presence spends $45 per month for Web hosting.
Cost has become such an issue that when choosing a Web host, 64 percent agreed that an inexpensive monthly fee is important, outranking service and quality and reliability, according to Mauss. "Given that an online presence is a key to a business' success, the Web-hosting industry could be doing a better job at communicating the real price and value of being online," he said. "The industry must put a stronger emphasis on the fact that additional revenues generated from having a business Web site can far exceed the cost of owning one."