16% of fastest growing UK SMEs do not have websites

Almost half of the fastest-growing small and medium enterprises in the UK are missing out on potential business through 404 errors.

Almost half of the fastest-growing small and medium enterprises in the UK are missing out on potential business through 404 errors, and even Apprentice finalists are underachieving online, according to a new study

According to the Real Business Hot 100 SME companies survey, commissioned by BT Business, 16 of the top 100 fastest-growing SMEs do not have a registered website.

These SMEs made £4.3bn worth of sales last year but are not catering for the preference for many businesses and consumers to buy and sell online.

Other findings:

• Only 3.57% of these firms have a search engine optimised website

• 90% did not make their website easily indexable for search engines

• 41.6% do not tell the search engines what their pages are about

Elegantvenues.co.uk, the website of Claire Young, former Apprentice finalist and entrepreneur, was evaluated by the BT SearchSmart team. The findings showed that the company's web pages were missing vital keywords and not search engine friendly.

Young has since updated her site. "Making some really simple changes and following the recommendations for a pay per click (PPC) campaign generated over 2,000 targeted visitors to my website, it was a cost-effective exercise that brought quick results and more potential customers," said Young.

It is not just SMEs that are failing to built effective websites. Research carried out by web optimisation company Aptimize found that the websites of FTSE companies in the UK were 27% slower than their Fortune 1000 counterparts in the US.

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