Verisign commissioned this research from Merrill Research to glean insight into the motivations, perceived benefits and barriers, and preferences of small businesses around the world for creating an online presence with the intent of helping those small businesses that have not yet brought their businesses online learn from their Web savvy peers’ experiences.
•Small businesses that choose to have an online presence most often choose websites over social media to represent their company: Globally, 72 percent of participants reported having a website as their primary online presence to represent their businesses, followed by social media (13 percent).
•When asked which methods of an online presence their small businesses employed overall, the highest rates of website usage were in Germany (91 percent), the U.S. (88 percent), and the U.K. (88 percent). India reported the lowest rate at 67 percent, while the global average was 82 percent. The second most used method, social media, was reported by 49 percent globally with the highest usage in China (63 percent) and the lowest usage in France (41 percent).
•Small businesses believe websites make their business look more credible and are critical for success: Globally, two-thirds (65 percent) of small businesses with an online presence said they elected to create a company website because it makes their company look more credible, and 60 percent said that a website is critical for a small company’s success. Overall, 82 percent of small businesses with an online presence would recommend investment in a website to other small companies in their industry.
•The preferred domain extension for small business is .com: In the U.S., nine out of 10 (89 percent) small businesses with an online presence prefer a .com domain name for their company website. Globally, that number is 61 percent.
•In Germany, the local country code top level domain (ccTLD), .de, was preferred, with .com coming in second. In France, .com and the local ccTLD, .fr, are equally preferred.
•More than half (54 percent) of U.S. respondents said they would choose a .net domain name to support their company website if their preferred TLD (most often cited as .com) was not available.
•Small businesses have not caught up with the mobile trend: Globally, only 21 percent of small businesses with a website have a mobile version of their website, with China reporting the highest percent (45 percent) and Germany the lowest (11 percent).