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UK Website Development - Conclusions

Fig 9. Skills Matter

Lathe turning to demonstrate skill

The Knowledge Gap

Few of us would expect to jump on a lathe and be able to make pieces of furniture, or market them in an unknown environment. Qualified help would be found, or training. If more furniture makers were suddenly vital to the economy, there would be a national effort.

The same principles are not being applied to the commercial web, nor can a business always find appropriate support. Difficulty in accessing knowledge is causing misconceptions.

Websites need not be costly, or complex, although success will not just arrive because a website is built. Neither should business shoulder all the blame for misplaced beliefs, seeing knowledge is shared is a mutual responsibility, or we all move backwards.

An Economic Necessity

Thriving businesses create more of the same, along with tax revenue, employment, lower benefit payments, a better environment, less crime, improved health, a cohesive society.

Is the nation really in danger of seeing all these slip, just because people aren't running their websites properly. This may seem an odd assumption but is far from that.

The brand director of Orange stated "It is a crushing inevitability that we will all be 100% digital advertisers, not a matter of if but when...". Our entire relationship with the state is heading online, along with the way we communicate and the way we work.

Amidst this rapid change, 32% of businesses in our study area have no viable website, only 18% are using the opportunity well. The area we looked at is a quite prosperous location but if those numbers persist, prosperity can not.

The UK internet economy is an ever growing £170 billion per annum, larger than healthcare, or construction. That is without considering the substantial feed in to real world business, which companies great and small could benefit from.

Those not doing so will see business drift to competitors, in the next county, or across the globe, as much of the web already has. Growth plans will become survival plans, although that can be prevented.

Following The Rules

Business websites must be built as business tools. A clear message, easy to use for customers and staff, search needs met, device friendly. Websites have to drive business, not be a cost.

A moderate spend can see a substantial return. Pursuing the right objective and being up to date technically help bring business directly, along with improved search results.

Whether starting from the ground up, or revamping an existing web presence, the need is inescapable. A website is not a luxury but as vital as a phone, or business address. Investment in their online equivalent and in related knowledge are essential.

The same should apply to those creating websites for others. Web developers and marketers have to be able to meet the real need, build a business tool rather than a website. Knowledge investment makes sense for providers as well.

Reaping The Benefit

The world's first public electricity supply was in the UK. Early adopters in industry saw great benefit from this power source, as did researchers and innovators who drove us forward.

A century on, the country is still well placed to repeat that scenario. We saw earlier the high level of businesses suited to the web, scientific, technical, local or national service providers.

Others can also benefit, there are no real barriers in size or capital. Knowledge works for all businesses and we can all play our part in promoting growth on the web.

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