A recent report released by the Irish Domain Registry (IEDR), the body responsible for allocating .ie domain addresses, suggests that small to medium businesses with a website are €24,000* a year better off than their counterparts that do not have a website. 
The results of a survey conducted by the IEDR** concluded that Irish SMEs with a website promoting their products and services online gained an extra 22 orders each year, and in Dublin this figure increased to an additional 41 orders. What makes these findings so significant is that according to the IEDR's Digital Health Index, 20% of Irish SMEs still have no online presence. 
Customer Insights 
The IEDR shared the results of research carried out by Ignite Research*** in March 2017 to find out the views of consumers regarding the importance of businesses having an online presence. The key findings support the theory that if you are an SME without even an basic website, you are losing business to your competitors that do. 
80% of consumers research companies online before buying goods and services from them. 
83% believe that their local businesses should at least have a basic website. 
73% are frustrated by businesses that do not have a website at a minimum. 
70% think a business seems ‘outdated’ if it is not online. 
65% want to be able to browse and research products from their local high street stores online. 
60% said that they would shop online with a competitor for the same product if their local business is not online. 
The findings show that consumers want to engage with their local businesses online, and there is a definite potential for small businesses to increase their market reach to a wider national and international audience while benefiting from additional revenue streams by being accessible online. 
What should SMEs do? 
If 80% of Irish consumers are searching online for information and products to buy and you do not have an online presence, then you miss out on that business. The good news is that it is now easier than ever to develop that digital presence. However, before you jump in, make sure you research your market, establish a need for your products and services, and design a well thought through digital strategy that includes:  
Funding and resources required - how will it be paid for, and what will your return be? 
A well designed website that looks professional, is easy to navigate and looks great on mobiles, tablets, laptops, and PCs 
Digital marketing strategy - how are you going to promote your website - through social media, Google AdWords, or organic search engine optimisation (SEO)?  
Logistics and distribution - how are you going to store, sell, take orders, and distribute your products or services?  
Government Grants - The Trading Online Voucher 
If you are creating a new online business, or developing your existing website, funds are available from your Local Enterprise Office in the form of the Trading Online Voucher, which will support 50% of your website development costs up to €2,500.  
The grant is for SMEs selling products or services online. To find out if you are eligible for the Trading Online Voucher, click here
In addition to financial support, your Local Enterprise Office runs some great courses on Facebook and LinkedIn for businesses, as well as diplomas in Digital Marketing, all of which are very reasonably priced. 
How it'seeze Web Design Dublin can help 
Ready to stop losing out to your competitors online? 
Here are five ways in which it'seeze can help you get your business online: 
Three affordable website plans to choose from 
Custom made, professionally designed websites 
Fully responsive design 
Ongoing support from your local it'seeze consultant 
Help and advice with applying for the Trading Online Voucher 
Contact us today for a powerful website that gets results. 
*Source https://www.iedr.ie/blog/what-is-the-value-of-a-website/ by Donal O Nuallain - on April 27th, 2017 
**Research based on a survey of 500 Irish SMEs conducted by Ignite Research in March 2017. The number of jobs and values are based on the responses of 133 companies that receive jobs or sales through a professional business website. Value is calculated by working out the median figure SMEs with a website said that they receive per job/sale (on average) from their website and multiplying it by the number of extra jobs they are receiving as a result of having a website. 
***Consumer research based on a survey of 1,000 Irish consumers by Ignite Research in March 2017. 
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