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Back to basics: the SME website

It’s thought that around 40% of Irish businesses do not have a website. More and more consumers are online, particularly with mobile, they use the web to research before they buy, In fact the majority of shoppers will research purchases online before buying from a shop or local business. So why the slow progress in getting SMEs online? Business owners cite time, cost and technical knowledge as to why they haven’t moved online.

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It’s thought that around 40% of Irish businesses do not have a website.  More and more consumers are online, particularly with mobile,  they use the web to research before they buy, In fact the majority of shoppers will research purchases online before buying from a shop or local business. So why the slow progress in getting SMEs online? Business owners cite time, cost and technical knowledge as to why they haven’t moved online. So today we looked  at these barriers  and how businesses can get online, fast and with a minimum of cost. Nothing fancy – yet –  you can be online in 30 minutes.

Initiatives
The Getting Irish Business Online was launched in May, 2011 in fact, but it’s this year, that SMEs appear to paying attention – particularly with the announcement of the new Business On-Line Voucher scheme as part of the Action Plan for Jobs: 2013.

GIBO is a joint initiative with Google, An Post, Blacknight Solutions and the County Enterprise boards. www.gettingbusinessonline.ie is essentially a free entry-level website for 12 months, after which you can renew it for less than €50 a year.   Yes, it’s cheap – but really effective for anyone who doesn’t have an online presence.

The GIBO website starts you at the beginning, selecting a domain name, that is an online name for your business, and brings you on to creating pages and uploading images of your products or business. The website also details tips and tricks for being found and seen online and you can take advantage of the Google Adwords online advertising offer, converting $25 to $100 of advertising.

More sophisticated options
GIBO is a great initiative but there are more sophisticated solutions available – which start at less than €10 a month up to around €30 for pretty sophisticated e-commerce websites. Squarespace is a US based web company that has changed small business web design and hosting for bloggers and SMEs the world over. Launched eight years ago, Squarespace are offering DTB listeners 10% off their purchase if you enter the code ‘DOWNTOBUSINESS’ at the check-out when you sign up for a Squarespace account.

As your business grows, or if you’re moving from the basic sort of starter site that GIBO provides, you always have the option to go to a web design company – and for a full
custom solution you may well do that, but that is likely to cost you €3,000 or more.  So before you go that route, and particularly you’re not online yet, GIBO should be your first step.  You may not use it for that long – but it will get you started and it’s a learning experience as you’ll find what works online for your business and you’ll hone your skills on writing for the web and understanding how online is both different and similar to real-world business. The most important thing to remember is your competitors are probably online already – it’s about time you were too.

Guest
We spoke with Liz Dwyer, who’s business  Beauty Bootcamp relies on the web to generate new business and is featured as one of the case-studies on GettingBusinessOnline.ie – Liz told us about her experience of getting online via the DIY options.

Video
We’ve created a video on how we found using Getting Business Online on the Newstalk website which will give listeners a feel for how it works.


 

External links

  1. www.gettingbusinessonline.ie
  2. Squarespace.com
  3. thinkInsights with Google: Our Mobile Planet: Ireland
  4. Newstalk.ie – Down To Business

Andy O'Donoghue talks about technology, some say, too much.

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Apple

Apple Watch: an interface for life?

Andy O’Donoghue joined Bobby Kerr on Newstalk’s Down To Business to discuss the patent recently granted to Apple for a device they termed iTime. Andy though thinks Apple have done a good job convincing the market that they’re building a Smart Watch with lovely interchangeable (lulti-coloured!) straps, whereas, could iTime in fact be an interface for your entire life?

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Andy O’Donoghue joined Bobby Kerr on Newstalk’s Down To Business to discuss the patent recently granted to Apple for a device they termed iTime. Andy though thinks Apple have done a good job convincing the market that they’re building a Smart Watch with lovely interchangeable (lulti-coloured!) straps, whereas, could iTime in fact be an interface for your entire life? Three key areas of the patent caught Andy’s eye; haptics, personal wireless environment and, not so much ‘dockability’ but ‘detachability’. Add these features to HealthKit and HomeKit, a dash of Disney’s AIREAL and you’ll get a sense of why Andy sounds a little excited.

About Down To Business

Businessman, former Dragon Bobby Kerr presents a unique, lively and interactive business show each Saturday at 11am-1pm on Newstalk 106-108fm, Ireland’s leading independent radio station.

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Business

The Mc Ginn sisters on Newstalk: Down To Business

Grace, Sarah and Jennie Mc Ginn know fashion. They know it inside out and back to front: OPSH.COM then will make sense when you think about it. An aggregation platform for the female shopper, it will launch in September after a years work. A couple of weeks ago, the serial entrepreneurs joined Margaret E. Ward on Newstalk’s Down To Business to talk about how they got here, and where they’re going.

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Grace, Sarah and Jennie Mc Ginn know fashion. They know it inside out and back to front: in that context OPSH.COM makes perfect sense. An aggregation platform for the female shopper, it will launch in September after a years work. A couple of weeks ago, the serial entrepreneurs joined Margaret E. Ward on Newstalk’s Down To Business to talk about how they got here, and where they’re going.

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Down To Business

Clever Miles & the Internet of Things

John Quigley is the CEO of Clever Miles; a clever telematics box that sits under your bonnet and records how well you drive by measuring your braking, your speed and you telemetry. John explained to Bobby Kerr and Andy O’Donoghue how the Internet of Things is now under the bonnet, and driving has been socialised, and gamefied, for the good of the consumer.

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John Quigley is the CEO of Clever Miles; a clever telematics box that sits under your bonnet and records how well you drive by measuring your braking, your speed and you telemetry. John explained to Bobby Kerr and Andy O’Donoghue how the Internet of Things is now under the bonnet, and driving has been socialised, and gamefied, for the good of the consumer.

So what are CleverMiles all about? How safe is my data? And, what’s in all this for the consumer?

 

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