DAILY Echo publisher Newsquest has launched a new service creating websites for small businesses.

Although small businesses make up 99.3 per cent of all private sector enterprises in the UK, almost a third do not have a website.

Almost half say they do not have a website that is mobile responsive, and 47 per cent say they cannot update their sites because of a lack of time and of technical skills.

That is despite the fact that 46 per cent of customers say a website is the biggest factor determining whether they trust a company.

Tracy Hayden, advertising director for the Daily Echo Bournemouth and the Dorset Echo, said: “Nine out of 10 adults use the internet in the UK and most of them will have purchased something or contacted a company in the last 12 months.

“By not having a website or one that is fit for purpose, you are missing out on a share of the market.

“We know that 30 per cent of consumers won’t consider a business who does not have a website and 39 per cent of people will stop engaging with a website if the images don’t load or take too long to load.

“As a trusted media brand that has been in business over 100 years, we have the expertise and tools to support local business in marketing their products and brands online.”

Research suggests many small business owners are “time poor” because they are busy running their businesses. A large proportion are not technical.

Many do not want to spend thousands of pounds at one time on a site – so an up-front fee and an ongoing monthly cost is more attractive.

Newsquest’s website services will offer small businesses a single point of contact and the reassurance of dealing with a trusted brand.

Research suggests the service will prove a return on investment if it attracts as few as three new customers for an electrician, four for an auto repair shop or five for an optician or dentist.

To find out more about Newsquest’s new web services, contact Shane Kellard of the Daily Echo on 01202 411410.