Free website project gets businesses online
Cafe on Oxford in Richmond is one of 78 businesses in the Nelson-Tasman region to get a free website thanks to a nationwide initiative aimed at getting 10,000 small businesses online in the next year.
Westpac and business management company MYOB have launched GetOnline.co.nz where a website can be made in 15 minutes and an e-commerce capable site can be created in under an hour. The project is aimed at helping small businesses get online and grow without paying big bucks to design and maintain a website.
Cafe on Oxford owner Guy McCracken set up his new website using the templated, user-friendly process last month and said designing and maintaining the website was a piece of cake. "I saw the advertisement for it on television and decided to try it and it was easy. My chef, Kate Neame, and I put the website together in two nights."
Mr McCracken said he had wanted to get a website for his cafe for some time, but the design and maintenance costs were prohibitive for his small business.
Getonline.co.nz provided an affordable and easy option for his cafe to get a website and domain name with minimal ongoing costs after the first free year, he said.
"We've been here four years and I've always wanted our own website, but it was going to cost $500 to $600 to pay a web company to set it up and then we'd have to maintain it. "That's a big cost and a lot of work for a small business like ours."
Mr McCracken said they were using the website to advertise their location and products and services.
They would eventually use it for online ordering.
Westpac business area manager for Tasman Rob Howie and business consultant Laura McIntyre, who are promoting the project around Nelson, said Westpac and MYOB launched the initiative to help small businesses around New Zealand grow.
Ms McIntyre said research showed that 80 per cent of New Zealanders looked online to research products or services before purchasing them, but only 32 per cent of New Zealand businesses and 1458 of Nelson's 5400 small businesses had their own website. Getonline.co.nz was aimed at bridging that gap and had a target of getting 10,000 businesses online in the first year.
She said the web design process used MYOB's Atlas website builder to create pre-templated sites which were basic and relatively easy to set up.
Business owners would also be able to customise the site and add e-commerce functionalities to them, she said. MYOB partnered with Google in the development of MYOB Atlas and websites would use Google Analytics for traffic monitoring.
Ms McIntyre said small businesses were not obligated to continue after the first free year, when website costs would range from $5 to $15 a month and $40 a year for a domain name.
Mr Howie said with so many people using the internet to research services and products before buying, it was imperative a business had a good online presence to be competitive. "It's free, so why not try it," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News