The 2012/06/13 at 07:00
The means to author and administrate one’s own website without having any specific IT skills – this is what the company1&1 offers its clients. Thanks to its online platform, it offers businesses page-setup models adapted to around one hundred different sectors of activity. “In the past, our offer focused on infrastructures for clients wishing to have an online presence. But the demand has evolved a great deal in recent years. More and more, SMEs without any particular technical knowhow are seeking to use simple solutions for visibility on Internet or to make online sales,” points out Eva Vennemann, Communications Manager at 1&1 Internet France-Spain.
The business has thus given birth to 1&1 MyWebsite, a solution for developing online presence in just a few minutes. The client selects his branch of activity and obtains a ready-to-use Web page with texts, images and structures adapted to this metier. Naturally, the user can modify content as desired, if desired. “Such a service is far less expensive than going to an agency specialised in multimedia design,” continues the Manager. “We place great importance on making this solution available at a relatively low cost, while guaranteeing a high-quality product. The user company thus benefits from value for money.”
The clients are mainly SMEs from all sectors of activity, but also private clients. For the latter, the business offers a product allowing individuals to publish detailed information on their holidays, their family or their activities. Pre-defined models are also available to help website creators meet their objectives. Germany and the United States are the biggest markets, closely followed by France, Spain and the United Kingdom. One year ago, the offer was launched in Poland, and recently, in Italy.
This offer is not only advantageous for its relative ease of configuration, but also its flexibility for regular updates to be made to the website. 1&1 MyWebsite offers a set of tools for optimising one’s website, including links to social networks, a newsletter tool, the integration of RSS flows, and a purchase cart. These various services contribute towards interaction with existing clients and the acquisition of new ones.
The business further announced, in April this year, the launch of professional solutions for online storage, so that small businesses can deal with their important documents effectively. Storage space is automatically included in every contract, but if this proves to be insufficient, users can order greater capacities. 1&1 also offers 1&1 Online Office, a service allowing important documents to be consulted and modified at any moment using just an Internet connection.
1&1 was one of the first Web hosts to offer useful solutions to those without any technical knowledge, giving client companies a head start. “But in spite of our strong avant-gardist positioning on this market, we’re not stopping here,” explains Eva Vennemann. “A specialised team works every day on improving the product. And there are many projects aiming to go further. To meet our clients’ needs and expectations, we carry out surveys regularly to identify tools to be added and improvements to make in order for the tool to be even more convivial.”
The soar and diversification of new technologies is also factored into the innovations offered by the company. 1&1 MyWebsite brings various services and functions to commercial websites, and has included the possibility of optimising its solutions for use on most smartphones existing on the market. “Many people purchase their products from home, on their computers or offline, but there are also many who get informed on products via their smartphones,” states Eva Vennemann. “It’s true that displays on these mobile terminals are limited by the small size of the devices. But even if they are not really adapted to purchases, their usage is spreading and we are following this trend closely.” The importance of an optimised website for mobile-phone displays has been underlined by the boom in phone sales. The last quarter of 2010 was a key period in this regard, for smartphone sales went over those of PCs for the first time in history (100.9 compared with 92.1 million units). Swept along by the smartphone trend, more and more cybernauts are favouring mobile-phone devices for accessing Internet.
Another function launched a few months ago by 1&1 comprises a new interface devoted to social networks. It allows the client’s website to be easily connected to Facebook and Twitter. In this way, small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from the strong trends in Internet on mobile phones and the Web 2.0.
Many French SMEs experience difficulties in maintaining their visibility on search engines, according to a survey published in April 2011 by 1&1 Internet. 34 % of the heads of small businesses believe they have difficulties in keeping a good online position. In spite of efforts to preserve an attractive presence on search engines, 22 % admit that they do not understand the traffic their websites receive.
A majority of French businesses have now taken the step to launch their own website and are fighting for precious online visibility. 92 % of the heads of SMEs consider that a slow or unattractive website may be harmful for a business. The survey also reveals that French SMEs think that they lack performance in another specific domain: the updating of websites with new content is problematic in 27 % of cases.
For many small French businesses, difficulties in referencing are caused or aggravated by budget restrictions. In 62 % of SMEs surveyed, the company head alone is responsible for the management of the website. In 37 % of them, there is no budget allocated to another internal or external collaborator to take on this task. 37 % of businesses believe that the development or improvement of their websites has been hampered by a budget shortage. In addition, a lack of internal skills for developing or maintaining websites is a restriction for 36 % of businesses. This is a context in which the offer of 1&1, based on reduced costs and great simplicity of execution, stands out as a real plus.
The aim of 1&1 is to continue to improve its products and to increase its client numbers on existing markets. A globalisation strategy has led to the expansion of these services to a number of new countries, including Italy where the platform has been available since May this year.