The web presence of a small business often extends beyond its own website to listings on third party websites. This paper examines the types of third party web services on offer and introduces the notion of a website audit tool to allow a small business to keep track of all aspects of its web presence. Using a systems development approach, the potential usefulness of such a tool for small businesses is explored in a study involving a combination of a demonstration of such a system to 15 academics. Their responses to open-ended questions in an online survey related to the factors they thought might influence small businesses’ adoption of such a system. The results of the study suggested that there was some value in the idea being proposed, but that the audit tool was too much effort to use by itself for the value it provided. Areas of the tool that were deemed to be most useful were its ability to manage third party contracts and subscriptions and its ability to show the business where changes needed to be made in specific circumstances when business details (such as telephone number or physical address) change. In regards to the perceived attributes of an innovation that could influence the decision by small businesses to adopt the audit tool, it was not considered that the effort needed to implement and use the audit tool would justify the potential relative advantage that it could provide. Additionally, some of the participants considered that many small businesses would not understand the potential gains that could be achieved from using the tool and that this could negatively affect the adoption decision.
|Keywords:||Small Business, Websites, Web Portals, Web Directories, Study|
Associate Professor, Centre for Tourism and Services Research, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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