More than two in five Brits (46 percent) say they have refused to spend money with a UK firm because of the state of its website, says 1&1 internet.

According to the web hosting firm's 2011 Digital High Street Audit, 37 percent admitted to turning their back on the firm completely, while the remaining nine percent opted to spend less as a result of the firm's website.

Furthermore, nearly half (49 percent) of consumers say a bad website is worse than having no website at all. More than a third (34 percent) believe that in general, the small business websites they use are "tired" and "unimpressive", while 41 percent claim they frequently stumble across errors such as typos or broken URLs when surfing the websites of small firms.

"Research shows that keeping an ugly or badly functioning website online can comprise a risk to sales revenue. Consumers have ever higher expectations, and it is essential that every company website inspires confidence," said Oliver Mauss, CEO of 1&1 internet.

However, half of the firms surveyed said they never ask customers for feedback on their website, despite a third of consumers saying they'd be happy to provide a review or recommendation for a website they were pleased with. Furthermore, 30 percent revealed they have been "reluctant" or "embarrassed" to recommend their website to their customers at least once, because they knew of faults on the site.

Two thirds of firms admit they struggle to maintain an attractive website, with 38 percent claiming that sourcing fresh content is the biggest problem.

"Firms must not shy away from addressing their website's weaknesses. For all business owners, customer feedback can be a hugely effective weapon for ensuring that the web is performing for them," added Mauss.

See also: 70% of lost online sales come from abandoned or uncompleted purchases