More than half (54 percent) of small business owners do not have a website for their firm, says Serif.

Research by the software developer also revealed 58 percent of those firms without a website believe they do need one. Despite this, 81 percent of small firms surveyed said they prefer to source information online about products and services before spending money.

Furthermore, of those companies that do have a website, an average of 41 percent of new sales are generated via the website.

Nearly three quarters (74 percent) believe they lack the skills necessary to create a website and would need help, despite 85 percent of respondents claiming to be word processing 'power users' regularly mix text and graphics. Seven in ten expect it to takes between one day and a month to make a typical five-page website (including text, images, video, a form, and a map). Only six percent claim it's possible to achieve such a site in 30 minutes. However, Serif said using a web design package with templates, it could take even less time to create a five-page website.

"Many small businesses may feel it's too costly to hire a web designer to make a site for them, and this may well be true. Some others will believe that it's too time consuming, technically difficult, or creatively challenging to design a website themselves and add key features like e-commerce. But this just isn't true anymore," said Dale Cook, Serif's product marketing manager for WebPlus.

Gary Bates, managing director at Serif added that a branded website "adds credibility and perceived professionalism to a business and is still the most cost-effective marketing tool. Even if e-commerce is not needed, having a business website is still of huge benefit."

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