Having a website brings in an average of € 22,500 a year for self-employed
Self-employed people in the Netherlands are well aware that a website is really important for bringing in business. The vast majority of them have websites and the average value of the additional earnings generated by a site is € 22,500. Yet the amounts of time and money that self-employed people need to invest in their sites are quite modest. Despite the positive overall picture, there are big differences amongst self-employed people in terms of how much they earn from their websites. Advice on how tradespeople and independent professionals can make their websites work has therefore been produced.
Those are the key outcomes of research into the earning power and cost of websites for the self-employed. The research was carried out for SIDN by MediaTest and involved an on-line survey of 1,280 tradespeople and independent professionals in the Netherlands.
Website is an important channel for the self-employed
Almost all self-employed people in the Netherlands are on line. No less than 95 per cent of them have websites. That compares with just 65 per cent in the UK. Dutch self-employed people report that their websites are valuable for bringing in new orders (84 per cent). However, only a minority (30 per cent) say that on-line selling is one of the main purposes of their site. Far more of them have a site so that clients can find them (91 per cent), and with a view to communicating their expertise, reinforcing their credibility and increasing their reach (all around 85 per cent).
Modest investments generate substantial additional income
As indicated above, a website brings in an extra € 22,500 a year for the average self-employed person in the Netherlands. Again, that compares favourably with the UK (€ 19,550).
Interestingly, the investment required to secure that extra € 22,500 is quite small. Respondents reported spending an average of € 300 a year on their sites and devoting about sixteen hours of their own time.
Traders and self-employed builders benefit most
People in some lines of business use websites more successfully than those in others. Traders and builders earn quite a lot more from their sites (€ 34,250 and € 28,600, respectively) than self-employed people working in care, ICT and or business services (less than € 8,000).What's more, people who have started up in the last five years earn considerably less from their sites than more experienced self-employed people (€ 8,950 versus € 25,000).
Success factors and tips
Comparison of successful sites (more than € 10,000 in extra earnings) with less successful (less than € 1,000) highlights clear differences. From the characteristics of the high-earning sites, the researchers have come up with four tips for generating income from a website.
Tip 1. Regularly update your site.
Amongst self-employed people with high-earning sites, 56 per cent update their sites on a weekly or monthly basis. Those with low-earning sites update less often.
Tip 2. Do on-line promotion work.
On-line promotion is used by 51 per cent of people with high-earning sites, but only 20 per cent of those with low-earning sites. Search engine optimisation is particularly popular amongst self-employed people with successful sites. The amounts of money and time that higher-earners invest in such activities is nevertheless modest: € 130 and twelve hours a year on average.
Tip 3. Support your site with social media.
Most self-employed people who do well on line (80 per cent of them) have a social media presence and/or an app, as well as a website. By contrast, only 66 per cent of those who were less successful on line used supporting strategies.
Tip 4. Be prepared to invest a little more.
In terms of the average amounts of money and time invested, the difference between successful and less successful sites was € 250 and thirteen hours a year. The results of the research have been summarised in a whitepaper and an infographic, which are both in Dutch.