The year 2011 will be the year of business web development in Australia.
Why do I say that? Well for starters, MYOB and Google have teamed up to offer completely FREE websites for 50000 Australian businesses under their "Getting Aussie Business Online" initiative.
Any Australian business with an ABN qualifies. On top of the free hosting they will also receive a free .com.au domain name, access to the MYOB Atlas site creation tool and $75.00 woth of Google Adwords advertsing. All fairly compelling reasons for almost any new business to take this offer up.
As with anything that is "free", there are always some potential gotchas. This won't suit every businesses needs as there will be limitations to what your site can do. I also have concerns around the search engine optimisation of these sites but by partnering with Google, perhaps these are unfounded. You will also need to start paying fees after the first year if you want to continue in the programme, but the amounts involved are trivial.
I can really see this initiative luring lots of Aussie business people who have been thinking about a website into actually creating one. For better or worse, it will mean an increased prescence in Australian websites in the SERPs and therefore more SEO work on your own business website.
The other reason I think there will be an upswing in Australian business website development is the fact that companies like Harvey Norman have finally stopped trying to fight the expansion of online retailing and actually embraced it. They have announced that their new online store will launch any time now.
Considering the huge song and dance Gerry Harvey made about online retailing earlier this year, the announcement means a huge shift in attitude and one that I really hope is embraced by other retailers in Australia.
It is also easier than it ever was to get your store online today. There are a myriad of shopping cart software options available to use out of the box. Even custom retail applications can be built faster and with more security features than before. There are also more payment processing options to choose from today, although the cost of these in Australia is still a little extravagent.
So what do you think?
Will 2011 see the rapid growth of business web development in Australia or are there factors you think will prevent this from happening?
I would love to know your thoughts.