Over half of British businesses cannot make changes to their own websites, a survey commissioned by web host Fasthosts has found.
The study of 410 companies found that many do not have arrangements in place to retain basic control or in some cases even legal ownership of their website and domains. 43 per cent of the firms were reliangle on external web specialists.
The Fasthosts report found widespread satisfaction with web consultants with 92 per cent rating them positively, 38 per cent reported a healthy return on investment. However the survey also found that during the past 2 years, 1 in 4 firms have had their website off-line as a result of a problem related to the other party, such as technical issues or staff shortage.
"For many firms, using external web professionals is a very sensible and rewarding option. However, it is vital that all businesses take simple measures to retain some basic control of their website and protect their investments," said Fasthosts marketing director Steve Holford.
"Should arrangements suddenly change, business owners should be equipped to make changes to their online identity and maintain contact with their online audience. The web designers we work with always recommend that clients at least keep a back-up copy of their website design."
Fasthosts said a substantial number of small companies are failing to take basic steps to protect their web infrastructure.