More than four in five web users have stumbled across a website littered with faults such as broken URLs, and email addresses that do not work, says Streamline.net.

Research by the web hosting company revealed that one in three website owners admitted to neglecting their site, while just under half of all firms said they did not make any effort to optimise their URL on search engines such as Google.

Of those companies that neglect their website, 34 percent said they felt guilty for doing so, while nearly two thirds of businesses said they knew of a technical fault with their website that at presents has not been rectified.

Streamline also said that in the past year 20 percent of consumers said they had found a company's website address from the side of a vehicle, rather than from a search engine.

One in 10 small businesses also said they didn't advertise their website address in anyway, and 11 percent admitted they withheld their URL from customers because of faults on the site.

Designs are also a problem. Streamline said that 33 percent of web users claimed to that had stumbled across a site that featured an out-of-date design and a quarter said they had accessed a website, only to find it 'barely useable'.

"While it's good news that companies now recognise the value of a web presence, there is a real danger their work can be undermined by basic errors," said Steve Holford, marketing director at Streamline.net.

"As with many areas of business, if the basics of a website are not sound, customers will be deterred from purchasing. Owners must recognise that while online spending has snowballed, so have consumer expectations."

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