If you can build professional websites, there’s a huge market waiting for you!
In today‘s world, if you own a business that doesn‘t have a website, it typically doesn‘t exist. Startups, small businesses and large companies now consider it common sense to invest in a website that properly reflects their image and brand, and also showcases their products and services to attract would-be customers.
The fact is that, even today, most African companies still do not have their own website. And even those that do exist are often very poorly designed. While the smallest companies in developed countries have a website to reach a wider market and increase sales, thousands of African businesses are yet to fully exploit the huge benefits of an online presence.
There is a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs who have the skills and talent to bring more individuals and businesses online. There is a growing need for web developers, programmers and designers to meet the needs of this market, especially for companies that want to build a website with special and unique requirements.
Fortunately, building a professional website is now possible without the need to spend years learning how to code. There are a growing number of resources on the internet that will teach you how to perform basic programming and design a website in a couple of days. This list of Free Online Resources is a great place to start.
It‘s important that you do not join the many who simply design websites. You need a strategy and approach that sets you apart. Offer a concrete proposal to structure the site in a way that increases the company‘s sales by demonstrating how a solid and functional website will convert online visitors into new customers.
Or offer consultations about how you can decrease the bounce rate and make the site more engaging. Many businesses have improved their SEO, increased engagement, and ultimately won new customers and clients by adding a blog to their site. You could also review sites of companies in Africa who are looking to attract investment or partnerships with foreign companies and suggest how their sites could become more representative in this regard.
If you want to target smaller or medium-sized businesses in Africa, you could also offer simple one or three-page sites for a cheap fixed rate. Those small businesses could choose from a variety of templates you have done, so really you produce websites en masse, simply changing the colors and text – done! If you offer such a web design service in your country in Africa make sure you brand and promote it in a way that will attract customers in that market.
Another alternative, and the simplest (but not necessarily the smartest) concept, would be to seek out medium and larger businesses in Africa that do not have a website, and yes, they do exist, especially in the manufacturing sector. Build quality company websites for them.
Manufacturing companies (they often have no or poor websites)
Local tour travel agencies (they often have very basic and poor websites)
SMEs (they often have no websites)
Top Countries & Policy Guidance
You could go for countries that already have a higher online presence; these are Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and the North African countries. A great benefit is that the business world at large in those countries is already aware of the value of the internet.
Alternatively you may target countries with economic growth but less internet penetration and online visibility, such as Ghana, Senegal, Mozambique, Uganda, and Rwanda, for example. Don‘t chose countries where economic growth and development is slow, as an online presence or performance is rarely a priority for companies in these countries, nor do the local dynamics support such an endeavor to any great extent.
Action & Tips
Compare the websites of Western companies in your selected niche (e.g. local tour travel, manufacturing, SMEs) and then compare them with the sites and position of companies in your chosen market in Africa. Learn about the difference and gaps and use that understanding to offer smart website strategies‘ to your potential clients.
Vinny Lingham (South Africa)
Vinny Lingham (34) is a South African internet entrepreneur, and the founder and former CEO of Yola Inc. The company, Web 2.0, which is based in San Francisco, provides free website building, publishing and hosting services to more than three million active consumers all over the world. The company has grossed over $30 million (R300 million) in venture capital financing from institutional investors such as Columbus Venture Capital, owned by SA‟s Johann Rupert‟s Richemont Group. Today, Lingham runs his new company, Gyft, a mobile gift card company backed by Google Ventures.