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Building a website for your business in Zimbabwe

Building a website for your business in Zimbabwe

Building a website for your business is no small task. Yet more often than not i see business people in Zimbabwe simply assign this task to a web designer and forget about it. Would you assign an outsider to run your business and just assume that they are doing it properly? It’s the same for a website. You may not know programming language or how to code but you know your business better than anyone else.

Only you know your customers and their needs. You are the expert when it comes to your products and service offerings. The process of building your website should be a joint venture between you the business owner and the web designer or programmer.

Never approach the task of building your website as a small one. A website is a big deal for your business. There is more to a website than just the colors, design and look. A website is business tool and when you hire someone to build it you want to make sure they do it right and in such a way that it helps your business grow.

Your website is an extension of your physical business

Why is a website project such a big deal? Put simply, because your website is a replica of your business online. Think about everything that your business does. You do marketing, sales, production, customer service and customer support. Your website is supposed to do these very same things, the only difference is that it’s being done online. This is one of the biggest failures i see Zimbabwean businesses make almost every-time.

Having a website is supposed to eliminate the need for a customer to travel to your shop or offices. If you have a website and i still need to visit you physically then what’s the point of having it anyway? Treat your website as your physical business. Let it not fail to serve customers who have visited it. Would you let customers walk away from your offices without doing everything you can to serve them? Don’t let your website do that.

Treat your website as an employee

Most business people are willing to pay $400 or more every month as a salary for their employees. When it comes to their website they only want to pay $100 once off. This is where most websites fail- before they are even built. Your website is important.

This one website can serve as your marketing representative, attracting lots of people and website traffic. It acts as your salesperson showing visitors your products and orienting them on your services. Your website also acts as your cashier, accepting payments for what you offer and invoicing clients straight to their inboxes. It’s your customer support representative, it’s your PR guy and much more.

Address the needs of your target customers

When people visit your website it’s not because they have nothing to do. They are on your website because they have certain needs they believe you can meet. When you build your website keep this in mind. We are building this website for our customers. They must find it easy to use, they must understand the language you use and feel comfortable. You can’t build the website for everyone.

You need to know the specific customer or customer group that you are trying to reach. When you have this information about your target market you are able to build a much much more successful website. Remember, this is your business website but we are building it for your target customers.

Make it easy to contact you

I have been to websites where i have left because the people did not put their physical address. Too many times i see websites with just a contact form and no phone numbers whatsoever. When you are building a website in Zimbabwe, keep this in mind. People trust businesses they can physically visit for verification. Make sure that it’s easy to locate you and to contact you. Display your phone numbers, address and your map location.

Feature and explain your products

There are websites that you visit that make you wonder ‘what exactly do these people do?’ They tell you that they offer integrated solutions for business communication. What exactly is that? Make your products and services clear. If possible, afford each product a dedicated page to fully explain what it is, what it does and it’s features. Any questions that customers frequently ask about that product should be asked right there on the website. How much will it cost? How do i buy? Can i get it different colors? Make it easy to do business with you.

Show off your skills

You are in business most probably because you are an expert in a particular skill. You have been educated, trained and perfected in that skill. But then again there are people who are out there to make a quick buck and do not care about professional work. So how do you prove that you are the real deal? One the ways to do that is show visitors to your website that you are really skilled. Show them a portfolio of some of the works you have worked on. Give them proof that you are genuine. Have you worked on other projects before? Show them that.

Prove your expertise

When looking for a service provider i am always asking myself ‘Can this person deliver, do they have the expertise to pull this?’. Proving your expertise is a must. Zimbabwe has an unemployment rate of more than 90%. Where do you think these 90% are? They are there on the streets running businesses. Some are good but the majority are not professionals, they just saw someone doing something and thought that they could do the same. It’s all about the money to them.

So exactly how do you prove that you are an expert? An expert is a person who is very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area. One of the best ways to prove that you are an expert on a particular subject is by writing articles on your website blog. This way you get to reach out to a targeted audience and prove that you are not a fly by the night.

Display customer testimonials and reviews

If you have been in business for sometime then you obviously have quite a number of customers. What do these customers think of your products and services? Would they recommend others to do business with you? You can do this by displaying customer testimonials on your website. The best approach is to ask your customers for an honest review of your products and services. You can then list these on your website.

 

So there you have it. The proper way to build a website! Do you have anything to add to the list above? Tell us in the comments.

Do you want a website for your business?

A good website will help you grow your business.

8 things your website should do to grow your business

8 things your website should do to grow your business

One very frequent frustration most business owners have is that their website doesn’t seem to have any positive impact on their business. You pay for your domain renewal and website hosting but nothing ever seems to come out of it. Your website is a recurring expenditure and it seems all you do is pay, pay and pay. Ask yourself these questions?

  • Is my website an expenditure or an investment?
  • Is it a liability or an asset?
  • Does my website take away money or bring me money?
  • How much money has my website made me in the last year?
  • How much money have I spent on my website in the last year?

 

Yes you have a catchy design that looks nice but your business doesn’t need ‘nice’ only. It needs to grow! It needs more visitors, more sales, more customers and more profit. And your business website should support those goals. If it doesn’t then why waste more money on it? Your website should be an asset and an investment. It should make you more money and bring you more business. Let’s look at 8 things your website should do for your business:

1. A 24/7 online business representative.

A website is a very important business asset. It represents your business online and answers frequent questions that a normal business representative is asked. Things like who are you? Where are you located? What are your telephone numbers? What products do you sell and what services do you have on offer? Think about these facts –

  • Your business has opening and closing times.

This is a major limitation because customers are restricted to the time that you are open in order to make an inquiry. A website changes all this and allows you to serve customers night and day and at their convenience. A website never sleeps and will provide prospects with information on a continuous basis. It’s the perfect employee! A 24/7 corporate representative. How much would you pay an employee who never sleeps and is always serving customers no-matter what time of day it is? A website is a LOT cheaper than an employee.

  • You are located in a specific location or locations at a time.

Every business has a physical presence either in one location or multiple locations. No-matter how many locations you can be found in, you are still faraway than the business that has a website. These days people no longer want to travel to find products and services. They prefer to do it online. It’s more convenient and you save on time and transport cost.

  • You have a limit on the number of employees you have.

Imagine if your business has a lot of visitors at the same time. You have a limited number of staff members so it means having visitors and customers wait in line until its their turn. A website solves all of that. It can serve hundreds, thousands and even millions at the same time.

2. Market your business and it’s uniqueness.

Every business is unique and so is yours. Uniqueness is important. It’s what differentiates you from your competitors. Think about it. If you are the same as your competitors then why should a customer come to you and not to your competitors? You need to differentiate yourself and let that differentiation show on your website. Your business must have a unique value proposition, something that tells your visitors that this is ‘us’. This is what we stand for and how we do business.

3. Advertise your products and services.

You are in business to provide your customers with products and service. The best place you can showcase what you do is your own website. Everywhere else you are going to be limited in terms of how you present and advertise what you offer. You will be limited in number of products, words and photos you can use. You are limited by the design, structure and layout of other websites where you may want to advertise. But on your own website you have complete freedom as to how you want the world to see your products.

It’s very important to list each of your products and services on each own page. This makes it easier to share the web address to that product. Let’s say you sell common bricks. When someone asks you about common bricks,, instead of giving them a link to all your products you simply provide them the URL to the common bricks page. This is convenient to your customers and also helps you to rank higher in search engines. It’s important not to just place a page for every product or offering you have but to explain the product. Provide sufficient information to visitors so that they don’t need to phone or email asking questions.

Answer frequently asked questions about the product right there on the page. If you product has photos this should also be included together with any information on product benefits. Lastly, you need to provide your website visitors with very clear instructions on what they need to do to order or buy the product. Don’t assume that they will know what to do, guide them!

4. Sell and accept payments for products and services online.

A good website will not just introduce products to customers. No, it will allow them to order and buy the product or service right there on the website. If you can save your customers the need to visit your offices and make the buying process more convenient then do it. With almost every customer on Ecocash now having a Mastercard, buying online has never been easier in Zimbabwe.

There are now also facilities like Paynow that help you accept payments on your website using methods like Ecocash, Telecash, Visa and Mastercard. You have the option to accept payments online and offer paid delivery services via shipping options like DHL. If you provide a service that need your customers to provide you with custom information then you can always include a website form to capture that information.

5. Gather sales leads continuously.

What happens on your website when someone visits it? Do you even know who visited your website? The reason someone visited your website is most likely because they were interested in what you have to offer. They may not have called or ordered something because they are still researching or they don’t have the funds as yet. It’s very easy for such people to forget you and buy somewhere else. There’s so much competition around and anyone can wow your them away. So what should you do? I’m glad you asked.

You need to give your visitors a chance to give you their contact details. A phone number or an email address will do. This way you follow up with your visitors. You can send them links to your articles about the product they were interested in. How to guides, case studies, promotions and discounts or trial accounts work here. Whatever you decide on doesn’t really matter, what’s important is that you find a way of capturing leads so that your sales team can follow up and help them become customers.

6. Educate visitors and customers about your products and services.

This is a big problem i have seen with many African websites. Even big telecommunication companies continually make it. They offer a product or service and then leave the customer to figure out what to do on their own. You need to educate your customers about your offerings. What are the benefits? What do i do if i encounter problems? How do i get started? This is very important information on a website. If you sell cement as an example, tell your customers how to use the cement. What proportions do i need for floors? How about walls? Offer your visitors something of value. Trust me, they will appreciate it.

7. Attract new visitors to your website.

This is at the end but is probably the most important. If your website has the catchy latest design on the planet but has no traffic then all that money or effort into it were just a waste. Your website must do the hard work for your business. It must attract new visitors who are looking for what you have to offer. If you offer shoe repair services and someone types that in Google then your website must appear in the search results. If someone clicks on that then you have gained a new visitor and quite possibly a new customer. This process is called search engine optimization.

8. Get insight and data about your visitors.

Who visits your website? What is their age? They come from which country? Do they use mobile devices or desktops to view your website? Which are the most popular pages on your website? How do they reach your website? Most website owners don’t have any data or information about their website visitors. They are completely clueless. In order to be able to continually improve your business, you need to know who you are serving and be able to make changes as necessary. A service like Google Analytics can provide immense value.

Consider this example – You offer a service and require your customers to come and fill in a form at your offices. When you look at your website you discover that 75% of your website visitors are from the UK. Requiring such visitors to come to your offices is simply not practical. You have to make changes if you want to convert these visitors into customers.

Conclusion

Does your website make you money? Tell us in the comments below. If you liked this article please share it with your friends.

Get yourself a website that ACTUALLY makes you money

At Angel & Walt we specialize in building websites that help you grow and succeed.

The benefits of a mobile responsive website

The benefits of a mobile responsive website

It’s very easy to ignore and dismiss the importance of building a mobile responsive website. After all, isn’t this just a passing fad? Not at all. The majority of connections to the internet are from mobile devices. According to the POTRAZ 2016 2nd Quarter Report, the total number of internet connections in Zimbabwe stands at around 6.7 million. Of this about 6.5 million are mobile connections. That’s an astounding 97% that’s mobile based. Be warned, ignore the buying power of mobile users at your own peril.

What is a responsive website?

Traditionally, people accessed the internet from desktop and laptop computers. As more and more people started to increasingly make use of their mobile devices (tablet and smartphones) to connect to the internet, a new challenge began to develop. The websites did not fit on the small screen of these smaller devices. To view the website you needed to do a lot of scrolling sideways and downwards. The solution to this problem are responsive websites. A responsive website adapts the content of the website to the size of the device screen.

Here are 6 key benefits of having a responsive website:

Content flexibility

A responsive website is fluid. This means the content fits freely on all screen sizes and devices. It’s much like water. Water takes the shape of any container that it is poured in making it highly flexible. Just as water fills an allotted space and retain its appearance, a responsive website’s fluidity achieves the same result with website content on a device screen.

A great user experience

The secret to every successful website are happy customers. Your website must allow people access on their own terms. If someone wants to access it from their workplace laptop, or on their phone while on the bus it’s their choice. Empower your website users to exercise their choice. A rigid website will stress a website visitor by making them zoom in and out of content and scrolling to view your pages. A responsive website allows your visitors to do the one thing that’s important – concentrate on the message.

Increased traffic and conversion rates

A responsive website will help drive traffic to your website. Mobile users are more likely to use sites that are designed for mobile use instead of those that simply display a desktop version on mobile devices. Upgrading to a responsive website allows you to better meet mobile users’ needs and can positively impact traffic to your site.

In addition, a responsive design helps in converting all that traffic into actual customers. Your responsive website makes it easier for users to follow through on your website’s purpose and goal. Every website must have a goal. This is the what you want people who visit your website to do after visiting. In other words traffic must have a purpose. This could be to register an account, make a purchase or fill a form. So let’s say your website goal is for a user to register an account. Your website then receives 100 visitors and 20 visitors proceed to register an account. Your conversion rate in this case is 20%. The goal is to raise that figure as high as possible.

If visitors to your website encounter challenges in registering an account they will leave and your conversion rate will fall. A responsive website ensures that visitors on mobile devices view your website without hassles therefore allowing them to complete the end objective.

Saves development time and costs

The traditional approach to building a website that can be viewed on both desktop computers and mobile devices is to build to separate websites. One for desktops and one for mobile devices. The boring thing about it is that these two websites have the same content, the only difference is that the content for different devices. So for every work you do on your website you have to do so twice. This means twice the time, twice the effort and twice the cost.

A responsive website solves that problem. You can have one website serving content for all types of devices. Talk about efficiency.

SEO boost

A responsive website has another benefit in terms of search engine optimization (SEO). Google now favors responsive websites in search results made on mobile devices. So by getting a responsive website you get a visibility boost over those websites that are not responsive. The second SEO advantage is that a mobile site means you no longer have duplicate content on your website. Since you are no longer maintaining two versions of the same website, it means Google has to index only one website version. Google hates duplicate content and by eliminating it from your website you gain an advantage.

Easy to manage

Having a separate desktop and mobile site requires having to duplicate site management and marketing campaigns. It means running two SEO campaigns and updating two websites. Managing one site and one SEO campaign is far easier than managing two sites and two SEO campaigns. This is a key advantage that a responsive website has over a separate mobile site.

Do you have any questions or contribution to make to this article? Join the discussion in the comments below.

Do you need a mobile responsive website?