I was look at the visitor stats for this website (www.likechapaa.com) and it surprised me that a good 20% of the people who come here do it on their mobile phones. I always knew that the mobile web was big in Kenya, but I did not think it was big enough to affect my own website so much.
IN a country like ours, making a website universally usable is an important issue and ignoring it may lead to groups of users suffering isolation, rather than enjoying the use of your website. What if Like Chapaa was not available in a mobile-friendly version? Perhaps our visitor numbers would be down 20%. That’s a big and painful loss.
Do you want your own site to be successful? Then you have to think about making it as universally accessible as possible. In Kenya, the easiest way to do this is by:
- Publishing a mobile version of your website – Did you know that only about 15% of the world speaks English? I am not sure how many people in Kenya do not understand English but I do know that it is not the first language of nearly everyone in this country. I think it would be a mistake to publish your website and ignore English completely, but it is equally important not to ignore other languages that your target audience may ‘identify’ with better than English. I’d love to see a Sheng or Swa version of Pewa hewa, you?
- Publishing your website in more than one language – The number of internet users in Kenya is growing very very fast. The vast majority of people use their mobile phones to access the internet. If you ignore mobile, you may be ignoring at least 20% of the ‘market’. I am sure this is not something that anyone wants to do willingly.
How hard is it to do this?
Fortunately, web design and development technology just keeps growing. The first step would be to find yourself a competent person or organisation to do your website. There are lots of sufficiently qualified people all around you.
The next step would be to ensure that your web developer makes your website using a robust and stable content management system (CMS). Most CMSes have a very simple way to implement a mobile version and additional languages. I recommend WordPress as my CMS of choice.
For web design and development, of course, I recommend Nickel Pro.
What do you think of mobilizing your website and publishing in more than one language?
Like Chapaa is available only in English. We hope to get it translated soon.