Hands up if you are a “web designer” in Kenya. These days it seems that every other person on the streets does ‘websites’. Good for you, good for you (us?) all! It seems that it is boom time in Kenya as far as websites go. As many web designers as there are, there seems to be even more people who want websites….
So this year I have come across many people who want websites and are willing to pay good money to get one. trouble is, most seem to have LITTLE idea of how to use a website for their business. For the web designers in the room, I am sure you have met that guy who wants a quick website up in a week. They send you their company profile and bam! one week later you have them up and running. They then ask you to create a few email accounts based on their domain name and every thing goes well. Or so it seems. One year later, when it is time to renew the domain name, the guy is:
A. shutting down the website (what does this even mean?); or
B. renewing the domain name (for the email addresses) but does not care much about the website (and will try to get away with not paying for the web hosting); or
C. ignoring your emails and calls
So what happened?
Simple. Most people and businesses in Kenya get a website because it is the “in” thing. It is just what people do – you “have to get” a website dammit! But once they actually have their website, they have no idea what to do with it. It will forever remain an expensive “brochure” lost in a sea of millions of other websites and the hefty amount paid to the web designer will be a painful reminder.
You think I am over-generalizing things? Want a quick test to prove my theory? Good, because I have one. Ask three random people who recently had websites made for their business if they ever earned a single shilling from their website. How many of these websites even get more than 20 “hits” a day consistently?
Sadly, in Kenya, we build websites and then we forget about them and get busy “running the business”. The website was just something we knew we had to do.
Think about your business. Do you have a website? What, exactly, does your business gain from it? Is having your website address on your business card enough return on investment for you? If yes, then good, I am happy for you.
If the answer is no. Well, then, you’re in trouble. A website, in my humble opinion, is meant to sell your products and/or your business. You should have a reliable way to measure how much of your revenues were directly or indirectly attributable to your website.
Otherwise, you should not have paid so much for that flashy beautiful site. Maybe next time you should get a picture of your business card as your homepage and leave it at that!