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How to Start Your Website With Just R80

Low-cost website builder erodes entrepreneurs’ barrier to entry.

Ivan Booth

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A significant obstacle preventing the realisation of entrepreneurial dreams has come tumbling down this week with the launch of an R80 widget-based website builder by domains.co.za.

According to BusinessNewsDaily.com, many start-ups are so hard-up for cash that they are financed using their founders’ personal credit cards.

“When you’re trying to get a great idea off the ground using expensive short term credit that’s still available while you’re somebody else’s employee, it’s near impossible to put several thousand rand on your credit card just to pay a website designer,” says Wayne Diamond, managing director of DiaMatrix, holding company of Domains.co.za.

 When financing is the biggest hurdle

Access to funding is the fallback answer usually listed as the top challenge facing start-ups, with the growing phenomenon of online crowd-funding via websites such as startme.co.za increasingly posed as a solution.

“Without a website, the prospective entrepreneur cannot even tap into the most basic of funding avenues – virtual and real world funders still prefer some proof of concept that exists online. And few prospective entrepreneurs still in full-time employment can afford to pay a website designer upwards of R5 000.

A further challenge, explains Diamond, is that entrepreneurs are usually big picture people with great ideas, but perhaps not the nuts and bolt knowledge to make their visions reality.

“Site Builder from Domains.co.za is affordable to any prospective entrepreneur with R80 a month to spend on website design, while also being widget-based which means site construction is as simple as clicking on icons and moving them around the screen.”

Just this week, the respected Huffington Post suggested that affordable web hosting and free blogging platforms created a technological “zero barrier to entry” and “made entrepreneurship accessible to anyone”. Not so, says Mr Diamond. “Few commentators understand just what a big thing it is for a start-up to get that first great idea looking good on the web.”

He adds that Site Builder from Domains.co.za completes the loop. After coming up with that game-changing idea, the would-be entrepreneur will typically register a compelling domain name, but then what?

Site Builder takes care of the ‘then what?’

“Anyone – whether a non-profit, start-up, entrepreneur, home-based business, a retail establishment or a school – can now register their domain on Domains.co.za and have a website they built themselves, at little cost, up and online in 15 minutes if you have already created content for it.

A further bonus for entrepreneurs is that Site Builder includes an email address and hosting fees which means that new business launch needn’t go over budget,” says Diamond.

About Site Builder

This ease-of-use primarily comes from the use of widgets. A widget is an app for websites that allows for more advanced functionality. Site Builder has over 35 different widgets that can each add a specific function to your website.

These widgets include a photo gallery, photobook, external videos, social media feeds, contact form, guestbook, reservation and e-commerce. The eShop.co.za widget, for example, means entrepreneurs can have a full e-commerce enabled website with local and international payment gateways, and courier services.

The best thing about Site Builder is that you can add pages as you go along and, because you do all the work, you do not have to pay a designer or developer every time you want to add a photograph or run a special,”concludes Diamond.

Ivan is a PR consultant who almost a decade ago abandoned his coveted parking bay at 082 Vodacom Boulevard. While remaining convinced that life is sweeter when you make your own tea, he admits missing the enablers of corporate life: the techies from upstairs, for example, and their colleagues the downstairs lightbulb changers. Ivan's firm, Reliable Sources PR, looks forward to entering its second decade helping more interesting SMEs punch above their weight when it comes to outstanding media coverage. Of course, he also enjoys landing the corporate whoppers that pay the bills. If you are a whopper, please enter here: ivan@reliablesources.co.za. If you are an SME, please slide through here: booth.ivan@gmail.com.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Andrea Jackson

    Jun 24, 2014 at 07:34

    It’s very easy to with R80.

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Staying Relevant In The Facebook Age Of Meaningful Social Interactions

With Facebook announcing that it is pushing brand and publisher content out of news feeds, how can businesses, especially small and medium enterprises in South Africa, remain relevant?

Madex

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It was deemed a “rude awakening” early in January 2018 when Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that the social networking platform had changed its algorithm, basically meaning it had changed what users see on their news feeds.

This follows a pretty harsh year for Facebook, where it was criticised for not having the right countermeasure to stop the spread of fake news and propaganda. So now its set of rules has changed; bumping up users’ friends and family members’ status updates and photos, and underplaying public news articles and content published by brands.

But where does that leave the small or medium businesses reliant on communicating their brand messages through Facebook? How do they now reach Facebook users (estimated to be approximately two billion)?

There is still a way

jodene-shaer“’Meaningful interaction’ is not something new to Zuckerberg’s focus on how brands engage with their Facebook audience,” explains Jodene Shaer, international business owner and head strategist of social media engagement specialist, Chat Factory.

Related: 5 Marketing Missteps That Make Cash Flow And Business Growth Stumble

“There is a place for paid media, but if a brand is trying to be seen organically, then it must feel like it is part of the flowing content people want to see from friends and family. It is pushing for the reason that Facebook was created in the first place – to be social.”

Authenticity key

Truly embracing the power of live videos and video content on Facebook – and then creating reasons for the public to engage with those posts – is an excellent move for any business that is budget conscious, Shaer adds.

“The ranking for visibility of organic content is highest when live. Live videos are absolutely the route to go, as followers receive a notification that you are live and there is greater chance of visibility. A big advantage is that you can save that content to the page and it becomes shareable, and can be uploaded to YouTube, where there is still a strong call for business content.

“And it doesn’t have to be high budget either, but it must be authentic, informative, engaging and encouraging. Of all things, ensure that all comments are responded to and shares and reviews are acknowledged.”

Looking beyond Facebook

Shaer believes that smaller local businesses can make their ad rands stretch further on Facebook by moving onto Ads Manager, instead of simply using the Boost button. “The reach is different, so invest in watching some YouTube videos as tutorials,” she recommends. “Boost to unique target audiences and turn the boosting into a science, by watching your reach. Set up smaller boosts and spread your spend across a few posts instead of one big boost. Track your stats and see which audiences work best.”

“One way that South African SMEs could also make use of InstaStories, as these are gaining organic reach. They could also look at varying hashtags, but using a few to reach a very specific audience.

Related: Marketing Tips For Start-ups

“We’ve seen the opening up of the use of LinkedIn and had people return to using the power of Twitter, so it’s worth investigating how to maximise other platforms while trying to keep your budget low.

“None of this should put a small business off, but should create exciting and challenging opportunities to shift how social media is used and explore the outcomes of each post, to truly develop a social media presence,” she adds.

Shaer will be one of an entire panel of dynamic, expert presenters speaking at the upcoming Madex 2018 show, the ultimate marketing, advertising, design, social media and all that good stuff expo.

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Online Marketing

How To Market Your Hotel

An integrated digital marketing strategy that provides multiple channels to communicate on will help you to reach more potential customers.

Entrepreneur

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It’s imperative these days to enable customers and guests to interact directly with your brand in real time – and your ROI will reflect this success. To achieve this, your marketing team should utilise a number of different channels in order to achieve an integrated digital marketing strategy.

Why? When potential customers are only able to use one means of communication or booking platform, such as a hotel’s website or blog, Facebook, Twitter or a third-party booking site, their frustration could cause you to lose their business.

Your digital strategy

how-to-market-your-hotel

By engaging in an integrated digital marketing strategy and addressing multiple channels with a clear, consistent message, you are bound to reach the maximum number of potential customers. Through the creation of a larger online presence, your engagement reach will be far higher, solidifying your company’s brand in the best possible manner.

Related: 5 Marketing Missteps That Make Cash Flow And Business Growth Stumble

Your first step in achieving an integrated campaign is to determine your target market. The second step according to Robert Nienaber, managing director of Suiteres, is to “create a message – tell a story about your product or service and what makes it unique.

For instance, the history of your establishment’s location, the nature/wildlife, your amazing food or historical rooms or perhaps the owner’s unique story. Tailor that story for your target market to captivate them – they will buy into your brand as a result.” Be sure to keep your message consistent across all mediums, be it written, photographic or video.

According to Ivo Kittel, head of Development & Design at Suiteres, different channels can be described as such: ‘These consist of website and online booking systems, third-party channels – such as online travel agents or your global distributions systems – and social media platforms that support the aforementioned and drive traffic to them.

‘Print media, events and other offline techniques can also assist by driving clients to visit your website or to engage with you on social media. All these channels should be strategically linked for best effect.’

Online marketing

An unusual hero in the travel market? Smart phones and tablets, on-the-go devices that allow users to review and recommend hotels on social media profiles, as well as third-party sites. Together with the integrated digital marketing strategy, this increases potential customers’ connections to hotels, airlines, car hire companies or event organisers.

What’s more, a key driver in drawing in new customers and causing previous ones to return, is the offer of regular perks, benefits, freebies and discounts via a newsletter.

Bear in mind though, that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Each company will have differing concerns and requirements, and these are what you should use to build an effective marketing campaign. The following should be noted:

  • Effective communication between marketing team members is essential. There needs to be collaboration across the multiple channels you’re utilising. In doing so, your overall offering will be streamlined and have maximum effect.
  • Choose your key channels, those that will receive the most attention and marketing spend. These need to be the channels that garner the most hits or collect the most bookings – also known as ‘converting’.
  • Determine your target market and get as much information as you can on them, over time. For instance, which platform do they opt for first? Do specials lead them to make a booking, and if so, what are they? This and any other informative data assists you in your decisions and allows you to use your marketing funds in the best manner possible.

According to Vanessa Rogers, head of Communications at Suiteres, ‘The above-mentioned strategy should ideally be supported by a skilfully crafted PR campaign – one designed to complement and support your marketing message.’

Related: 3 Ways To Build Your Brand Identity Using Content Marketing

Taking this into account, you should consider having relevant articles published on third-party websites and print media or arrange for a client to be interviewed on radio or a streaming site. These forms of PR are more cost-effective then an advertising campaign.

The details matter

Importantly, customers need to know they can contact you quickly and easily, whether they are making a booking or requesting additional information. One thing you can be certain of: if a customer is unable to communicate efficiently with you, they are very likely to book elsewhere.

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Online Marketing

10 Online Marketers To Watch In 2018

The more diverse your sources of news and inspiration, the better. These ten people can help get you there.

Jayson Demers

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Online marketing requires experience, creativity and a working knowledge of the latest trends and technologies necessary to stay competitive in the modern landscape. And while there aren’t any shortcuts to gain more experience, there is a convenient way to stay up to date on the latest marketing trends and get inspiration for your creative campaigns.

That way? Following and paying attention to the best, smartest marketers in the industry.

With 2018 just getting started, I wanted to list some of my favourite marketing influencers, some of the most influential experts in the industry and some of the most promising creative minds to pay attention to this year:

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