3 misconceptions about why South African businesses can’t be digital in 2017

Over the last 10 years the digital world has transformed how we do business across the globe. Customers expect an online presence and having a highly functioning website and digital presence is often the difference between success and failure.

With that said, there are surprisingly a large number of businesses, yet to take the plunge into the online realm. This is largely due to misconceptions about why South African businesses cant be digital in 2017.

Below we break down the 3 most common misconceptions and why going digital in 2017 is critical for success.

Misconception #1:  It’s Not Affordable.

If you have the power to start an offline business, going digital will afford you the prospect to grow at an exponentially higher rate, reaching hundreds of thousands of potential customers around South Africa and the globe. Of course, traditional methods still have their place, but tracking your business’s marketing digital will allow you to measure your return and success in minute detail.

Investing into an online platform is affordable to all budget-types and is an easy and simple process, even for those without advanced knowledge of html & coding. WordPress is an example of a low cost and powerful CMS to build your website upon.

There are also multiple options when it comes to marketing your new website and in growing the traffic and revenue that you drive from your website. SEO is a fundamental basic that you should ensure is in place for your business. An approach like SEO Accelerated gives you a foundation where all the best practices are in place and combined with a budget friendly ongoing SEO campaign can quite easily get you on track towards a recipe for success.

What you will need to start your digital presence is follow 3 easy steps:

Step 1: Website Domains

Firstly, choosing the correct domain name is important for potential customers to find your business, you will want it to remain short but memorable.

Most businesses use their company name ending with .co.za or .com as their domain

Step 2: Domain Registration

Once you have chosen a domain name, the two possible websites you may use to host your domain name are AfriHost https://www.afrihost.com and Hetzner https://hetzner.co.za/ both offer budget-friendly prices at around R99.00/year.

Step 3: Choosing Your Web / Email Hosting

By choosing your web hosting, it will also include an email account ending with your domain name. For example: info@businessname.co.za

You may chose to get your hosting via AfriHost or Hetzner starting around R199/month.

Otherwise, if you are looking for a professional, no-fuss and user-friendly hosting site; Squarespace (https://www.squarespace.com/pricing) is one of the best hosting websites allowing you to easily create and customize your website as you see fit without having to use WordPress. Their business package is R242.18/annually and includes a free custom domain name and Google AdWords advertising credit.

Once you have your website domain and web / email hosting, you are ready to start your digital enterprise. It’s as simple and easy as that.

Misconception #2: Maintaining A Website Is Too Complicated.

The idea of setting up an online platform sounds complicated but in reality, it is very straightforward.  Whether you want to design your own website from scratch, use a template or have someone else do the work for you.

Now that you have your web domain and hosting, you have three options to chose from:

  • Design your own website from scratch using a WordPress template or purchase one of 1000’s of low cost professionally designed themes for example (https://www.elegantthemes.com/)
  • Use a customisable template on Squarespace
  • Have AfriHost (https://www.afrihost.com/site/product/afridesign), WebAfrica (https://www.webafrica.co.za/website-design/) or any other web design firm create and maintain your website for you starting at R199/month. By choosing this route, they take all the guessing out of the equation; leaving you to focus on other aspects of your business.

By choosing a web design firm, they handle all of the logistics that come with making your presence known in the digital realm.  From digital branding and social media marketing to web design, e-commerce to search engine optimisation and more – they can get you started from the ground up.

Misconception #3: My Business Doesn’t Need To Be Online.

By not going digital, your business is missing a world of opportunity both in brand presence and perspective customers. Below are the top reasons for bringing your business online and how they will improve all business aspects:

Corporate Presence: Given that everyone is digitally connected, by having an online presence, you open doors to potential clients, not only in your area but around the world, to do business with. Furthermore, in order for your client base to take your business seriously, it is vital that you have a website in order to portray a reputable brand.

Take this a step further with a digital performance marketing campaign and you can drastically increase your sales and profitability.

Cutting Costs: By bringing your business online, you have the chance to cut costs, from connecting with customers via live-chat and email, having your online shop running in hours which equates to increased profit, saving thousands of Rand a year on the high cost of sending out other forms of promotional material – it’s a win, no matter how you look at it.

Streamlined Business Process: By having an online platform to do business, you can streamline your business processes into a neat and orderly fashion. From customer support to important updates, billing to shipping and payments – everything is done for you to make your life and business run smoother and more efficiently.

Now that the 3 misconceptions have been cracked about why South African Businesses can’t be digital in 2017, you have all the information available to start creating an online presence, that will help in your future success.

Graeme Stiles

Graeme has 10 years experience in Search Marketing across a number of industries. He spent time in the online gaming sector learning the ins and outs of competitive search marketing before moving into the digital agency space.
Graeme's focus is now on process optimisation and systems creation in the performance marketing space.