Sunday, September 30, 2007

Building your own website

Several companies and individuals in Papua New Guinea are profiteering from the ignorance of our little people by charging them huge amounts of money to build a website for their small businesses.

And after being ripped off by these companies, the little people then feel the brunt of paying excessive fees for a domain name, regular rental to the Internet Service Provider (ISP), as well as Internet usage fees to Telikom.

Caption for above: is one of the most popular free website building and hosting websites in the world.jpg

In a small economy such as that of PNG, small businesses cannot survive with such exorbitant costs.

This should no longer be the case, as it is quick and easy to design a website using templates freely available on the Internet, where you do not have to pay for a domain name or ISP rentals.

Your just have to pay for your Internet usage fee at the nearest Internet cafĂ© if you don’t have Internet access in your office.

More often than not, these small PNG business men and women, are not Internet-savvy and will not know basics like uploading their website onto the Internet or registering their website with Internet search engines and web directories.

The situation for many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) all over the world, including PNG, is that an entrepreneur owns a small or medium enterprise.

The company produces an interesting product such as organic coffee or arts and crafts, or provides a novel service such as taking tourists across the Kokoda Trail.

The problem: How do we use the Internet to sell the product or service?

The general methodology is to plan, analyse and enact E-marketing activities.

This methodology can be used by anyone who wants to use the Internet to access customers.

Components include:
Goals – What do we wish to achieve through E-marketing?
Resources – What resources can we expect to support our actions?
Actors – Who are the marketing actors in the E-marketing process?
Spaces – Where will our E-marketing take place online?
Actions – What specific E-marketing actions should we take?
Outcomes – What outcomes should we expect from our E-marketing activities?

Competing on the Internet is different because it is highly fragmented and holds more than 8 billion web pages.

The Internet features a “winner-take-all market” where a few winners get a lot of traffic while most sites get low traffic

A short-term goal may be stated in this way: “Our goal is to attract 100,000 visitors to the page in one week.”

A long term goal may be described in this way: “Our goal in the next one year is to get 3 million visits and 50,000 downloads of application forms for new accounts.”

Typical goals include:
Traffic to a website – How many hits, unique visitors?
Product purchase – How many visitors buy the product?
Brand excitement - How many visitors write about the product and tell others?
Repeat visits – How many visitors come back to buy more?

Existing resources should include the website and staff.

New resources to be considered include:
Do you have a marketing budget to attract more customers to your site?
Do you have a technology budget to build a better website and other digital services?

Actors’ orientation towards the company will be friendly, agnostic, or hostile.

The important decision is should you create your own website or go through a platform?

When you create your own website, it is hard to build awareness and traffic, and is a risky investment.

On the other hand, it is not a sure bet to go through a platform, and you must share revenue with the platform.

Making a free website these days is fast and really easy, which is certainly good news for SMEs all over PNG.

Government departments, statutory organisations, non-government organisations, sporting teams, provinces, villages, families, individuals, and many more should also be looking at seriously building their own website if they don’t already have one in this rapidly-globalising world.

Each of our 109 MPs should have their own website to share information with their voters and the people of PNG.

You can also create your own online Blog – which basically is an online diary - free of charge in which you can broadcast your views to the whole world.

I have my own Blog in which I feature some of the stories I have written about PNG and I have received response from around the world.

You can also send short video clips to YouTube, one of the most-popular and fastest-growing websites in the world, free of charge.

Many world leaders, including Australian Prime Minister John Howard, use YouTube to broadcast their video clips.

All over this increasingly-globalised world, a massive Information Revolution is taking place as economies use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a passport to what economists call the “New Economy”.

I have said before, and will say it again, that the ICT monopoly in PNG, exorbitant telephone and Internet costs, as well as lack of knowledge about ICT and E-business all contribute to this digital divide.

Papua New Guinea will continue to remain light years behind the rest of the world if we do not jump on the ICT bandwagon in this globalised world.

The digital divide within PNG is an enormous barrier to the ability of the people to participate in and benefit from the digital economy.

Access to Internet, adequate infrastructure, human capacity building and appropriate policies on ICT are central issues in addressing the digital divide.

Success in this globalised world is predicated on ICT knowledge and successful knowledge-based economies will be based on the efficient and widespread use of ICT by all sectors within any given country.

Small and medium enterprises, the backbone of the PNG economy, must be prepared with ICT knowledge.

If they are not ICT-savvy, they will not receive the benefits of globalisation and they will be left behind the rest of the world.

For comments and thoughts, or assistance with building your website, contact the author on email or SMS 6849763

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