I know what you are thinking; this guy is crazy, building a successful online business in Cameroon. Yes that is exactly what I mean. A lot of people around the world are already benefiting from the use of internet and living a lifestyle you and I can only dream of.
The internet has come to stay, take it or leave it. Stop making excuses that MTN, Orange, Camtel and all the big names you can think of in Cameroon are not providing fast or good internet connections. While I agree with you on this, however, I want to tell you now that it will not continue to stay like this for ever. The use of internet facilities in Cameroon is a growing trend and as a businessman, you need to think ahead before your competitors do.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am not asking you to build an e-commerce site like Amazon or ebay. What I want you to do is to improve the fine tune the little things you do on daily basis.
I will give you a practical example of failing online businesses in Cameroon. Did you know that of the entire numerous hotel businesses we have in Cameroon, none of those hotels are visible online?
The big question I would like to ask you now is…
Why are these hotels online?
It may interest you to know most the people coming from abroad to Cameroon, find it almost impossible to find a Cameroon hotel online let alone book or reserve a room online unless they pass through a travel agent like www.hotelscombined.com or Experian. If they are very lucky to find any it will Hilton hotel that does pay per click or Google ad words if you like.
Running a successful online business does not only imply making sales online. In fact there are very successful internet businesses that
have never made a sale on the web? Take for example a law firm will doesn’t sell any product only, they sell services to clients. Some of these law firms have the facility to process online payment but the majority of law firms would set up a website that acts as a referral portal. So a properly designed website can act a lead machine that generates clients or customer for your business on regularly either, monthly, weekly or even daily.
Keywords Research: Keywords are the words that your target audience of customers will use to find your products or services when performing online search. For example if you own a hotel in Molyko Buea, you would imagine that if someone is searching online for hotels in Buea, they are likely to type in the words; hotels in Buea, hotels in Molyko, where to find hotels in Molyko etc. So you have to think like your customer and make sure you make a proper keyword research before attempting to build your website. There are several free tools available on the internet to help you do this. Google keywords tool is free and is in fact the starting point for any keywords research for the simple reason Google is the biggest search engine. If you really want to take your keyword research to the next level and get all the money making keywords, then I will advise you to pay for the services of an SEO expert. Once you have made a list of your target keywords you are ready to proceed to the next step…
Domain Registration: A domain is the web address your customers or client will use to get to your website. There are several domain extensions e.g. .com, .org, .net etc. Some domain extensions are restricted to only particular businesses, organisations or country. The .com, .net, .org, .co extensions are generally acceptable for any business, organisation or individuals. However, the main emphasis here is not the domain extension. It is the domain name. Let take the case of a hotel owner in Molyko. Say the name of your hotel is KBS Hotel Molyko. You may decide to buy a domain with your hotel name e.g. kbshotel.com, kbshotelmolyko.co etc. or to use one of your target keywords in your domain name for example hotelmolyko.com, molykokbshotel.com etc.
Domains with business or company name are good if you intend to brand your business or company. However, for niche market it is better to use your target keyword or keywords. A professional search engine optimisation expert will be able to advise you on what is best for you.
Hosting: Once you register a domain you need a web host. A domain host is a server you rent to host your web files. Depending on the nature of your business you can use a free web hosting service or paid. If you intend to run a successful business that will stand the test of time and last longer then I will advise you go for paid account. Most domain hosting providers will advise you on the type of package that suits your business. Again contacting a professional can give you an edge over your competition.
Logo, Web and Graphic Design: A business logo creates the first impression about any business, a bad logo creates a bad image and professionally designed logo can make all the difference between success and failure. A visitor to your website has only about 5 seconds to decide whether to stay on the site or leave. So professionally designed logo and graphic and website is very important for a successful online business. This is one area businesses in Cameroon suffer as well.
A properly designed website will be search engine friendly. I can state categorically here that this is the major reason why small businesses in Cameroon are not visible online. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is simply the process of improving the visibility of a website. Like the hotels in Cameroon cases I cited above, they are completely invisible online and the main reason for this is that their websites are not search engine friendly. By paying a professional to design your website, you are guaranteed to have your title and header tags, keywords tags, Meta tags etc. spot on.
However, actually building a successful business goes beyond and above what I have mentioned above. This is just a general picture but is enough to get you started on how to setup a successful online business in Cameroon. If you would like to talk to one of our team about your web problem then please feel free to use the contact us form about to tell us what it is you need help with.
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