Oh No! Google and banks provide free websites for all businesses in my country

I am a web developer in my country, Nigeria and for some time now it has been difficult getting new design jobs. Presently i heard an advert on the radio concerning a partnership between Google, MTN and a few banks coming together to provide free websites for all businesses in my country for free. The feature that even caught me off guard was the provision of a matching mobile web site.

Now, my fear is this. Will people stop looking for professional web sites because of this. One thing i havent found out is if they will be giving full domain names free or be issuing their domain name as a sub domain to these users who will be using the free website service. Can someone tell me if i should pack up or do i continue with web design/development business as it is not up to a year.


Generally [in life] the old adage applies: “You get what you pay for”
So, not to worry. The quality of FREE will probably be equitable to the price paid.

I cannot deduce why a country (and/or a bank) would do this except to include advertising on each of the free sites. If that is the case it is no different from the numerous sites on the web that offer FREE site development and assault website visitors with flashing, blinking, spinning, nauseating advertisements.

In Australia Google teamed up with MYOB to provide “free” web sites to businesses. I assume that the offers are somewhat similar.

These web sites are extremely restrictive in what you can do with them. Even a wordpress.com site would provide a business with greater flexibility and would provide the same degree of professional appearance as long as the business paid for a domain. So for just a few dollars a year a business can get something a lot better that what Google is offering “free”.

Anyway, the free offer is only for the first year after which they would charge more for hosting the site than many other hosting providers that have no restrictions on what your site can contain. So at the end of the year their cheapest option would be to move to a new hosting provider and create a new site.

This has been done in other countries … and is done in some places here in the states.

These sites are almost unanimously JUNK. The owners of the companies hate them. I’ve even thought of going behind all of these sites and contacting the businesses because they would be a GREAT source of new clients for my local business marketing company.

Here’s the bottom line … what are you doing now to get new prospects for your web design business?

When you talk to them, what are you trying to “sell” to them exactly?

Are you trying to sell “web design” … few will actually care about that. They’ll want a good design AFTER they have decided that having a website is a good business move.

That means you have to sell getting a website from the standpoint of the business and a business is going to care about two things … more revenues or better profits.

So, once you have a prospect and you are sitting down and talking to them, make sure you are “selling the right thing” (hint: don’t sell web design, sell “I help you to make more money”).

Which returns me to my earlier question … what are you doing right now to get prospects?

I don’t know a single business that has taken up this offer.

There will always be those who want the free or cheap option, and you don’t really want those people as clients anyway.

As Matt said, if you’re just selling ‘web design’ you’re missing the point anyway. The web design is a means to an end. What’s the end?

If you are worried about price you are doing it wrong!

If you’re good enough at what you do, there will almost certainly be someone who charges nothing or very little to do work that, to clients, seem remotely similar to what you do. But, these services will almost certainly be inferior to what you offer. That’s why people pay three times as much for a good developer as they do for an amateur. If you sell your services to people who actually need them, there’s no need whatsoever to “pack up”.

The key is knowledge. If you are always 1 step ahead of your clients , they will need your help. that is why people pay for things like google adwords. they want someone who has knowledge to help them. so just make sure you keep studying. you will be fine

I do, they’re now a client of mine :wink:

You need to look at this in a positive way.

  1. Someone sees the offer as an easy way to get started with a web site.
  2. Over a few months they see how limited their site is compared to others.
  3. By the end of the year they are looking for someone to build them a better site.
  4. You gain a new client.

If this offer wasn’t there they wouldn’t get as far as step 1 as getting on the web would still be too hard. No step 1 means no step 4.

I completely agree with felgall, rather than look at this as a negative, I’d start planning on how was going to handle all of the new business.

Small businesses will see this charge on their credit card for hosting or whatever and start to wonder what return their getting for that. You need to be there to build a better site for them and help them understand returns.

It’s pretty much as Felgall said. Free website builders have been around and are stilling coming out… why? Because it’s an introduction for people who want to be online to GET online. They can do it themselves and they see how much they can do (or so they think). They then learn that they really can’t do anything, that forced ads are actually hurting their business/traffic and they want to do what they can to get off of it. So they start looking for web designers to do a professional job, a better job, with no forced ads that bring no revenue to them.

So really, you have nothing to fear. Just change your approach a bit. Show on your site what free builders offer and how you can do better with less annoying features and more variety to actually HELP their businesses etc.

Google had given free website and free domain from US to Asia Countries. I was worried too when got to know that Google gave free website to those countries as some of the countries are my target countries too. When the free website service come to my home country, I signed up one to check the service and I got to know that their marketing strategy is only advertise on internet.

I wondered if they can really get the huge sign-ups from the small business companies/sole proprietor? One fact we have to admit that not everybody access to internet daily although internet has been very common, and not everybody receive the news of free website from Google even thought they online. We got the news because we are internet-savvy and we receive all kind of news that relate to our business.

To make my point clear, to get those small business companies/sole proprietor to sign-up a website, we need to walk down to the earth and meet them personally. Those who has the intention to create a website, might directly walk to your company because you have the credibility. I have the experience that people who are not internet- and computer-savvy, they hardly want to manage website themselves because to them it is very difficult. They better outsource it and focus on their core business.

So, you still have your market, toch4sure :slight_smile:

A similiar scheme is running in the UK offering a free domain name with the default web hosting being provided by Google.

It’s been good for many web designers including myself as felgall points out most people become rapidly disatisfied with what can be achieved using a very basic WYSIWYG site builder and a swath of other code restrictions peculiar to Google that make other free web hosting providers look positively luxurious by comparison. Getting folk swapped over to better hosting and providing simple makeovers or some basic Worpress tuition has turned out to be an unexpected boost to income.

A wise man once told me, you cannot compete on price, and doing so will only restrict your business in the long run. He then followed and said what’s the cheapest site you can buy, I quickly realized that competing on price was the wrong thing to do.

There is always people who want low-end websites, just to say they have a site.

My advice is not to worry too much over such solutions, they are bound to be restricted, and once clients start demanding more you’d be sure to be there to help.

I live in a country were web custom web design is not appreciated just yet and many companies go for the budget solutions, saying this I don’t think you’d be able to survive in the long run if you went down this path. As things become more and more sophisticated clients demand more, and once people wake up to WHAT WEB DESIGN IS! and what they think it is, then they’ll too realize that they’re better off paying more and getting more.

Do what you keep doing, keep on learning.