Top 10 Web Development Tips For Small Business Owners

Have you been wondering how to start a small business without spending an arm and a leg? Well, doing so is easier than you ever imagined! All you need to do is develop a website and design it in such a way that visitors, preferably your prospective clients, will start flowing in and buying your products.

The best thing is that in the modern world, many clients prefer to make purchases on online platforms. That said, you should be ready to pay a price for the best web design services in Kenya. Otherwise, you will join millions of people who have tried online businesses and failed.

What tips should small business owners follow when developing a website? Here are the most important tips:

1. Create a polished and professional logo

A well-designed logo speaks volumes to your prospective clients in the sense that they are able to identify with your brand. It will particularly be beneficial if the logo is placed prominently on the site. Use of a high-resolution image for the logo is equally important.

It is wise to link the logo to the homepage so that visitors will navigate to it without hiccups. A professional logo tells your potential clients the quality of services or products to expect from you. Consider hiring top web developers to design a new logo for your business website.

2. Optimize the homepage

Most of your visitors are likely to land on your homepage depending on your marketing strategies. What elements have you included on your homepage? Is it easy to navigate to other pages from the homepage? Is the experience seamless?

The homepage can include more sections than other pages on the site. However, you must pick the right elements or sections. The most important elements to include are an overview of your services or products, case studies, testimonials, and success stories. Other elements include useful resources, value proposition, an intro video, product features, and about us.

3. Do away with the clutter

It is easy to get caught up in uploading images, links and all sorts of information related to your brand. Even so, you may not be aware that you may be confronting the brains of your clients with too much information that they cannot process it well. The result will be confusion and a failure to focus on what is important in your website.

Hence, you must get rid of all the graphics, photographs, or any other content you deem unnecessary. Be sure to limit your links and options in the header and footer so that the client can focus on what is necessary. You must also create space between images and paragraphs to control user flow.

Hiring reliable web design services in Kenya becomes critical if you cannot identify the clutter on your site. Top developers will clear the clutter and include fresh content that keeps visitors scrolling.

4. Choose your fonts and colors wisely

When choosing your fonts, you must always have in mind the fact that users will access your website using different devices. Thus, whereas fonts may look sizable on a laptop, they may not scale well on mobile devices, which then makes them lose the desirable look. At the same time, ensure that colors are utilized strategically on the site.

Neutral colors are ideal if you want to create an elegant and clean impression. Remember that your colors must complement your logo and any other color used to create the fonts. In the end, your visitors will not only be able to focus on the most important content on your website, but they will also visit it regularly.

5. Review Navigation

You want your visitors to stay on your website as long as possible and order for products. You cannot achieve the same with a confusing website. Make it so easy for visitors to find what they are looking for on your site. A few seconds should be enough to find an item or information if you get navigation right.

Some of the factors to consider when designing your navigation bar include a responsive design and streamlined content. Part of the reason why you need to hire web design services in Kenya is to give users the best experience. The experience should not change drastically when a user switches to a mobile phone.

6. Optimize call-to-action buttons

Getting traffic to your website is one thing but transforming the traffic into sales is a different ball game. After reading about your products or services, what should the visitors do? Does your site give any direction or prompt visitors to take action?

Do not sit and wait for calls or emails without call-to-action buttons on your site. Include them in such a way that they are visible but not disruptive. Try to include most of the call-to-action buttons at the top and middle of the funnel. Otherwise, you will spam your website with too many buttons at the bottom of the funnel.

One important tip when designing call-to-action buttons is to help your visitors solve a problem. For instance, lead them to materials that relieve their pain points. You can offer video tutorials, webinars, price lists, or offers to meet different needs.

7. Add social share buttons

You can generate new traffic to your website from your visitors. Prompt visitors to share your content on social media by including social share buttons. You can reach the same visitors if they follow or connect with you on social media. Hence, it should be easy to access all social media platforms directly from your website.

8. White space is acceptable

You do not need to fill all the space with text and images. Leaving some white space is okay because it helps you break a page. Extra space improves readability and overall outlook of your site. However, you must be careful to retain a professional design.

It may be difficult to add white space if every page is full of content. The reality is that some of the visuals and links on your site may be unnecessary. As you clear clutter, think of the white spaces you can create on each page. Another important tip is to group content and then use white space to separate different groups.

9. Mobile optimization

We mentioned this briefly when discussing navigation and clutter. Most people prefer to access the internet on their mobile phones, which means that they will view your site on their smartphones. Hence, you must optimize your business website for mobile.

Before saving or publishing any changes on your website, check its outlook on a mobile phone. Most content creators will give you a mobile preview of your website. If you created a site without this tip in mind, it may be time to search for web design services in Kenya

10. Search Engine Optimization

You now have a responsive website with a professional design. Your visitors can easily navigate the pages and find whatever product or information they need. The next big question to ask is, will your target clients find the website on search engines?

A clear search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is important to help internet users find your website easily. The basic goal of SEO is to ensure that your website appears among the top search results for specific search terms or phrases. Luckily, you have multiple tools online to help you optimize your website.

The right approach to web development and design will usher you into a world of success and growth in your small business. If you still have queries on how to develop your site successfully, you may want to seek for the help of top designers in Kenya. Professional advice is particularly important if you lack basic web design skills.

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COVID-19 Crisis: Pros and Cons of Remote Working for Business

Remote working is not a new term for employers. The current health crisis has just pushed the discussion further on having a remote workforce

A few months ago, allowing employees to work from home was optional for businesses.

The COVID-19 crisis has forced employers to consider remote working to remain in business.

The changes are so sudden that many employers are still struggling with the required adjustments.

Is it a good or bad thing to allow employees to work from home? Should business owners consider the same after the crisis is over?

Pros

1. Increased productivity

One of the highlights of the discussions on remote working is that employees encounter distractions at home.

However, most remote workers understand the demands of working from home. Employees know the changes necessary in their environment to work effectively.

In fact, the office environment sometimes offers more distractions including unplanned meetings, movements, and announcements.

While working remotely, employees can choose the most productive hours in their day when they can work with minimal distractions.

The result is higher productivity, which is good for business.

2. Longer working hours

Tied to higher productivity is additional working hours that many employers hope for from their employees.

Workers spend hours on the road due to heavy traffic during rush hours. Unfortunately, most of them cannot escape the daily nightmare on the roads.

Remote working minimizes movements. Most employees turn the extra time into working hours even without realizing.

For mobile app developers, extra working hours are always welcome.

3. Reduced costs

Hiring a new employee means setting up a fully equipped workstation that probably did not exist.

The business covers the cost of setting up and maintaining the workstation. Sometimes labour costs are higher than revenues from some employees.

In times that an economic downturn is expected, maintaining the office setup is not only expensive but also risky.

Bear in mind that transactions have declined across all sectors. Business owners are staring at declining revenues without an end in sight.

Remote working is an advantage for businesses because employees meet most of the costs.

All businesses have to deal with now is paying salaries and ensuring that employees remain connected in terms of communication lines and the internet.

4. Scalability

Let us face reality. It will take some time before everything falls back to normal. In fact, we must brace ourselves for a new normal.

The advantage of remote working is that it is easy to scale the workforce.

Employers can reduce or increase the workforce depending on the situation at hand.

An alternative is to change the nature of engagement while considering the welfare of employees such as reducing the number of working hours.

Employers can then adjust working hours or even hire new employees when revenues begin to increase.

Remote workers have the option of working more than one job. Hence, they are less likely to leave or terminate their contracts because of such changes in working hours or salaries in a recession.

5. Access to expert skills and talent

Remote working opens a business to a global tank of skills and talent in all fields. A business can hire anyone from any location or country with the necessary skills.

Such talent is inaccessible for a physical office setup. A firm can choose to hire experts for a specific task or period.

A large pool of talent also means that employers can negotiate for the best deal.

Highly skilled employees demand high salaries and benefits that businesses can hardly keep up with when in a crisis.

The global market also provides talent that is unavailable or limited in the local job market.

Also Read: How to Work Remotely Effectively During the Coronavirus Crisis

6. Fewer absenteeism cases

Employees get tired of the daily routine of commuting to and from work. Some of the reasons for absences from work are poor.

Luckily, with remote working, employers have fewer requests for off days to deal with within a month.

Remote workers have more control of their work engagement. Hence, they can easily take some hours off where necessary and resume without disrupting the workflow.

Sometimes all a worker needs is a few hours of rest and not a full day off.

7. Flexibility

Remote workers have flexible working hours. The level of flexibility here depends on the nature of the job.

For instance, for mobile app developers like Muva, collaboration is essential throughout the day.

Even with such jobs, employees still have a flexible schedule. Virtual teams can choose the most convenient times to collaborate or hold meetings.

The basic assumption is that remote workers are always working from home. Well, in times of a crisis like the COVID-19 crisis, that is expected.

In normal situations, employees can move from the home office to any other location like a quiet library to work.

The result of such flexible is improved employee satisfaction, which in turn leads to reduced turnover.

A business achieves all this while saving costs, which is good for any company even after the COVID-19 crisis.

Cons

1. Poor relationships and collaboration

Even with the best of technologies, virtual teams lose some aspects of healthy relationships.

In fact, remote workers are at a high risk of social isolation. Think about demanding jobs like software development that require hours of concentration.

Programmers may spend days indoors until a project is complete.

Poor internet connectivity might also interfere with collaboration among team members and with their leaders.

Employers must consider such challenges and advice their employees on steps to take when collaboration issues arise.

Remote workers need constant reminders to balance their work with social events and outdoor activities.

2. Cybersecurity issues

Data security is a major concern for employers, especially when employees are abruptly sent to work from home.

Employers have little control over the internet providers that workers choose.

Public unsecured networks are a major threat to a company’s data security. Hence, the preparation period for remote employees must include data security.

Employees need the training to differentiate between secure and insecure networks.

The training should also include steps to take in case employees suspect a security breach.

Simple lessons like creating strong passwords and keeping them a secret are equally important.

3. Lack of trust

Some business owners have a hard time trusting remote workers.

Although, the employees may participate in online discussions and video conferences, it is hard to verify their commitment to work.

The problem may not arise with employees that just transitioned from the office setup to remote working.

However, hiring new remote employees comes with trust issues. It takes a while before employers can trust them with some details about their business.

Remote workers must work hard enough to eliminate such issues. An easier way is to have occasional physical meetings with remote workers where possible.

Nevertheless, running a business involves taking risks and hiring remote workers is one of them.

Conclusion

Remote working has various benefits for businesses as outlined in this article. However, the concept works differently depending on the type of business. Some firms must maintain a physical office or production unit. If your business allows, a shift to remote working might be the best thing you can do to survive the COVID-19 crisis.

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My First Day of Working Remotely Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic

My name is Faheem, a developer at Muva Technologies.

The Kenyan government issued a directive that from Monday 16th March 2020 learning institutions should be closed. The government also urged companies to allow employees to work from home where possible among other precautionary steps against the spread of COVID-19.

Working remotely has been a huge topic of interest since the advent of the internet and now more than ever remote working has to be called into play. It seems that we have all the facilities for it, that is, internet at home, laptops rather than workstations, Skype, Slack, and team viewer. This should have been a breeze.

NO, I did not take into consideration some factors. For instance, I do not have an actual worktable. I have to use the dining table with a quite uncomfortable chair, which did not seem bad at first.

As a developer, I need to be online for a good part of the day granted not a 9-5 work schedule but deadlines pre-Covid-19 had been set.

The kids are home and who does not love kids? My 3-year-old nephew loves my back-lit laptop keyboard.  My day 1 of quarantine was spent teaching him how to switch the lights off and on. This was fun for the first 2 minutes but we soon wanted to watch kids TV.

Our favourite song baby shark just happened to be recommended when searching for nursery rhymes.  So, like a good uncle, we watched it over and over and over.

 Eventually, I did get most of my work done but the efficiency was lacking.

The upside was that Muva Technologies gave me a few tips that have proved quite helpful.

 1. Communication is key:

The first thing I got was a good communication channel. At Muva, we use slack for internal communication.

All staff members gave their contact information on the Company’s slack channel. The details required include our names, phone number, email, Skype ID and the projects we were working on.

This proved essential, as I was able to communicate with my project team.

The morning started with checking into virtual work by a simple good morning message followed by the objectives for the day in the following format

– what I did yesterday

 -what I will be doing today

 -prevailing challenges

 This was simple and effective in letting the team know what they should do and what will be achieved by the close of day.

 2. Priorities

The reason for working from home was to prioritize our health. According to our leaders, the company must prioritize its employees’ health at all costs.

Nonetheless, as said earlier, deadlines were set and we have to meet them. As much as the client would understand the pandemic at hand, we must deliver as promised.

To us, this meant to get as much work done as early as possible and the push your code online or as our leader quoted, “Eat the frog first thing in the morning “– Thomas Oppong

 3. Flow

Try to stay focused for a good period of time. There are many distractions at home but once you get into the rhythm of getting your work done, stick to it for as long as possible.

A good tip would be to use the tomato timer , that is, doing 20 minutes of work and taking a 5-minute interval, though this timing varies from person to person.

4. Teamwork

This is tied to communication with an addition that as much as you need your team, your team needs you. Use all the tools provided to keep tabs on your work-mates not only for the work-related aspect but also keeping tabs during this period.

As for the meetings with clients, Skype and Zoom are both reliable software as we are urged not to come into physical contact.

Where possible, avoid meeting the clients with the whole team. Pick a representative and advise the client to do the same.

5. Stay safe

Maintain personal hygiene and I cannot stress this enough, WASH YOUR HANDS.

Secondly, avoid getting information from memes and conspiracy theorists; stay updated with data from relevant sources like the World Health Organization (WHO)

We will continue blogging and providing relevant information on remote working and our personal experiences throughout.

God Bless

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Taming Digital Lenders in Kenya: Are We Close?

Dr Patrick Njoroge, CBK Governor Photo|The Standard

As app developers in Kenya, we do not just create loans apps. We care about the experience and welfare of the users. Like many Kenyans, we are concerned about the rates the digital lenders charge.

Kenyans have been complaining about instant loan apps for quite a while. However, a suicide case in 2019 caused a stir.

A man borrowed from a digital lender and defaulted on his loan. The lender resulted in what many have termed as “harassment.”

We told you how lenders ask for access to private data such as contacts or phone gallery. Here is the purpose. The lenders will contact everyone on your phonebook if they cannot recover funds from you.

Such was the predicament of this man who resulted in suicide. The lender started sending messages to his contacts, including his mother and grandmother.

What would you do if all your friends and family members start receiving messages about a loan you cannot pay?

Some have termed this as cyber shaming. The suicide provoked CBK to move to action.

Borrowers, on the other hand, started sharing their horrific stories of the means that digital lenders use to demand their loans.

The digital lenders’ side of the story

Every time Kenyans talk about interest rates on mobile loans, the digital lenders come out to defend their case.

Is this a case of misinformation? Do borrowers know how the process works?

In a recent interview on Citizen TV, the Digital Lenders’ Association spokesman, Kevin Mutiso explained how they end up with high interest rates.

Some will call it exorbitant but the lenders call it fair pricing.

Digital lenders in Kenya access funds from banks and other financiers. At the moment, the lenders in the Kenyan market cannot get funds from local banks.

The result has been borrowing money from venture capitalists from the US, China, Poland, and other countries.   

The lenders talk of a high cost of borrowing the funds. The capitalists charge between 18% and 22 % as an interest rate.

Think about it. Who pays for this interest rate? You! And every other Kenyan looking for a thousand or two from a loan app.

Remember we have not yet factored in other costs like developing a loan app, operational costs, taxes, and fixed costs. The lenders still have to make reasonable profits to stay in business above all costs.

When they add their price to the cost of borrowing, the instant loan becomes expensive.

Also Read: 10 Ways to Identify Fake Loan Apps in Kenya

Digital lenders also talk about the high risk of the business. With millions of Kenyans listed on CRB as defaulters, the lenders understand the risk in the market.

Loan apps lend to people that local banks will instantly turn away. When you hear or read that you can get a loan with a poor credit score, understand that you will pay a premium for that risk.

Again, not all digital lenders are predatory. Some are committed to helping small business owners grow their businesses.

Small business owners like mama mboga cannot wait for 30 to 45 days of a business cycle to buy new goods. They must go to the market almost every day to keep the business running.

Loan apps came in to cover this market segment.

Should the government regulate the market?

It is easy to shout and demand that the government steps in to regulate digital lenders. Borrowers would expect that interest rates would come down.

Digital lenders are open to government regulation. CBK can protect both lenders and borrowers by setting standards to govern their operations.

For instance, digital lenders should be required to be transparent about the price of their loan products. Honesty and ethical procedures in collecting funds from borrowers are equally important.

However, capping the interest rates would harm the market, as it is with any other market.

A loan is a commodity that is subject to demand and supply forces. At least the digital lenders view it that way.

From your basic economics class, you know that the price of any commodity goes up whenever the demand exceeds supply.

Unfortunately, this is the case in the Kenyan market for instant mobile loans.

We have a good example from the Kenyan government’s move to cap interest rates for local banks. The bank owners, in response, introduced digital lending platforms that operate as other private loan apps.

The interest rates are nearly the same. However, most local banks are ethical in their practices and are strict about controlling the risk of lending to defaulters.

The financial crisis of 2008-2009 is another perfect example of the long-term effects of government interference in a market.

The way forward

We clearly need order in the digital lending space.  The government through CBK should create rules and regulation for digital lenders in Kenya.

Whether we call it cyber shaming or harassment, dealing with defaulters must be ethical and fair. We do not need to lose another life because of a small loan.

While talking about lenders, we need to look at the real issues as Kenyans. What is pushing Kenyans to digital lenders?

Why are we willing to trade our private data for a loan of Ksh. 1,000?

Most people do not borrow for luxury but for basic needs. Unfortunately, the needs are recurrent and with no sustainable income, the inevitable happens.

Kenyans are desperate for an economic shift that will increase their real income to match the ever-increasing rate of inflation.

The income of the borrowers that loan apps target does not match with the cost of living, especially in the urban setting.

Hence, beyond asking the government for regulation, we need to demand systems and institutions that work for the citizens. Corruption is still a sad case in Kenya where people borrow to eat.

When the government fails to do its job well, the citizens suffer.

Finally, we need to make equal noise about savings as we do digital loans.

As app developers in Kenya, we have heard all manner of arguments and complaints about instant apps yet the demand for the same is still increasing.

However, noise about apps or platforms that help you save consistently is rare.

We need to cultivate the saving culture while we demand ethical and fair practices from lenders and accountability from the government.

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9 Things to Prepare Before Requesting For a Quote from Mobile App Developers in Kenya

App developers receive bulk messages and emails every day with requests for quotes. When you read about a company that offers great app design services, the next question that comes to mind is the cost. Should you request for a quote immediately and then think of its functionality later? Our advice, prepare a list with the following 9 items before contacting mobile app developers in Kenya. You can negotiate a good deal when you know what will work for your business

1. Overall goal or objective

Why do need an app for your business? Are you simply keeping up with the latest trend or have a specific goal you intend to achieve? Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals applies to mobile app development. For instance, do you want to create a social network for your clients?

Competent app designers in Kenya will ask you for the overall goal or objective. Setting clear goals will help you prepare the other items on this list. In addition, you will compare your results after launching the app with your goals to measure its effectiveness. 

2. Core features

What should the app do? Every app developer will expect a straight answer to this question. Well, a good app should help users accomplish most of the tasks that relate to your core business. For instance, they can chat with your support team, order for products, access your business website, and rate your services among other functions. If you need a utility app or an innovative solution, the final product should have all the basic features for that function.

Do not give vague answers about the functionality. Otherwise, you will get a generic app with basic features. If you need an effective communication channel, define the communication features or functionalities needed. What kind of content can users share with the app?

3. Preferred platform

What mobile platform are you targeting with the app? Will it run on Android or iOS? The development process varies with the target platform. You may need to conduct a bit of research to determine the platform that your clients use.

If your target market is in Kenya, check survey results of the most popular platforms in the country. You can pick the leading platform for your app to reach the majority of your target users and then develop for other platforms after the launch.

4. Online and offline functionality

One downside of mobile apps is that they consume large amounts of mobile data. The target users will not always be online. Can the user access some functions while offline? The best mobile app developers in Kenya will advise you to build an app that is functional offline.

The app can notify the user when the internet connection is interrupted or when trying to reconnect. Users can also queue tasks that the app will automatically complete when the device is reconnected to the internet

5. Integration

Integrating the app with your website or internal system should not come as an afterthought. While comparing different developers, prioritize those that offer reliable integration services as well. Integration goes beyond other platforms such as your website or bulk SMS services. Muva Technologies offers payments integration in Kenya including Mpesa and Paypal integration. The advantage of integrating your app from the start is that users can complete a transaction or process directly from the app.

6. Timeline

When do you want to launch the app? Developers queue tasks based on their urgency. If you want the app completed as fast as possible, you may be required to pay more. You may be looking for the best deal but you do not want to wait in line forever. If the mobile apps development company in Kenya has enough internal developers, your app will be complete within your given deadline.

Communicate your expectations with the developer in terms of when you will review the app. The app should be completed before the launch date so that you can review and recommend any changes. The developer will need time to fix any issues with its functionality or add missing features.

7. Budget

How much do you want to spend on the app? You may want an app with multiple features and within a short period but your budget is limited. The items on this list will help any developer estimate the cost of building your app. App developers work around your budget to build the best app possible.

Do not be discouraged if the developer proposes that you eliminate some functions because of cost constraints. Remember that you can redesign and improve the functionality of the app after launching. Our recommendation is that you develop version 1 of the app with all major functions and a version 2 with additional features in the future.

8. Personal design

Mobile app developers in Kenya prefer to build apps and websites from scratch. However, if your budget is tight, you can develop a design internally and give it to the developer. You may get a reduced budget if the right tools are used to create the design. This works for companies with internal developers with basic app development skills. Feel free to ask if the developer can improve your current design and give you a better look.

One caution when using this approach is to avoid insisting on a design that does not work for the developer. While you have the final say on your app, your preferred design may be outdated. Choose trusted developers who are interested in the success of your business and not just the paycheck.

9. Required services after launching

You can easily agree on all services and processes that lead to a functional app. What do you do after the developer hands over the app to your team? Will you need further support or services? How will you update the content and features?

Most clients focus on getting a good app and ignore the processes after launching the app. You will need the help of the developer in the future to integrate new services or features as new mobile app trends emerge. In addition, effective marketing strategies are required after the launch to inform your target users about the new app. App developers may not be part of your marketing team but can offer a useful guide on how to launch and market the app after development.

It is okay to approach a developer with a basic idea of the app you need if you have little information on how mobile apps work. At Muva, you will get a list of questions with these and other factors that contribute to the cost estimate. However, developing your own list beforehand saves time and boosts your confidence when negotiating with different developers.

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