DURBAN - The 2019 Global Digital Report prepared by We Are Social and Hootsuite showed that 54% of the population are internet users. 

There are 31 million people in South Africa who are searching for products and services online and 29 million of them are active mobile internet users.

With numbers like that, digital transformation is critical for any small business that wishes to grow.

Stefano Maruzzi, vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at GoDaddy, offers these tips to get the digital transformation of your business started:

We believe the journey of digital transformation starts with creating your own online identity. This is creating a place of your own online, starting with a website and letting people know who you are, what you do and what you offer. Think of it as your mobile store front or your online business card.

Once you’ve created your website, you can start looking at using tools like social media, search engine optimisation, and email marketing to help reach new customers and stay in touch with existing ones.

A solid strategy is important, and it should include ways of showing your target audience what makes your brand and products unique.

It is important to remember that mobile continues to rise. More than 90% of internet users in South Africa are mobile. You should focus on improving site speed to optimise your website from the start for the mobile experience.

Simple design: this is an extension of creating mobile-first experiences, and it’s important that your website looks and works great on all screen sizes.

Feature “platforms”. This includes maps, payment solutions, food delivery services and shared rides.

Data safety: with data breaches occurring, protecting your new website and your customers’ data has become even more important for companies of all sizes. Whether or not a website has an SSL certificate can affect your search rankings, so you should ensure your site has the added SSL certificate protections.

Voice search and chat: two trends to be on the lookout for in the not-too-distant future are voice search and chat-bots. Currently, one out of every five internet searches come from voice queries. 

THE MERCURY