Having an online presence is a sure way to project your personal initiative or business to the world, be it nationally or internationally and at the core of this is a website that does the job of projecting the best of you online. Your website needs an address or a name if you like, hence the need for a domain.
In having a website, however, one is left with the choice of either going for a foreign domain registry such as the .com, .org, etc., or the local .NG domain.
When I say ‘local’, I do not mean it in the derogatory sense rather, I mean it in the sense that it is a proudly Nigerian brand available in Nigeria and also of international value.
Nigeria as a nation is blessed with a unique domain string known as .NG which is her Country Code Top Level Domain and we should be proud of this national asset.
In a 2013 joint survey conducted by SMEDAN and the National Bureau of Statistics, it was found that there were about 37 million Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Nigeria.
You can imagine how cool it will be if a sizable percentage of these MSME’s actually patronise the .NG domain for the development of their website with the national identity that comes with it.
For Nigerians to fully embrace the use of the .NG domain name for their website, they need to know the benefits that can be derived from the domain name. Some of these benefits are highlighted in this piece.
The first benefit accruing to businesses that register the .NG domain name in Nigeria is that the .NG domains are ranked first on the search engines during a search online. This means that, using it and maintaining good SEO for your website will, over time, lead to an increase in local traffic.
Why do you think that Google would rather serve you results using google.com.ng when you search for stuff within Nigeria and if you travel to, say, Ghana, and use the same device, it will go ahead and serve you results via google.com.gh? What is even interesting is that, in the case of Nigeria, Google has both .com.ng as well as .ng, an example of a forward looking company.
Secondly, registering .NG domain gives those that do business with you an air of confidence and trust in doing business with you. This is because the .NG domain is managed by the Nigeria Internet Registration Association, NiRA, which is a Nigerian outfit where clients can lodge complaints in case they have issues with your website.
A third benefit is that the .NG domain is affordable and payments are made in Naira as against trying to source for forex for registering a foreign domain. On the aggregate, this will go on to save businesses and the country huge resources in hard foreign exchange.
A fourth benefit is speed. I will not be too technical but, each time you visit any website with a foreign string, there is usually a delay that occurs because of the calls that have to be made before the web page opens. If you, however, use the .NG string and also host your website locally, then, it helps to improve speed which is now a major ranking factor.
On my part, I am making conscious and deliberate efforts to walk the talk by flaunting the Nigerian brand online.
In my interactions and networking, I notice that folks from other parts of the world use their own local domain with pride. South African businesses are so proud to use their country’s domain, .Co.Za domain and in the UK, you find the .Co.Uk domain prevalent. The reverse is the case in Nigeria and this is why I am passionately preaching that we should imbibe the culture of patronising our own .NG domain brand in Nigeria.
Statistics show that Nigeria has just about 100,000 domains in the .NG registry compared to South Africa that has over one million domains in the .Co.Za registry. Does this not look like we are yet to start, especially, when you compare both countries’ population?
According to worldometers.info, Nigeria currently has an estimated population of 190 million people compared to that of South Africa which is currently estimated to be about 55 million. The big question is, what is South Africa doing to achieve this feat that we are not doing in Nigeria?
I must commend Nigeria Internet Registration Association for the outstanding job it has done so far since its inception. I, hereby, call for more advocacy and education that will get more Nigerians to appreciate what is ours and also get government to lead the way and let others follow.
Many government ministries and agencies are already on the .NG registry but if you ask me I believe it should be total compliance and nothing less. As long as it is related to any tier of government, it should be .NG.
The domain name is a multi-billion dollar industry and Africa is yet to get started in the game, but the opportunities are immense, especially if we start doing the right things now as a continent.
Finally, we must support our own. Can you imagine what will happen, if only five per cent of the estimated 190 million Nigerians decide to own domains that are built with the Nigerian ccTLD?
That would be around eight million domain names that serve as a foundation for businesses, ventures and causes. Would this not further strengthen the Nigerian brand, dignify her on the Internet and also protect her dwindling foreign reserves?