SA startup looks to provide relief to those affected by Woza shutdown



The shutdown of Woza, Google’s free website service, earlier this week was big news. Understandably so too: the service, which launched in early 2012 was designed to give businesses “the opportunity to create their own websites… and develop an online presence — for free, and in under an hour”. And, in that time, it was reportedly used to create around 40 000 websites. Now a South African startup is looking to fill the void it’s left behind.

VIGO, a Cape Town-based online website creation platform, claims that it allows SMEs to build interactive, responsive and search-engine optimised websites in minutes from any device.

While the platform, which hosted over 2 000 websites in its debut year and is one of Microsoft’s BizSpark and Biz4Afrika flagship tech start-ups, hasn’t created a straightforward route for any businesses looking to move to the platform, it does say the process is relatively easy.

“SMEs who were with Woza Online can easily switch to VIGO with no hassles or expensive designer fees,” says Carl Wallace, Founding CEO of VIGO. “VIGO’s dedicated team will assist them in the seamless transition from their current Woza websites to their brand new VIGO websites. The added benefits of moving to VIGO are brand new, fresh and modern designs, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tools and the social media integration that SMEs need to successfully market their products and services online.”

VIGO’s service offering includes:

  • Unlimited Pages
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 1GB storage
  • Custom domain name
  • Social media integration
  • Support
  • Website hosting
  • Email hosting
  • A dedicated team of designers and developers, who can build customised websites on behalf of the user for a minimal fee of R149 per month
  • Access to an online library of e-books, including books on SEO, Online Marketing and Blogging

“Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of VIGO,” Wallace adds, “is that users only have to create their website once, yet it will continue to stay relevant. We’ve built our technology to ensure it’s always updated with the latest design and development trends. As a result, websites will continue to look, respond and perform beautifully across any new device or platform that comes out.”

If the platform does manage to attract mass migration from Woza, it’ll be interesting to see whether it suffers from some of the same issues around people creating fraudulent sites as Woza did.



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