Earlier this week Google South Africa announced that it plans to shut down its free website builder service, Woza Online. Cape Town-based service Vigo hopes to pick up where Woza Online leaves off by offering small- and medium-sized businesses the ability to build interactive, responsive and search engine-optimised websites using a laptop or mobile device.
More than 2 000 websites were created using the Vigo platform in the year after launch and the company is offering to port existing Woza Online websites to its platform for free. Carl Wallace, founding CEO of Vigo, says the company has a dedicated team to help Woza Online users “transition from their current Woza websites to their brand new VIGO websites”.
Vigo offers users an unlimited number of pages on websites created with the service, 1GB of storage, a custom domain name, unlimited bandwidth and support. The company also offers a service for those wanting customised websites for R149/month.
“Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of Vigo is that users only have to create their website once, yet it will continue to stay relevant,” Wallace adds. “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.”
Google launched Woza Online in the first quarter of 2012 in partnership with the department of trade and industry, the Human Resources Development Council and mobile operator Vodacom in an effort to get more South African small businesses online. An estimated 40 000 websites have been created using the service.
Woza Online will officially be shut down on 28 February 2015, according to Google South Africa, and website owners have been given 80 days notice. Google has says the service will be replaced with Google My Business, a listing service for local businesses. Any business that bought a custom domain from Vodacom will be able to keep it and will be able to get support for it from Vodacom.