TL; DR: Sensing that Nigeria’s demand for websites was primed for rapid growth, Toba Obaniyi, CEO of WhoGoHost, established one of the most powerful web hosting companies in the West African country. WhoGoHost meets the needs of Nigerian businesses in a way that international providers can’t, offering drop-in service for Lagos residents, a variety of ways to pay, and communication in native languages. And WhoGoHost is poised to extend its services to other African nations that could benefit from local hosting.
With 98.3 million internet users, Nigeria outpaces every other country in Africa in the number of people who access the internet. And as more of its residents go digital, local businesses have become more willing to explore eCommerce.
Nigerian businesses have increasingly moved online to support their interests and grow their customer base. From 2014 to 2017, the number of Nigerian domain registrations climbed from 120,000 to 250,000. In 2019, that growth is expected to double.
“More people realize the importance of getting their businesses online, and they’re recognizing the value of the internet and looking for tools,” says Toba Obaniyi, CEO of WhoGoHost.
One sector that stands to benefit from this growth is Nigeria’s web hosting industry. Because the country is among the world’s top 10 in number of internet users, more companies have been inspired to seek reliable, local solutions.
And WhoGoHost is looking to increase the number of businesses that house their data within Nigeria. Nearly 11 years ago, the host began as one of the only local players in the market, initially hosting the websites of a handful of small businesses.
But WhoGoHost provided services that outside hosting companies cannot match. Because it was working regionally, the company was attuned to the challenges that local businesses faced — as well as their needs.
That dedication to local service paid off. Today, WhoGoHost supports more than 40,000 small- and midsize-business websites.
Now that the market is poised to grow, WhoGoHost is confident that its ability to compete with large international hosts will make it an attractive option for Nigerian companies — as well as those from other African nations.
“Our growth will be related to this boom,” Toba said.
WhoGoHost Meets the Unique Needs of Businesses in Nigeria
WhoGoHost offers localized service that Nigerian businesses won’t find outside of the country. Larger hosting companies typically don’t provide a high level of individualized service because they’re not built to serve local business like WhoGoHost is.
For example, WhoGoHost understands that some of its customers aren’t tech-savvy and need extra support. In addition, Nigerian web users may not be as experienced as their Western counterparts, to whom many international hosting firms cater their service.
WhoGoHost offers customer service in Nigerian languages for more tailored support because it doesn’t expect clients to speak the universal language of IT — English.
“They want to contact someone who can understand them and help them with their issues. Some users have different support needs than users in America and Europe,” Toba said.
To meet those needs, WhoGoHost offers its customers many communication channels. Some may prefer to call the support center while others use the chat app available on the company’s website.
And WhoGoHost recognized that not every client could navigate to its web chat feature to share their concerns. So employees at the company found a more accessible platform through which to interact with users — WhatsApp.
“If our customers are already on WhatsApp, why not start engaging with them on the platform?” Toba said.
Even more unusual in the hosting field is WhoGoHost’s walk-in option for residents who live near the company’s headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria. Rather than paying international phone rates, WhoGoHost clients in Lagos can visit its offices for help with their issues.
“We provide options that our international competitors cannot offer,” Toba said.
Offering Internationally Competitive Service and Pricing on a Local Level
While WhoGoHost is an appealing local option, it still works hard to maintain relationships, delight its customers, and compete with hosts around the world. In many ways, the functionality of hosting — internationally or domestically — is mostly the same.
WhoGoHost provides the same features that many customers expect, including data migration and email hosting.
The differences are evident in customer service and pricing. In addition to specialized customer support, users pay a flat monthly fee, presented in a bill they can understand.
WhoGoHost gives customers plenty of payment options, too. They can pay in local or foreign currencies, including U.S. dollars. They can also use other digital payment methods like PayPal.
“Our focus is on providing businesses with the same kind of responsive hosting they can get from large international corporations while giving them the service that international providers cannot provide.” — Toba Obaniyi, CEO of WhoGoHost
These payment options reflect WhoGoHost’s commitment to solving the challenges Nigerian users face. Every customer support representative who works for the company must also be versed in the platform’s features. This way, the company can help clients with more useful information.
“We decided to give them what they needed,” Toba said.
Over its last decade in the market, the company has invested in solving the unique challenges of the local market. It offers a site builder, domain registration, email hosting, and affordable SSL certificates, putting its service offerings on the same footing as many international providers. But its main goal is to provide personalized customer service.
“Our focus is on providing businesses with the same kind of responsive hosting they can get from large international corporations while giving them the support that those providers can’t,” Toba said.
Expanding to Provide Holistic Hosting Services Across Africa
Nigerian businesses outsource the vast majority of their domain support to hosts outside of Africa. And many other African nations are in the same boat, and trying to balance their digital needs with their budgets often leads to their data being managed on a different continent.
WhoGoHost wants to support those other African domains, as well. Toba said that other nations share Nigeria’s challenges and can benefit from WhoGoHost’s services. Massive international providers may overlook the unique needs of businesses in other African nations — or lack responsive tech support.
“We want to expand to other African countries, as well, that have the same challenges that we do in Nigeria,” Toba said.
One of the ways that WhoGoHost continues to prove its worth is by offering services beyond hosting. The company provides an array of services to help users design, launch, and secure their websites.
The company also plans to offer more scalability potential for enterprises. While WhoGoHost focuses mainly on small to midsize businesses, it is expanding to include a range of services for larger organizations.
That forward-thinking outlook has contributed to WhoGoHost’s growth since its founding more than a decade ago.
“We keep asking ourselves, what can we add to help our customers? Our hope is that customers can get any web service they need from us,” Toba said.
WhoGoHost hasn’t just added features randomly; its innovations are customer-focused. The company is always tracking trends, monitoring upcoming changes in the marketplace, and creating new channels for its customers to share their needs and concerns.
“We get feedback about the kinds of things our clients want us to add, and then we ask ourselves, ‘What else do they need?’” Toba said.