I often have some small Madagascar-based tour operators asking for advice on how to “have their own website” without having to pay between 2 millions to 10 millions MGA
Well, I usually answer that you don’ t necessarily have to setup your own website if your goal is only to publish some institutional informations (your contacts, eventually an online version of the content of your brochure…)
I know, this doesn’ t answer the question raised by the head title of this post.So here we go.
Option 1: you insist on having your own website
You can go for a local provider who is leveraging Joomla’s open source content management system. They will design and setup the features you want for “free” but you’ ll pay an yearly fee of aroung 500 000 MGA for hosting purposes (domain name and web space)- this is still a fair deal compared to the 2 to 10 millions offer that some web agencies will charge you for almost the same features- in order not to be perceived as giving free (or sponsored) publicity to the provider, I’ d invite you to drop a note in the comments sections if you are interested to get in touch with this provider..
Option 2: you want to connect with potential customers
I’ d recommend you engage into well-established social networks/forums where your customers go for asking questions/recommendations. Tripadvisor has an active forum for exchanging about Madagascar. Best of all, creating an account and actively using it will only cost you your internet connection fee.
Option 3: you want to be recognized as an expert in your field, or you want to update
The more you show/talk about your field of expertise (for example: trekking in Madagascar), the more interested your targeted partners/customers will be. My recommendation will then be to open a blog on wordpress.com (remember how Google-friendly tags on wordpress.com are? Use this blog for posting news /photos/videos as well as generate interaction with your readers
Option 4: you want to attract some abroad-based partner that will direct customers to you
Consider connecting and spreading your network on LinkedIn.com. Have your former customers recommend you through the LinkedIn network- this will give more credibility to what you’ ll say in your profile. Creating an account on LinkedIn.com is free, however some premium accounts can be obtained via some charges. Once you have a good profile, go and network with other peers.