Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Business Website (K2, #46)

Question of the Week 
I am starting a business and I need a website, so what are my options?
-- Sompel Tashi, Thimphu

Answer
Dear Sompel,

Your options depend on the type of business you have in mind. For a small, local business, a Facebook page often suffices. It is simple to create and maintain, totally free, and offers good exposure as most Internet users in Bhutan are active on Facebook. The page can include basic information such as opening hours and phone numbers as well as photos and events. By “Like”ing your page, users will get your updates on their news feed. Examples of local businesses using Facebook pages are Radio Valley, the Folk Heritage Restaurant, and Junction Bookstore. To start, go to facebook.com/pages and click “Learn more about Pages” or “create your own”. Once you have enough fans, visit facebook.com/username to claim your own ‘vanity’ Facebook address (such as facebook.com/TheMomoFactory).

If your business is facing customers outside Bhutan, or you need more than what Facebook has to offer, you will need a “real” website. There are some fantastic, free and secure services that will host as well as help you build and update your website. Examples are Google Sites (sites.google.com), Yola (yola.com), Wix (wix.com) and WordPress (WordPress.com). No IT degree is necessary to use these services, although it usually helps to sport some gusto and computer savviness. To compare the various offerings, visit goo.gl/1bwDk.

Tip of the Week

Apple’s newly announced iPhone 5 uses a nano-SIM card, which is smaller and thinner than the micro-SIM used by the iPhone 4, which in turn is smaller - but not thinner - than the full-size SIM sold by B-Mobile and TashiCell.

If you are fantasizing about using an iPhone 5 in Bhutan, wait until it is confirmed that a standard SIM can be cut down to fit the tiny iPhone 5 socket. 

There is also a possibility that our local mobile operators will procure nano-SIMs. For updates on using the iPhone 5 in Bhutan, check out my blog at ThimphuTech.com
If you are not comfortable with taking charge of your own website, or you just don't have the time or the will, you will need to hire the services of a web developer. Initial costs can be quite high, and as web sites need constant updating and patching, consider also a maintenance contract. Make sure you hire someone reliable; many businesses in Bhutan have had a disappointing to disastrous experience due to hiring unreliable web developers. It is therefore important to insist on recommendations, and make sure you talk to past clients.

Good luck with your new venture!

Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to boaz@thimphutech.com