by Nubi Kayode

These are my top 10 websites for 2012, and they have been selected for different reasons, from design to content, from platform to rise. I also added two extras that should be on everyone’s radar especially for 2013. Enjoy!

LindaIkeji – Like it or not, this website has to be on any Top 10 compilation – well under the blog, news, gossip, entertainment category. Linda has done a good job in 2012 to keep the content flowing – from photos, to videos, and from the occasional one liner to the full fledged articles. The website did get global recognition along the way with features and mentions from the BBC and CNN online. No doubt this website will be very much around come 2013 – as we’d always want our daily dose of brief entertainment news and gossip and no one dishes it better than Linda Ikeji.

 

Bella Naija – This is the closest we’d get to E! Online. When you think Naija’s upper east side events, fashion, and music, Bella Naija comes top of the list. Perhaps the most expensive website to place an ad for 2012, the site is looking to launch verticals like business, and style and alternative content like videos – looking for how this would be sustained in 2013. What’s the difference between Bella Naija and Linda Ikeji? Let’s just say there is a better level of moderation, and presentation of content from both ends – i.e. the content creator, and readers. #GoFigure

 

Jumia – Kasuwa, and Sabunta came and then formed Voltron to birth Jumia, whether you agree or not, you must have seen a Jumia Ad if you surfed the internet on a PC in 2012. Yes, you must have seen it! Definitely shows how much the site was heavily advertised on Google AdChoices – and this in turn guaranteed visits as reflected on the website’s Alexa ranking – 20th most visited Nigerian website in 3 months.

Before I forget, Jumia.com.ng is an online retail website where you can order gadgets, books, clothes, and have it delivered to you nationwide.

 

Nairaland – There is only one forum that can brag of nationwide reach, and that is Seun Osewa’s nairaland. The forum boasts of 403,248 PC impressions and 436,911 mobile impressions on a daily basis. The forum ranks #8 in Nigeria, and is a go to place for people to discuss hot and trending issues in any sphere – politics, business (especially the banking sector), jobs, education, religion, and the state of the nation as a whole. I’d implore you to check out a thread in the politics category to see why this made my Top 10. Users often have nicknames on the platform, and do climb up the social ladder to have clout and influence.

 

VConnect – ‘You go connect, I go connect, She go connect, We go connect’. That’s from the popular YouTube ad featuring DJ Tee and OJB Jezreel. VConnect did not take too long to break into the Top 10 most visited local sites in Nigeria, and seem to be the go to place to find anything. Yes, it’s a listing site for businesses, and places in general. Other value added services like target marketing via email and SMS is also provided, as well as social media management due to its large accumulation of big data.

 

Naij – This website took local content aggregation to a while new level for 2012. Boom out of nowhere it has built a readership and social media community of hundreds of thousand. It also found its way the top 20 most visited local sites in Nigeria. If you’re looking for presentation and good looks, you may not find it on Naij as design doesn’t seem to be on the table – but it churns out aggregated content by the minute, plus it’s photo of the day seem to be doing the site good. People want a go-to place for all things local content, and Naij is just filling up that gap.

 

GTBank – Take it or leave it, GTBank is still the most innovative bank in Nigeria – especially for 2012, and with Social banking on its plate for 2013, I only see UBA, and StanbicIBTC coming any close. The bank unveiled its new website and one must applaud the effort, although it sucks on mobile, i.e. responsiveness. However to have a bank’s website to even be one of the most visited sites in Nigeria is just remarkable. With almost 900,000 Facebook fans, it’s not too far-fetched that the bank understands and is always looking for how next to leverage on web technologies.

 

Vanguard – For so many years, no other news site has come close to Vanguard, and for a while, it has been pushing the standard of serving its news on the web, especially with the mobile web version. I had the chance to take a small survey on what sites administrative staffs at the University of Lagos visit on a daily basis, and was shocked to see Vanguagrd appeared on most of the responses.

Visiting the sites, shows how simple design – fonts, colors, and images, contribute to a good user experience.

 

DealDey – This is a 2012 favourite, and will be very much around for 2013. We love deals and DealDey has found a very creative and good way to keep users coming to check out what’s on sale on a daily basis. With screen popping photos, count down clocks, and amplified savings, users have no reason not to get a deal. Social integration like Facebook comments also widens the ripple of every single deal posted. Others have tried, not to mention names, but it seems like DealDey has gotten and kept safe the secret formula, especially since it has gone from serving Lagos to western states, and now the country as a whole, all in 2012.

 

 

iROKING – Perhaps this should be iROKOTV – the home video on web service, but iROKING – the music streaming service and online store, seem to be doing very well. The website saw two iterations of redesign in 2012, and it was for the better. User Interface and in turn user experience is good, and it’s also responsive, so users can access the service from the mobile phone via web browsers, and still maintain the quality of experience. One may argue, it’s not totally a ‘Nigerian site’ per say, but I got to give it to them, one can afford to do anything less, especially going forward in 2013.

 

Extras

Eskimi – This is the Facebook for mobile, especially in Africa. The mobile website just crossed 10 millions users globally, half of which come from Nigeria. So imagine 5 million Nigerians on one mobile group. Crazy! The website allows people meet friends, share photos, and take part in activities to earn Eskimi coins to be used to make in-app purchase, unlock stuff, and brag too.

 

YouTube For Nigeria – I’d just share some data for this one. For 2012, YouTube was the #1 video site in Nigeria. #2 largest search engine. 72 hours of video uploaded every minute. 4Billion hours watched every month, 500 years of YouTube watched via Facebook everyday. That’s not all. There are 360,000 daily impressions and 70 per cent access YouTube via mobile. #CaseClosed.

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Nubi Kayode is a self acclaimed social media Maven, artistic entrepreneur, and expressive guitarist, perhaps all evident in his ventures at OTEKBITS.com, LazyAppetite.com, and KulGyst.com