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Are Web Designers in Cyprus an endangered species?

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Out and about in Larnaca yesterday evening, I ended up having an interesting conversation with a local technical writer I know.

It would appear that during the past few months, web designers in Cyprus have faced increasing competition from their foreign counterparts looking to take advantage of the island’s continuing shortage of competent web developers, techies and copywriters.

An ever-growing number of overseas companies have set their sights on Aphrodite’s island and are touting their wares here in the hope of attracting large numbers of local clients.

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While web designers in Cyprus seem helpless, local businesses aren't

But alas, there seems to be a fly in the ointment, since the majority of Cypriot business owners would rather deal locally than take their chances with a faceless outsider based thousands of miles away.

Moreover, while there may be a shortage of competent web designers in Cyprus, there is also still a high level of uncertainty within the local business community about what exactly constitutes a ‘good’ web site, and just how it can benefit a ‘real world’ business, especially in a country where the proportion of Internet users using the web to search for local products and services is still very small.

Indeed, it is amazing how many Cypriot business owners only consider the Internet and web sites on a national scale, whilst seemingly ignoring their global potential. And though it is true that not many users outside the island are likely to look for ‘Plumbers in Larnaca’, Nicosia or any of the other towns in Cyprus, there are plenty of businesses in the Republic which could easily market their products on an international scale, or seek to attract foreign clients to the island.

Another major hindrance for foreign companies looking to attract potential clients away from existing web designers in Cyprus, is the fact that most people on the island much prefer to do business face to face, oftentimes over lunch or dinner. Being this way inclined, most Cypriots actively shy away from entering any kind of binding contract over the telephone, let alone by email.

The Republic of Cyprus is an easygoing, welcoming place, a country where handshake agreements are still legally binding. This laidback attitude to business, however, is oftentimes confused with stupidity or ignorance by foreign salesmen trying to deal with Cypriot company owners, who by and large are rather shrewd operators.

It would seem then, that for web designers in Cyprus there is no immediate threat from international rivals at this juncture.

We shall have to wait and see...

However, as the past decade has demonstrated, the Internet is a constantly evolving, fast-moving commercial environment where, as they say, anything could happen in the next five minutes. Depending on future developments, it may well be prudent for established Cypriot web designers to set their own sights further afield and seek to attract clients from other countries as well as the Republic of Cyprus.

Only time will tell...

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