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Things to Consider When Creating a Website For a Different Country

Tara West

by Tara West on 14th April 2011

One of the greatest attributes of the internet, is that it can make having a global presence accessible to many businesses which otherwise would not have that opportunity. It is easy to think that simply because you have a website online, that your business is global. If you are to create a truly successful global website however, there are many things to take into consideration. This post summarises four of them:

Domain Name

The First is the domain name. This may have already been decided from the brand or product name, but if you are lucky enough to be planning from the very start, put some serious thought into the name of your domain and global implications. If your brand is already well known, the strength of its reputation might mean that you should include the brand name within the domain name. If you are a new or unknown brand, you could benefit from including the type of service as well as the country or location which it targets within the domain name. For example www.plumbing-france.fr.

Aesthetics

The corporate colours of a brand can have a great influence on its success. It can make or break a website through determining its look and feel. When creating a global website, it is important to remember that colours have many different meanings in different countries and cultures. For example, white can symbolise mourning in China, whilst white is often associated with purity or new life in the U.K. Another example is how in the UK, we associate red as bad and green as good, but in Korea and China, the meaning is opposite.

The colours used in the website may already be determined by the corporate brand, but if not try to adapt your site to suit the country to which you are targeting it to.
It is also important to consider the appropriateness of images used for different cultures.

Technology

Consider the different kinds of technology the majority of the target country uses. An example of this is browsers. In Japan, Internet Explorer is the most widely used internet browser, where as in the UK we have a much wider variety of browsers being used – including Firefox and Chrome. Ensure that when you create your site, you test it thoroughly for different browser types, keeping in mind any priorities for the intended country of use.

Language

The language of the content on the site is very important, with many studies suggesting that visitors are much more likely to convert online if it is through a website which is in their native language.

This may seem as simple as a translation of copy, but it is also important to consider other factors such as number formatting and representation, as dates are often formatted differently in different countries. It is important not to simply rely on Google Translate, as this can often return some strange translations which are unlikely to encourage the consumer to feel like the site was intended for their use. One example is where a search for Jimmy Choo returned a French web page. By clicking the ‘Translate This Page’ button on the search engine results page:

A rather broken English translation was created:

The original page read like this:

You will need to invest in a reliable language translation solution if you are to really convince users of a different country that your site was built for them and stand a chance of competing with other sites which are likely to already exist in their native language.

This shows the importance of not taking short cuts when creating a website intended for users in another country, if you are to make them feel comfortable and welcome within your site.

Tara West

Tara West

Tara West is an experienced SEO and PPC specialist at Koozai, with particular expertise within AdWords PPC and Remarketing. She has worked on a wide variety of verticals, from plumbing and travel to fashion and beauty.

4 Comments

  • Dean Marsden

    Dean 14th April 2011

    Great idea to mention the perception of different colours in different countries!

    Reply to this comment

    • Tara West

      Tara West 15th April 2011

      Thanks Dean, it’s amazing the details that aren’t often considered but can have great impact on the success of a site.

      Reply to this comment

  • Malcolm Slade 15th April 2011

    Hi Tara,

    On the domain name point I would recommend purchasing both the brand domain and a keyword rich domain if you are a new company. To start with I would set the brand domain up as a single or small corporate site and have the main site on the keyword rich domain. Link the 2 freely.

    Once (and if) the domain gets to a size where it is driving considerable brand traffic in relation to it’s non-brand, I would add the corporate information into the keyword rich domain site and 301 redirect the whole thing into the brand domain.

    Also you would do the above when Google finally gets around to kicking exact match domains back into touch.

    One other thing to mention would be hosting server location. If you are going for local you want local hosting, global you want to be hosted near your main audience probably on a more generic TLD such as .com

    Wishing all@IM a good weekend

    Malc
    SEO Project Manager @ Epiphany Solutions
    @seomalc

    Reply to this comment

    • Tara West

      Tara West 15th April 2011

      Hi Malcolm,

      That’s a great strategy to get the benefits of the keyword domain to the brand domain. Good point on server location too.

      Enjoy your weekend and thanks for your ideas,

      Tara

      Reply to this comment

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