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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:
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.
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.
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.
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.