Is your business planning on expanding abroad? Perhaps you’re considering taking the plunge and going international in 2019? If so, you won’t need us to tell you that it isn’t a decision to be made lightly. Entering a new market in a different country needs careful strategic planning, with all the potential pitfalls taken into consideration.
Part of your business expansion process will involve a smart marketing strategy and all digital marketing stems from having an optimised and responsive website that helps your business meet its objectives and ambitions.
You can’t measure the success of any activity unless you know what you wanted to achieve by doing it. Building a website is no exception. Websites have different purposes; some are eCommerce sites where the goal is to sell products online, some are lead generation websites with the purpose of attracting potential business and selling services, whilst others simply fulfil an informational or showcase function. Each website’s aim and purpose greatly impacts the decisions throughout the process of creating the website. This has never been more so than when creating a website made for a global audience.
One of the largest websites we ever built was the multi-purpose eCommerce and informational optimised website for World Business Culture, experts in global commerce. The site provides students and professionals with all the knowledge they need to prepare them for doing business abroad. It does this through an online shopping facility where beneficial resources can be purchased/downloaded, an insightful blog, tailored online advertising and by targeting the two audiences (students and business professions) on two distinct and separate levels.
Whilst making sure we stuck to the brief to fulfil World Business Culture’s aims, we also had to consider/overcome the following challenges when building the global website:
Understanding How Different Websites Look in Different Countries
Obviously, it’s impossible to build one website that looks amazing to everyone. It helps to decide which features to compromise on and whether to skew the global website towards the main audience’s countries. For us, this meant carrying out extensive research using tools like Google Analytics to understand the client’s main audience.
Making Sure the Text Flows Well in Any Alphabet
Following on from the first point, we had to weigh up the different translation options available to cater for the different languages of the website’s multi-cultural visitors. This involved deciding whether to have the content professionally translated and added to domain extensions (e.g. domainname.com/fr/ for France) or opting to rely on Google Auto-Translate.
Using Images Google Can Translate
This might seem fairly obvious, but you’d be surprised how many web designers make this mistake for a global website. When creating a website that will cater for a global audience, it’s best practice not to use text in images. Google can’t automatically translate text in pictures, and the website you build will look amateur with untranslated text in images.
Selling Products in a Global Online Market
Taxes work in different ways for different countries. With our client selling abroad, we were sure to gear the website towards adding different countries’ various tax codes. A website’s ability to give conversions in different currencies is also very important for a positive User Experience (UX).
Learning About the Various Cultural Meanings of Colour
Catering to the world’s various colour interpretations can be difficult when you’re just building one website for a global audience. But it’s worth bearing in mind.
Again, looking at where the most visitors come from to the client’s existing website (and considering which countries, in particular, they want to target) would help to narrow down which colours are suitable to use in the web design.