Project Description

10 Tips For Creating An International Website

10 Must Haves for Your Global Website

Everything you need to give your global website the best kick-start

Launching an international website can be a daunting task, and you probably don’t even know where to start. Limited time, resources and budget have been holding you back, but you’ve noticed an increase in overseas visitors to your site during the recent pandemic.

You know that there’s going to be a shift to doing more business online, and your competitors already have global websites, but you keep putting yours off.

Fear not! Follow these top ten tips to kick-start your international website, quickly and easily.

1/ Clearly defined target audience

Use your Google Analytics account to see where your website traffic is coming from. Are you getting visitors from overseas? If so, which markets, and what volumes?

This information can help you to clearly define the audience your global website will target.

2/ Content adapted to your chosen market

Unless your brand is well-established in a particular international market, you probably want to start small. That means deciding how your global website will deliver your message. Options here include:

  • Simple landing page for brand awareness, including a contact form

  • Microsite with limited content tailored to a specific market, including only those products you currently distribute to that particular country

  • Full website localisation to bring your full offering to your overseas customers

3/ Website built on a multilingual Content Management System (CMS)

Is the CMS you’re using to host your website able to handle content in other languages? Important considerations here include:

  • Does the system handle non-Roman characters? For example, the Cyrillic alphabet for languages like Russian and Bulgarian

  • What about double-byte characters for Chinese, Japanese and Korean?

  • Can you build websites in languages that read from right-to-left like Arabic and Hebrew?

The good news is that most CMSs are now fully multilingual and localisation-ready, including WordPress, Drupal and Squarespace.

TOP TIP

If you’re targeting Arabic speaking countries then you must remember that it’s not just the written text that needs to be read from right-to-left, you need to flip the whole structure of the page.

Here’s an example from Tetley Tea who have a dedicated website for the Middle East that is available in both English and Arabic.

4/ Website in the local language

Did you know that 76% of online consumers prefer to buy from websites that are available in their native language? In fact, 40% say they will never buy from a website in a language other than their own (Research conducted by CSA Research, 2020).

If you’re selling direct to consumers, then this is powerful data that you can’t ignore! And this is still relevant for B2B customers in particular regions. Take Asia for example.

Be sure to hire a professional translator or translation agency to take your English content and make it suitable for your target audience from both a linguistic and cultural perspective.

TOP TIP

Remember when you defined your target audience in step one? Well, here’s a quick tip for you when it comes to languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese.

spanish language

Let’s take Spanish as an example. Although Spanish is spoken in Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, the list goes on, the language is slightly different in each country. Major differences tend to be terminological whereby different words are used in each country to describe the same thing.

Make sure you take this into consideration when finding the right translator. It’s not a one-size fits all situation.

5/ Translated website content is optimised for your target market

Here in the UK, probably 99% of the population heads straight to Google when they want to look something up, but this isn’t the case in other countries.

This is where international SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) comes into play. You want to be aware of the way your target audience behaves online, especially when searching for your product.

Find out more about this here.

TOP TIP

Although Google still remains the most popular search engine in the world. There are many local search engines to be aware of. Here are a few examples.

Baidu logo

Baidu, China

naver logo

Naver, South Korea

Yandex, Russia

Seznam, Czech Republic

6/ Trust anchors across the site

Trust is incredibly important when it comes to international commerce. Quick ways that you can make sure your website comes across as trustworthy are:

  • Activate HTTPS protocol on your site for security purposes

  • Where possible, buy local domains for your website as this will be a great trust builder for overseas customers

  • Register with any reputable industry associations in your target market, and be sure to boast about this on your website

  • Struggling to get started with your international marketing? Access our on-demand tutorial today and equip yourself with the skills needed for global success!

7/ Local payment and shipping methods

In addition to the above, being aware of local payment and delivery methods will also build trust in your brand. It’s easy to think that all online transactions are done via credit card or PayPal, but that’s definitely not the case. 

Did you know that consumers in Romania still prefer to pay cash on delivery? In the Netherlands most people pay using a system called iDeal? And that in China, Alipay and WeChat Pay are the top payment methods of choice?

If you’re not sure which method to use for your target market, then this guide from Adyen is incredibly helpful.

8/ Culturally appropriate content

Make sure the visual elements of your website are suitable for your target market. Try to use images of people and places native to the region and be careful with certain colours and icons which may be considered offensive in other cultures.

This may also mean that you have to adapt your website design slightly to accommodate. Here’s a great example from McDonalds who have been sure to use local images, loud fonts, and bright graphics to target the Chinese market.

mcdonalds chinese website

9/ Contact forms

Of course, when you’re expanding into a new market your customers are bound to have questions. It’s therefore important that you provide at least one method of communication.

A contact form is a good way to capture information, as long as you translate the relevant field headers and adapt things like the address fields to suit the target region.

10/ Regular updates

Include important news on your site to keep your international visitors aware of company developments, new products, new partnerships, or shipping delays.

  • And there we have it! Ten steps to help kick-start your international website, including top tips from our experts.

  • But having a fully localised website is only one element of many that make up an international marketing strategy. If you want to learn more, or speak to a member of the team, do not hesitate to get in touch. You can also access our on-demand tutorial here to help you navigate those areas where you need a little helping hand.

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