Going Global: Creating a Business Website with International Appeal
If you have a website, one of the things that you’ll eventually be faced with is global integration and diversity of your content. Developing a global-friendly website is crucially important if you do business with people in different countries. But, it’s also important if you cater to a multi-cultural audience that lives in the U.S.
Make Your Content Optimized For Multiple Languages
Make your content optimized for multiple languages. Content that’s written in one language doesn’t always translate well into others. So, you have your work cut out for you. You could use an automated translation service, but these don’t always end up capturing the same exact meaning or intent as the original content.
Translate By Humans is one way to solve this problem. Have your content translated by people who actually understand the language.
Avoid Localized Options
A lot of websites make the mistake of choosing the default website and domain as well as the language based on a dynamic GeoIP tracking scheme. So, if you access a popular site like eBay from another country, the site will be in that country’s language, and display that country’s currency in the pricing.
While this can be helpful, it can also hurt sales if your visitor is just visiting a particular country or is trying to have something shipped back home to a foreign country. Try using a menu that allows users to choose the country and language they want to see.
This works well when your demographic is diverse, but not necessarily foreign. For example, you might serve a lot of people in the U.S., but not everyone in the country speaks English very well. People living in Miami, Florida, for example, mostly speak Spanish.
Sometimes this is a good idea when your audience simply prefers to read and engage with content written in their own native language.
Don’t Use As Much Text In Your Images
Using less text in images can help you because Google cannot translate text embedded in those images. When it translates for a foreign country, it looks at text only. So, the less text you use in images, the better.
One way to get around this is to incorporate text over images using CSS or “Cascading Stylesheets.” Have your developer do this for you. Basically, all of the text on your page will be “floated” over the image and nothing will be branded on the image itself. The result is that the text will be translated via Google translate if you use that service to serve up location-based text.
Another way to accomplish this is to embed text-based forms on images where you want to have ad copy, and use the image as a background in the container where the text resides. It accomplishes something very similar to floating text over an image. In the latter case, you would use this trick when you want to design a landing page or opt-in form but you don’t want to embed the text into the image.
Be Careful With Colors
You may think your company’s colors are amazing, but colors evoke strong emotional reactions from people. And, colors mean different things in different countries. Play with your ad and website colors until you find something that appeals to the lowest common denominator – it should appeal to everyone. Having a website design that takes into account everyone’s preferences will save you a lot of time in setup, management, and promotion of multiple websites that try to cater to each country individually.
Use A Localized Checkout Process
When people are ready to buy, make it easy on them. Have an international shipping option that’s simple to understand. If you’re giving people the option of shipping internationally, then you should let the buyer know beforehand about the shipping option and what’s available at his or her local address.
You should also give your buyer the option to convert the payment into his own currency so he better understands the cost. If you live in the U.S., and the customer lives in Zimbabwe, he’s not going to really understand what $1 is worth in his currency. He could go use an independent currency converter, but that takes him away from your site and makes it harder for him to buy – bad idea.
Finally, offer multiple payment options. People from different countries are comfortable with different payment methods. So, you should try to cater to the locality you’re selling to.
Alpi Mantry is in the business of “Delivering Happiness” – Alpi is heading the relationship and growth portfolio for a revolutionizing Translation startup in London that has a list of Happy Customers which includes Vogue, Waze (Google), Gulfstream, HSBC Europe and more. After having worked with top corporates, Alpi has joined this startup to utilize her dynamic management skills polished in the last 10 years. She enjoys sharing her insights online.