Have you created a beautiful website you believe is ready for international site visitors? Would you like your business to reach a larger, global audience?
If so, then you’ll have to create a website that’s ready for the world. That can be quite a challenge; however, we’ve put together some information to both help you reach that international audience and grow your business.
How to Reach a Global Audience
Reaching a large, international audience is not easy. There are many things to consider before your site’s ready for the world. Let’s take a look.
1). Your goal: make the site easy for a global audience to find, get the information they need, etc. all in their own language and using their preferred device.
Start by using TestMySite, by Google, which rates your website on desktop speed, mobile-friendliness and more. It will also offer tips on how to improve your site and achieve better ratings.
2). Treat everyone the same: if you’re an international company, it’s imperative to treat all site users and customers the same across each market. You can do this with the right design, functionality and by creating great content. All of these elements should deliver the same excellent experience for site users, no matter where they’re located.
You may wonder if it’s best to offer one universal site or if it’s best to create individual localised, multi-regional websites. That’s a good question.
A universal site:
- Lets people know you’re an international company
- This route is cheaper, quicker and easier to implement
- It can be a more intuitive way for site users to find your business
Multiple individual localised sites:
- Lets customers see you want to approach them in their own language and region, which reassures users that your products and services are written in their language and for their culture
- Multi-regional sites’ URLs can be customised to fit the country or region. For example, a site create for French speakers can end in .fr, or a site created for Germans can end in .de. These are only a couple of examples.
These are just a some of the considerations you’ll need to tackle before making a final decision about your site.
3). What about Localisation?
Localised sites offer the same content as your main business website; however, the content is translated into the proper regional language. Choosing to localize, you’ll need to consider these points:
- It will be necessary to speak your target audience’s language—properly
- The website will need to be localised to the region and culture, too, not just the language
- Branding will need to stay true to your business, but also fit the target culture (including logos, colors and other design elements)
- Payment and currency will need to be localised to the region
- The site will need to be legal in each country
- Details are important: cultural, religious, language, and more
4). Website Development: it will be necessary to use the industry standard—Unicode for your site. Unicode stays consistent across languages, despite differences in script. For instance, it can accommodate any language, including those that read from right to left or left to right. It supports 100 scripts, with over a hundred thousand characters. The most common form of Unicode used is UTF-8.
That’s quite a lot to have to consider when taking your website global; however, doing it right has huge rewards.
Best Practices for Site Globalisation
Here’s a list to help you take your site to a global audience:
- Information at the top: Keep important information toward the top of the page—period. This makes the main information easily visible, and users won’t need to scroll. One note—users hate to scroll, so avoid it as much as possible.
- Responsive design: all around the world, people are using a multitude of devices to access the Internet. Devices range from desktops and laptops to smartphones and tablets. Think of all the different screen sizes out there—literally thousands.
In order to make your site accommodate more users, build the website with responsive design elements. This allows your site to fit onto any screen size, regardless of device, and increases the user experience—making it easy to find the information they want, without having to use weird navigation elements, etc.
- Keep headlines concise: use simple, clear headlines on the site. This allows users to quickly and easily find the information they want, which could even encourage them to stay longer and return another time.
- Colors: the meaning of colors varies from culture to culture, making this a challenging aspect of web development. Be sure to research the meaning of colors in your target audience’s location. For example, in Asia, white is used for funerals, while this color is perfect for celebrations such as weddings in Western countries.
- Make benefits clear: as with other content, make sure to make benefit statements short, concise and easy to understand. You want site users to quickly access the information they need. In fact, bullet points are a great option to help with this issue.
- Present a clear call to action: again, keep content short and sweet. Make it easy for site users to understand your call to action. Make it as clear as possible to help them take the next step.
- Use less text in images: translator helps, such as Google translate, can’t translate the text used on images. As a result, if the text doesn’t translate into the target language, site visitors have a tendency to leave. Instead, keep text simple and translate it correctly. Your user experience will be much higher and site traffic may increase as a result.
- Localised currency and checkout: another factor that can turn customers away is if the checkout process and currency are not localised. You want to keep things as easy as possible for customers, so keep the checkout process as easy and comfortable as possible. And be sure to use the proper local currency.
- Optimise for local searches: this is a point many businesses forget. Your site must be properly localised for regional search engines in specific countries. You might choose to create individual websites for each country (as previously noted) or you can use subpages for targeted locations. Choose a method that works best for you and your customers, and then stick with it.
That’s quite a lot to consider, but you won’t regret putting in the time and effort to research and properly prepare your site for global users. The benefits far outweigh the time and effort needed. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the process, you might consider hiring a language translation company that also provides localisation services to make sure your site is ready for regional customers.
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent a decade working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.