Localise Your Website for International Success

In turns out that the Brits are very good at selling their goods and services to foreign customers via the internet. So much so that Britain generates the biggest online trading surplus in the world, according to research by OC&C strategy consultants.

But it’s not always straightforward to develop your website successfully for overseas markets. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that adding a few flags in the corner will do, localising your website is the key to success.

Here are a few tips to help you start

Make a plan - Identify what countries you want to target. Google Analytics will show you current traffic to your site from different countries and this is a great starting point. 

Is your business ready?

Can you deal with overseas customers who speak a different language?

Who are your competitors?

Analyse your competitors websites in the target countries.

How will you drive traffic to your site?

Research each country and decide what online marketing tactics are best eg SEO .The most popular search engine is not always Google. In Russia it’s Yandex, China, Baidu and Japan, Yahoo. These search engines also have different ranking criteria to Google.

Choose the right website strategy

Having a separate website site for each country with its own domain name is quite often best, especially if your brand isn’t internationally known and if you want to achieve good search engine rankings.

Localise your design and content

Different countries like different design styles, for example in the Far East they prefer busy/text heavy designs. Don’t forget to make sure things like spelling (eg US English), sizes etc are right for that country.

Don’t use Google Translate

Get your website content translated by professional translators who preferably have some knowledge of your market.

Where to host?

In some cases eg China, hosting your website in the targeted country is the best way to be visible and achieve good traffic.

Domain Names

Purchase the relevant country code domains eg Bigfork.fr (France), Bigfork.ru (Russia), Bigfork.de (Germany).

Localise checkouts

If your website is an ecommerce one then you’ll need to find out how people in that country like to pay, for example the Germans don’t like to use cards online.

Remember mobile

Make sure your website is responsive especially for Russian and Indian markets where the majority of website traffic is from mobile phones.

This looks like a great deal of work to do but it’s definitely worth it. We have worked with many companies to help them successfully sell online in different countries and we know that this approach pays off.

Published on

22nd October 2015
by Mark Ellaway

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