5 essential steps to make your website more effective in gaining international sales and enquiries.
- Although English is the most popular language online, it’s not the only one. In fact, 70% of all searches online are NOT in English.
- Asia has more Internet users than Europe and America combined!
- Up to 85% of consumers are prepared to buy cross-border, but on average only 18% do so.
- 85% of new business procurement is initiated online.
5 essential steps to improve your website:
1. Web design
Make your website as visual as possible.
An image speaks a thousand words, in any language!
A visually appealing, impactful design will translate across borders.
Try to avoid using localised imagery. Use images, video, and animated diagrams to convey your products or services, as opposed to long pages of text.
2. Domain strategy
Opt for either an all-encompassing website on a single ‘.com’ domain name or for a suite of foreign websites on local country-specific URLs. If you go for the latter, make sure domains are available in each key market and check whether you need to have a registered address in the country in question in order to own and operate a local domain.
3. International SEO
Don’t assume people in other countries will use the same keywords as in the UK. It’s often not the case that you can simply translate your English list of keywords. Someone searching in Germany or China will use very different language and search behaviour compared to someone in the US, for example. International SEO is a very challenging task so don't try and do it all yourself. You need to work with both an SEO specialist and a translation company.
4. Language barriers
This is the biggest barrier to achieving international success. Decide on your key markets and get your website translated professionally into their respective local languages. Try to avoid automated translation tools as they’re often inaccurate. After all, how does it make you feel if grammar is poor on a website you’re looking at?
If you can’t afford to translate your site, keep the volume of its copy to a minimum and use simple, plain English. At the very least, localise for American audiences. There are subtle – but key – differences between US English and UK or ‘proper’ English (i.e. the English that is spoken in territories such as the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as a host of Commonwealth nations), but these are pretty straightforward to implement using automated tools.
5. Mobile and tablets
Internet browsing on a mobile device is increasing rapidly in all countries, but especially in places like Africa and Asia. The golden rule here is: MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE WORKS ON A MOBILE DEVICE.
I cannot underline enough the importance of a ‘responsive’ website that will automatically adjust itself to fit a mobile or tablet screen – conversion rates are much higher on mobile responsive websites.