How to Make a Successful International Website That Converts
About 55% of websites are primarily English. Yet, only 5% of the world’s population speaks English as their first language.
If you want to broaden your customer base, you need to speak their language. That’s why having an international website is so important. Even if you have a local business, by creating an international flavor, you can get more customers.
For those that want to have customers across the world, this is your opportunity to shine. The big challenge is how to get international visitors to your site and convert.
Rest assured, we have the answer. Keep reading to find out how to make your website an international success.
1. Adjust Your Main Messages
The point that many websites miss is that they have the same messaging to appeal to people across the world. International websites need to appeal to a broad range of cultures and people.
You may understand your target market in America, but does your target market share the same values as someone you’re trying to reach in Spain? They could be the same age and gender, but there are many cultural differences to consider.
You have to adjust your messaging to specifically speak to each culture you want to reach. Do your research and discover what really matters to your audiences around the world.
2. Set up a Foundation for Success
The key to setting up a website for success is to make it appeal to users and search engines. The foundation that you lay for your international website will determine your ability to do both.
You want to start by choosing the right domain name for your website. One way to go about it is to have a top-level domain (TLD) that is specific for each country.
As an example, you’ll have separate websites for each country – mybusiness.es, mybusiness.com, mybusiness.it. That is, if you want to reach customers in Spain, Italy, and the United States.
That’s a lot to maintain, but could be good if you plan to have a physical presence in each country. If not, then you should create one website with subdomains for each language.
Your domain will be mybusiness.com. Spanish speakers can access a Spanish-language version of your site at es.mybusiness.com and Italian speakers can visit it.mybusiness.com.
Another option is to create a subdirectory, so your URL will be mybusiness.com/es for the Spanish version of your site.
These options will be fine for your site’s SEO, you just want to make sure that your users will be able to understand how to find the information they’re looking for.
A part of your site’s foundation includes the content management system you build your site with. Some CMS systems are built to handle international websites.
Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress are excellent options for international websites. The option you choose will depend on your website needs and your comfort level with these various options.
3. Build Your Site for Users
As you start to build your website, you have to keep two things in mind. The first is that users expect a fast website. The second is that they’re likely to be on a mobile device when they look at your site.
There is a link between mobile site speed and conversions. This study from Google shows that the longer your site takes to load on a mobile device, the more likely visitors are to leave it. Google also gives you some speed benchmarks to shoot for.
4. Get Your Content Right
The content on your site should appeal to your target audience, especially if they’re coming from search engines. This is doubly true for international sites.
Think of the path that someone will take to get to your site. They’ll look up the keyword in their language. Your site will appear and hopefully, they’ll click through.
Once they’re at your site, the content needs to be relevant to them. You don’t want to just have a poorly translated page of your English content.
Not everything will translate well into other languages. You should hire translation services that will be thorough in recreating the content for your site.
5. Adjust the Currency
If you’re going to sell to international customers, you need to have a way for them to pay in their own currency. This will allow them to avoid foreign transaction fees.
It will also give them a level of comfort when they see a product available in their own currency as opposed to trying to figure out the exchange rate.
You can add a currency conversion plugin or widget to your site, which will take care of the issue for you.
6. Be Clear About Support
When you’re reaching customers around the world, it may feel like you have to be available 24/7. You need to step away from your business and get some rest.
If potential customers have questions about products or services, you should make it clear when they can expect to get a response. You can do that on your support page, stating that your team is available during specific hours. Don’t forget to specify which time zone.
You could also hire a customer support person that is available off-hours to help you manage inquiries. You should also specify that customer support is available in several languages.
You have to make your site’s navigation clear for all customers to find the products they need. You don’t want to have customers get frustrated and leave your site.
Test your site’s navigation before launching it. You want to check each version of your site with a small focus group of people to make sure it’s simple to understand and navigate.
Don’t Hesitate to Create an International Website
It doesn’t matter how small your business is, you can create a global footprint if you create an international website.
You need to build your site to convert, which means you need to truly understand your audience and create content that is culturally relevant to them. You also have to work on the technical aspects of your site to appeal to search engines, which will drive the right traffic to your site.
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