If you want to take your website to the next level, then it’s important to think about how to make your content and the site itself more appealing to a global audience. It’s easier and easier to reach people all over the world thanks to growing Internet access, but you need to invest some time and effort into making them feel welcome. Here are four tips to help you globalize your site to bring in overseas visitors.
It’s critical that you do a good job translating your website. That means using a real translator, not a machine translation. We’ve all seen a site that is translated poorly. It is hard to use and looks sloppy, leaving you with the impression that the site owners don’t care very much about how their site looks for you. It costs more money to have a person translate a website professionally, but the payoff is worth it. Moreover, it is a one-time cost, not a recurring one, so you can make the investment up front and then let it pay for itself over time.
Make Good Use Of Images
Whenever you are concerned that text might not be the best way to reach people, try adding more images. These are easier to communicate, even if your text content is translated, because there is always something lost in a translation. Images cut across language barriers if you select good ones. Infographics are also good because they can combine visual imagery with simple text and numerical information. As a side bonus, adding more images often makes your content more shareable, so you will do better with social media engagement and propagation. That could make a big difference in expanding your reach in an unfamiliar audience.
Optimize for Data Use
While Internet access is expanding, the quality of the connection overseas is not always the best. In some regions of the world, the smartphone is a primary platform for browsing. In other places, desktops have poor connections or are capped in monthly data limits. All of these things mean that you should do your best to make your site light on data for the user. Big, flashy intros and interactive, animated menus eat up a lot of data without adding a lot of value, so think carefully about what you want the user to see.
Invest in Mobile
That last point implies that you will benefit by focusing some effort on making your site accessible for smartphones and tablets. This is about more than just data. Smaller screens need sharp images and fonts, and your site should automatically detect when a user is on mobile and adapt itself to fit their screen. If links and buttons are too close together, they are hard to tap with a touchscreen. Try your best to develop a great mobile site and test it repeatedly. If it isn’t easy to navigate, a lot of your content will go unseen. More than half of the world’s traffic now flows through a mobile device, so it is a large and growing audience.
As you can see, there is a lot to think about when you want to expand overseas. However, if you do your research and make the right changes, you can reap the benefits of an entirely new audience. You need to show them that you are invested in making your content easy for them to access, because that level of effort is an indication of how much you care about them. If you build it, they will come, but if you want them to stay, you need to make sure what you built is really what they want.
By: Jennifer Livingston