One of the greatest benefits of having a website is the ability to reach a global audience easily. With the internet, there are no geographical boundaries. However, reaching an international audience effectively through a single website can be a challenge because of the cultural, language and other differences. If you want to offer your services or products to a global market through one website, here are some of the factors to take into account in order to make your website suitable for a global audience.
Each country has its own rules, practices and beliefs. The images, words, symbols, and characters you use on your website can have different meanings to different cultures. Before using symbols and acronyms, it is important to consider the cultural implications in different countries. It is important to conduct research and ask for opinions from different people to ensure that you communicate the desired message without offending some people. You can consult a professional translator on cultural sensitivity issues.
Different countries use different currencies and units of measurements. Most webmasters ignore these differences or make assumptions and use only the currency and unit of measurement of their home country. To cater to an international audience, it is important to make the currency and units of measurements clear, offer different currency options and include a currency converter or a link to one to make it easy for visitors to determine the cost in their own currency.
Just because your website is in a global language such as English or French does not mean that everyone from an English or French speaking country will understand it. This is because of the different slangs used in different countries.
If your target market is also composed of people who speak English as a second language or who need to translate your website in order to understand the message, it is important to avoid the use of slang or words that are likely to give out confusing and ambiguous meaning after translation. In translating, the site navigation also needs to match the language. For example, Arabic and Hebrew are read from right to left. It is very important to use the services of a professional translator in order to maintain the quality of your content.
Colors have different connotations depending on who is viewing the website. In designing a global-friendly website, it is important to choose colors carefully while considering your major target markets. It is worth it to find out the best color combination to use for your main target market and what colors to avoid. If you are targeting an international audience, the best thing to do is opt for a natural background color and dark font as this color scheme is widely accepted.
You can increase sales and avoid losing potential customers by ensuring that the ordering process is hassle free and friendly to an international audience. You can achieve this by stating clearly that you offer international shipping, including a currency conversion option, offering a variety of payment methods, explaining the delivery terms and using universal terms that are easy to understand for everyone. It is also important to ensure that the required information can be provided by anyone. For example, not all countries have zip codes or states.
A toll free telephone number will only work in your home country. It is important to provide phone numbers that international customers can use to call to make inquiries or order products or services. Ensure that your contact information is formatted in a way that international customers can understand easily.
A fast loading website is not only search engine friendly, it is also global-friendly. When you are targeting an international audience, you want your website to be accessible to everyone including those using fast broadband connection, those using pay per minute internet and even those having slow connectivity. If your website takes too long to load, visitors grow impatient a hit the back button and you lose potential sales. You can ensure that your website loads in a few seconds by making the design simple and minimizing the use of large graphics flash design and animations.
By taking these factors into account, you can make a single website appropriate for an international audience and reap maximum benefit from using the internet to reach a global target market. You will have a website that is culturally sensitive, uses correct language and universal terms and is attractive to an international audience. You will have a website where it is easy and convenient to purchase a product or service. You won’t miss out on sale opportunities and the bounce rate will reduce.