Must-haves for your international website
When you have only a local audience, your website is one thing. But what should you contemplate when going global?
Did you know 88% of people say that they are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience? First impressions were always a thing, and digital-first impressions are not the exception. Even more so, 75% of consumers admit to making judgments on a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design.
So, what are the must-haves for your worldwide web?
Until recently, only 64% of small businesses in the US had a website. This number is rising as more and more businesses recognize the importance of having one.
As online shopping skyrockets, free shipping becomes the new normal, and digital touchpoints become the first contact with potential clients, allies, and people of interest, having a properly designed website simply makes sense.
Trends vary. Kaleidoscopic, colorful, densely texted sites might have been okay during the ’90s. But today, after years of perfecting and testing, we can all agree that a clean-cut simple look is probably best.
This means a previously thought hierarchy of website elements, a studied color palette, high-quality images (that are not too heavy, so as not to get in the way of a fast-loading site), and 1 concept – 1 paragraph content with text highlights to make skimming easier. When it comes to audiovisual and visual elements, if you vary the formats used, all the better. This includes high-res photos, 360-degree views, 3D models, and videos, to name a few.
When in doubt as to whether more design elements or features are needed or not, ask yourself “Does it add value to the user experience?” If the answer is no, it’s probably not necessary, drop it. If you’re unsure, work on it until it’s a definite yes.
A friendly user experience, today, is not just nice to have, it’s a requirement. We sometimes tend to spend more time online than offline, so our standards as to where we spend that time are higher.
Sites need to be easy to navigate, intuitive, legible. All elements should contribute to the reading and surfing through the content. Getting back to my homepage should be an easy task, and undoing any action should demand no second-guessing. This isn’t always as straightforward as it may seem since, in other countries, websites may be navigated differently due to, for example, social customs or custom software settings. If there is a particular country you are interested in or a particular market, we recommend you to analyze it and localize your website. If that’s not an option, apply global standards and best practices of navigation.
And no matter what you decide, make it responsive. 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile devices in the last 6 months. That is, more than three-quarters of online shoppers would go to online stores nowadays. If your site is not responsive it becomes:
Before we get onto the need for translation when going global, let’s recap hierarchy, readability, and legibility. If the content is inaccessible, it won’t matter how good it is.
A definition that wonderfully makes the point says readability is the arrangement of fonts and words to make written content flow in an easy-to-read way. Whereas legibility refers to how easily distinguishable the letters are from one another in a font.
And hierarchy is how you show the importance of specific elements on a page or website through elements like scale, color, contrast, alignment, repetition, and space. And when it comes to content, more concretely in titles, subtitles, footnotes, CTAs, bolds, italics, and so on.
This stated, let’s get to the good stuff: great content. Companies suddenly have blogs, branded content, tutorials, indirectly related tips, videos and DIYs, or helpful theme-related advice to give. Companies become more and more like people: they have a personality, something to back them and say this is who we are, this is what we know about.
Content could be a strategic cornerstone. How can we make the most out of it when going global?
Who is your ideal customer? Why do they reach your website? Where do they come from? What are their hopes, dreams, and fears? What are they interested in learning more about? What kind of pain are they trying to get rid of? In what way are you relevant in their lives?
The answer to these marks the path as to what you should be writing, filming, or simply spreading the word about.
If you can’t afford a deep, thorough market investigation, there are plenty of other tools. Semrush, Google trends, Chrome extensions like Stealthy or Google Quick Scroll, and research already done by other big agencies. There’s no need to start from scratch when so much has been done already. The important thing is that you take these into account when adapting or creating your site.
You need it. The translation is imperative for the improvement of the overall experience.
If you are reaching out to specific new markets, speaking their language is the least you can do. It will increase trust in what you do, provide a more effective SEO since, if the right keywords are chosen, users will find your website more easily, and, more importantly, your content won’t land in the wrong keyword searches that make it irrelevant.
If you want to appeal to a wider audience, providing different language translations instantly provides greater reach, competitive advantage and, if detailedly localized, content that adapts to different cultures, interests, and demands.