For your business to be truly successful, you can not be short sighted when it comes to your potential customers. Don’t just think outside the box; think outside the border. Creating your website(s) for foreign markets is essential to maximizing growth and retention. Here’s some helpful tactics to consider when expanding your business worldwide.
Choose Your Market Carefully
Let’s use India as an example. India boasts the largest population of any country at 1.2 billion people. While internet availability in the United States is about 95 percent, the access to internet for India’s population is 10 percent. The room to grow is immense, especially with India seeing the fastest Internet adoption in the world.
India’s internet economy grew from $57 billion in 2010 to an expected $192 billion in 2016. India’s internet economy is exponentially exploding, and web hosting will need to keep up with the demand. HostDime saw this upward trend and took advantage of this opportunity. In 2009, HostDime India was launched with services including colocation, dedicated servers, shared hosting, and VPS.
What market best suits your business? What region has a need for your product or service? Some markets may be small but untapped, while other markets are large but inaccessible. Research thoroughly for competitors and make your decision on which market to infiltrate.
Localization is the key when moving to a new market. Your domain should be a top level domain (TLD) for the country of choice. HostDime India is situated at www.hostdime.in. TLDs will be expensive, so if you want to sacrifice a bit of reputation for cash saved, you can establish a sub-domain or subdirectory on your main website, like www.yourdomain.com/in or india.yourdomain.com.
Now that you have a foreign domain, it’s website creation time. Research what certain colors and symbols mean to your new target market before you pick a theme. Different colors convey different meanings for various cultures. The color white for Westerns means peace and purity, while in India, white takes on a more somber connotation and can symbolize death.
Translation can be a time-consuming pain if you’re not careful. Automatic translation is not a good idea, as Google and similar translation tools haven’t yet been perfected. You must have a deeper understanding of other cultures before you can begin writing in their native tongue. Therefore your text should be professionally translated. Those who speak the native tongue can spot a fake easily by misspellings and poor grammar. Hire local speakers to come up with your text and keywords.
Pro tip: If you choose the automated translation route, minimize text in graphics, as these can’t be translated as easily.
International Search Engine Optimization (ISEO)
Keep ISEO in mind throughout the website building process, including content development and site layout. Reduce any hurtful code that adds to page load. Your page must load as quickly as possible, for practical and SEO reasons.
Secure backlinks from the domains of the region and create relevant content that helps the reader and adds to the national discussion. Hire a native-tongued speaker to come up with a relevant keyword list in hopes of high ranking. Combine this list with Google Keywords Tool and choose the perfect plan of attack for your businesses’ ISEO.
This may be a no-brainer, but make sure your potential customers can make their purchases using their own currency. PayPal merchants access foreign currencies at competitive exchange rates in 16 different currencies. There are many countries in which Paypal is not available though, so look at more creative options like BitCoin to include all potential clients.
HostDime is a truly global hosting company located in SEVEN different countries. The key for this globalization is to employ locals who understand both the culture and the language of the region. HostDime aims to bring our expertise to these countries and provides everyone the tools and services needed to bring their ideas and websites online. HostDime’s global footprint will continue to evolve in 2013 and beyond as further research is done into emerging markets.
Jared S. is HostDime’s Content Marketer and Technology Writer. Say Hello to him on Twitter.