How a website can help your business go global

When running a business, growth is usually the goal. There are several ways to achieve this growth and tapping into overseas markets can be an excellent way for small businesses to expand


Expanding your business overseas offers a number of benefits. Perhaps the most obvious is helping your business to reach a wider audience, as making your goods and services available in other markets can help you reach new customers there.

It can also help you exploit untapped markets, areas where your services or goods may not be available, but are in high demand. This can be lucrative for your business and help reach more customers, exposing a greater number of people to your brand. In fact, this is one of the more significant benefits of going global by increasing your business’s brand exposure.

A strong online presence can be a vital component in ensuring your business reaps the benefits of going global

When a company expands into another market, the brand’s visibility increases, and as more people are aware of your brand, sales can increase, and it could be possible to expand further. Not only this, but existing customers can see that your business is growing and successful, making it a more attractive proposition.

While there are many benefits to going global, achieving expansion into overseas markets isn’t simply a case of clicking your fingers. Your business will face a number of challenges to overcome and a strong online presence, adapted to various countries, can help you do this.

GETTING STARTED

A strong online presence can be a vital component in ensuring your business reaps the benefits of going global. It can help establish your business as being reliable and strengthen its credibility, while extending its reach to more potential customers and potentially improving sales.

If your company appears credible it’s more likely that potential customers in new markets, who are unfamiliar with your brand, will trust it and be willing to purchase your goods. So how can your business establish a strong online presence?

The first port of call should be your business website, which can be the foundation of your online presence and act as a key tool in ensuring your company’s success overseas.

That said building a website that is suitable for international expansion can be very different from building one that is only intended for local audiences. Before you establish your internationally optimised website, there are several things you need to consider.

First, you should consider your domain name extension, the part after the domain name, .com or .net, for example. This is a vital part of your business website that can impact how your company is perceived online.

With this in mind, if you have international aspirations for your business, it’s important to have a domain extension that is recognisable and trusted all around the world. The .com domain extension, for example, is the most widely used around the globe, and offers worldwide recognition and credibility, which should help build trust with potential customers in new regions.

It may also be worth unifying your global online presence under one single domain name, rather than several different country specific domains. By using a single, .com domain extension, with subfolders – .com/en, .com/fr or .com/es – your website can achieve the global appeal of .com, while also appearing local. It also means that subfolders can benefit from the strong reputation of your single domain extension.

Office meeting

There are further benefits, too. For example, this approach is easy to implement and won’t dilute your web presence across several different domain names. More importantly, this may also have a positive impact on your search-engine ranking. By using a single domain name, all inbound links to your website will point to that domain, which will make it appear more authoritative and, in turn, may allow you to improve the ranking of your website on the search result page. This can make your website easier for potential customers to find, which is an important factor for growing international businesses.

Once you’ve selected your domain extension, it’s time to choose your domain name. This could be essential to ensuring your website is memorable and easy for users to find. There are three options – either opt for a domain name that exactly reflects your company name, leverage relevant keywords or use a combination of the two.

This is when you need to be both creative and careful because a poorly chosen domain name could have a long-lasting impact on your online presence and business as a whole. For example, using slang or country-specific terms can make your business seem overly local and colloquial, and a Spanish shopper may be unlikely to see the appeal of something like bangersandmashandmushypeas.com. roughly translated for international audiences as sausages, mashed potatoes and, well, mushy peas.

Instead you should aim to register a domain name which is relevant to your brand, using keywords that are appropriate for your business. This would allow customers easily to relate your domain name with what your company actually does, making you easier to find online. The name suggestion tool from Verisign, available at StartOnlineWith.com, can help you find your perfect domain name.

LOCALISATION

Now that your domain extension and name are established, it’s time for you to take a closer look at how and where you want to expand, and how you can optimise your website for your chosen regions. Every region has different cultural and political nuances that need to be taken into account and, once you have chosen the markets you’d like to expand to, it’s vitally important to localise your website content.

First, different languages and cultures must be considered, so if you decide to sell in Spain, it makes sense to have a language option on your website so that it can be read in Spanish. Simple, right? Yet it gets more complex when taking into account cultural differences. Even the colour of your logo can have an impact on people’s perception of your brand. For example, in China green is a symbol of infidelity, whereas red symbolises joy and fortune. A colour change of your digital assets could make a big difference.

How you localise your web content can also have a significant impact on your success overseas. So do you translate content or completely adapt it to different markets? Translating saves time and money, but adapting it completely is likely to make the content more relevant for that audience.

Making your website and its content ready for international expansion is a tricky business. Yet, a strong domain name, an internationally renowned domain extension such as .com, and a thorough understanding of your chosen markets can lead to great rewards, and new opportunities for your business as it expands overseas.

This article is a promotional feature sponsored by Verisign. For more information please visit StartOnlineWith.com