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Is Your Website Optimized for an International Audience?

September 21, 2016 No Comments

Featured article by Jennifer Livingston, Independent Technology Author

Do you feel good about your content’s appeal overseas? While many sites target traffic from countries such as the United States and Canada, there are billions of potential customers or visitors that you are ignoring by overlooking foreign traffic. How do you know if your site is optimized for an international audience?

What Languages Do You Cater To?

Although much of the world can read or watch content that is produced in English, there are still millions of people who cannot. It is also possible that your site visitors may be more comfortable reading or listening to content in their native tongue. It may be easier to grasp the context of what you are trying to say when translated into their dominant language.

Aside from English, French, Spanish and Chinese are commonly used languages. In addition, you may want to write in regional dialects to better help your audience follow along with an article or video. For instance, British readers say holiday as opposed to vacation and refer to currency in pounds instead of dollars. One option may be to use Spanish captioning or captioning in the regional dialect of the reader or viewer to make it easier to follow along.

Are You Willing to Cater to Different Cultures?

In most countries, soccer matches are among the most popular sporting events of the year. However, in America, soccer is something that you watch on television if you aren’t doing anything else or if other sports are out of season. Instead, Americans tend to love American football, basketball and baseball.

Altering the content that you produce to better cater to your audience can help your site get the traffic it needs and have more success converting that traffic. The good news is that you don’t need to completely change your brand or your message to meet the needs of an international audience. For instance, it may be possible to hire a freelance writer from Britain to write about the Premier League or an Indian correspondent to write about cricket.

By catering content to the audience in a certain country or region, it gives them a personalized reading or viewing experience. It is more likely that a viewer will share or otherwise engage with content that means something to them. Therefore, it may be worth the time and effort to hire local correspondents or taking other steps to produce content that adheres to local and regional spellings and syntax.

What’s Your Censorship Policy?

In some cases, you may have a dilemma when it comes to reaching viewers in countries with restrictions on free speech. For instance, China has roughly a billion people within its borders, but it also has strict laws that make it difficult to get content posted without the risk of censorship.

If you can’t get your message to your audience in a way that they find interesting or engaging, it may not be worth your time or money. Therefore, you have to ask yourself whether you would be willing to work with censors in nations where you could benefit from reaching their people.

Conversely, you may decide that you want to block visitors from certain countries as it may pose a threat to your site security. However, if you do decide that you are going to block traffic from certain nations, make sure that you have a good reason to do so. Otherwise, you are doing nothing other than harming your brand around the globe.

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, it makes sense that you would want your site to draw traffic on a global scale. By optimizing for other languages, creating relevant target based on country or region and working with censors if necessary, you can create a site that will be viewed and respected throughout the world.



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