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Web-Based Resources To Help Launch Your International Website

website hosting platforms

There are various platforms on the market which help with the hosting of websites for both desktop and mobile devices; some open-source, others require an annual subscription, either way they are often a simple and accessible way for the less “techie” to get their businesses online. In this post, I touch upon a handful of examples of web-based Content Management Systems (CMS) and hosting platforms, but from an international marketing perspective, identifying the key features that help companies branch out into new territories.

Open-source CMSs

In 2013, WordPress remained the most popular web-based CMS for small and medium-sized enterprises as a result of its relatively easy-to-use approach enabling pretty much the whole world and his dog to create their own website or blog for free!

wordpressThe simplicity of WordPress is one of its most prized features; however the plethora of plugins, themes and widgets available to enhance a site is possibly the most appealing feature of this open-sourced CMS.

Perfect for launching small to medium-sized websites, WordPress can easily be customised in order to reach an international market. The introduction of the WordPress Multilingual Plugin (WPML) has meant that businesses are able to handle multilingual versions of their website with ease.

The Translation Management feature of WPML means that a business can outsource the translation of their existing content either through WordPress’s partnership with ICanLocalize, or by sourcing their own preferred agency or freelance translators.

Once set up on the system the administrator simply selects the content required for translation and then this is automatically sent out to the relevant provider as translation friendly .XLIFF files. Simple as that!

Every time content needs to be updated or new pages added an email notification will be sent to the translation supplier which, on completion, is easily uploaded back into the CMS following a link provided by WPML.

In order to reap the rewards of this particular plugin there are a couple of subscriptions available from WordPress depending on the user’s requirements. Of course, a plugin of this kind is not without its faults and it has recently been updated to remove bug problems etc. Don’t let this put you off though; if you use WordPress then this would be a wonderful asset towards your global expansion plans.

eCommerce Platforms

It is essential for eCommerce businesses to have a website that is suitable for international. From the moment they enter the site right through until they make a final purchase, the whole experience must appear local to the consumer. My past post on the user journey has more detailed advice when it comes to international eCommerce websites.

There are various options out there for hosting your online store; however there is one particularly reputable multi-site solution specifically designed for the retail industry. POWA is a subsidiary of Venda, who offers convergent commerce services to deliver an overall unified customer experience from sales through to social media. POWA however, specialises in aiding businesses to build and develop secure and professional eCommerce websites, and have various solutions for launching international websites with ease.

powaUsing cloud technology, POWA enables retailers of any size to launch multilingual versions of their websites which take into consideration local currencies, payment methods and trust anchors which make international customers feel safe and secure throughout their transaction.

POWA do offer retailers the option to have tailor-made websites created through their in-house design and marketing teams, but for those companies who want to manage the creative side of things themselves there are a variety of ready-made packages available depending on the final requirements of the website.

I should also point out, as an alternative, that there are various plugins available for open-source platforms and CMSs like WordPress or Magento, which recreate the shopping basket and checkout in the desired language. These plugins are activated through the language selector and provide another way to ensure that the website appears local from the homepage and throughout.

Mobilisation of Websites

mobile internet trafficIn 2013 there was a HUGE increase in the percentage of mobile search globally, and this is set to continue this year with predicted growth at an all-time high. Over the 2013 festive period, a reported 15% of sales in the UK were made online, with 45% of transactions completed on mobile devices.

In our 2013 Global Mobile Report, statistics showed that mobile devices accounted for 14.6% of internet traffic globally. For more in-depth statistics, covering 28 countries, download the report here for free.

Now more than ever it is important that your website is mobile (or tablet) friendly. Platforms such as the one offered by Mobify, provide solutions for eCommerce businesses and SMEs alike.

mobifyImplementing such platforms will easily adapt your site for mobile use, and make it visually appealing if viewed on a handheld device. As well as this, any existing multilingual versions of your website can also be modified to guarantee that the structure and layout will still be accommodated on a mobile phone or tablet. This is particularly important if your website is available in say Mandarin or Arabic where particular formatting is required.

Making the Right Decision

The purpose of this post was to offer a couple of suggestions of some readily available solutions provided by web-based CMSs, website, and mobile website, hosting platforms in terms of preparing your website for international reach.

By no means are these the only options available. Enter “Content Management Systems” into any search engine and you will see just how many are available on the market. Whether you decide to go for the popular open-source options like WordPress, or fork out some of your budget for more specialised services from POWA or Mobify, just be sure you know exactly what you want and need before doing your research; don’t drown in the sea of endless possibilities out there or end up with a platform that doesn’t actually do what you need it to.

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Emily MacKenzie

General Manager at Webcertain
With a strong academic background in English language and linguistics, and extensive experience in sales-driven roles as well as translation, Emily now works at Webcertain Translates as a General Manager. Emily concentrates on building long-term partnerships with new and existing clients through advising and consulting, as well as improving translation workflows and developing strong localisation strategies. Emily thrives on delivering high-quality, specialised content in over 130 languages, on time and within budget.

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