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Best Tips for Designing an International Website

You've created a beautiful website for your business. It has everything it needs to convince users that your brand is the top choice.

Part of the reason your website is so effective is that you tailored it for your audience. After all, who knows your customers better than you do?

Creating a website for an international audience, however, is an entirely different ballgame. Maybe you are a web designer for an overseas client. Or, perhaps you are trying to expand your business to other countries.

Regardless, you want your website to be accessible to these new users. Here are the best tips for designing an international site.

Pick a Domain Name

You probably already have a domain name. If you haven’t chosen one yet, make sure it’s short and clear. It should be easy for international audiences to recognize and remember.

If you want to appeal exclusively to foreign users, you may consider a “multilingual” domain name. Using characters excluding ones from the Roman alphabet may help attract your target audience.

Once you have your domain name, you can register your website in different countries. Consider using country-level domain codes. These will help brand you in local areas and show your pages to relevant traffic sources. Almost all major territories have country-level domain codes (.uk for the United Kingdom, .ca for Canada, etc.).

Choose the Right Geographic Location for Hosting

If you have audiences across borders, where should you physically host your site?

In most cases, it’s best to choose the country where you get the most traffic. The location will give your visitors the most reliable access to your pages. The decision of your server’s location also will affect your SEO. A website hosted in France, for instance, will typically rank better in France than in another country.

Ideally, you should avoid hosting in areas that are prone to power outages or other factors that may disrupt your server.

Use the Appropriate Hosting Platform

Now that you’ve decided the best place to host your site, you need to pick the right hosting platform.

MangoMatter Media recognizes that not all platforms are created equal. Some are better suited for certain countries than others.

For instance, their Canadian hosting comparison article illustrates which platforms have the best speed, customer support, etc. for Canadian websites. When you decide on a hosting platform, you should consult similar comparison charts for your country.

Adjust Your Content as Necessary

When your audience is browsing your site, you want them to feel at home. They’ll not only feel more invested in your brand but also feel more compelled to buy your products/services.

One way to cater to them is by adjusting your content. If you are a U.S. company writing for a British audience, be sure to use U.K. English and the appropriate colloquialisms.

If you are writing for those who don’t speak your native language, consider hiring foreign writers. Their fluency will ensure your content is clear and accurately conveys your message.

Consider Cultural Differences

One country’s culture can be vastly from another’s. And yes, this extends even to web design.

Users from different backgrounds expect different online experiences. One study, for instance, found that East Asian countries like Japan prefer low average color saturation. Western countries like the U.S., on the other hand, favor high average color saturation.

When you design your website, consider the preferences of your audience. Research what they expect from their user experience. Do they want a lot of pictures, specific color schemes, a particular navigation pathway, etc.?

Making your website for an international audience is no easy feat. But, with a little research and dedication, you will open your doors to many new users!

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