How To Make Your Website Foreigner Friendly


For the purpose of this article, we assume you have your website in place and your local business is running well. At the same time, you might be wondering whether there is potential to attract users from abroad to your website.
In the era of globalisation, and, especially, if you are running an online shop, it is very short-sighted to concentrate only on your local market. If your products can be sold abroad without major costs, then why wouldn’t you be doing that?

In Asia, especially, it is very common to see local companies use old-school methods in order to enter foreign markets, their strategies include setting up booths at trade shows, running traditional marketing campaigns (magazines, radio, etc.), hiring foreigners as salespeople, etc. I, for one, do not underestimate the power of these methods, but very often your website is a more cost-efficient and faster way to gain ground in a foreign market.

So how can you make your local website “foreign-friendly”?
Naturally, you would not try to woo customers in a foreign market with your native tongue – at the very least, you have to communicate in English to make inroads in markets overseas. The best is to have your website in 4-5 major languages related to the markets you are eyeing. As people love to search the Internet In their own language (even if they are reasonably proficient in English), you, therefore, don’t want to lose those potential customers.
For the sake of quality and efficiency, do not use Google Translate. It will only tarnish your website’s image and, consequently, the reputation of your product as well.
Europeans and, especially, Americans are picky about things such as correct grammar. Google will also penalise you for using this cheap method, and, in other words, for not being a quality site. An efficient solution is to use professional native translators with excellent English skills. They understand not only the language, but also a foreign mindset in order to get your message across. The local guy in your office who has the best English skills will most likely not be able to do the job as required to actually create revenue. So don’t save money here.

Modifying your website and content
Just because your website works well in your own country does not mean that foreigners will like it. Quite the contrary; most foreigners consider Asian website design too “busy and messy”. More importantly, they find most of these websites difficult to navigate.
You might need to consider redesigning your website if you are serious about attracting foreign customers. Just as in the case of language, you need to find a web design company that understands the foreign markets in your sights to help you modify your website accordingly.

Hosting can also be an issue if you try to access countries far away. So make sure you have a solution that will enable high-speed access worldwide.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
What is the point of making a great-looking website for foreigners if they cannot find it on a Google search?
Once you have finished your “foreigner-friendly” website, you need to draft a long-term SEO strategy for all the languages you’ve included on your website. Asian companies often make the mistake thinking that effective SEO is about buying keywords on Google Adwords. According to research, 77{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} of users do not click on the results displayed by Google Adwords as they perceive them as advertising, not genuine results.
So SEO is not about buying keywords on Google Adwords, part of what is called SEM (Search Engine Marketing), which is not a good long-term investment.
Furthermore, there are still many companies in Asia that use “illegal” methods to “help” you climb the Google rankings, so please be careful when you choose your SEO partner.
Google is getting smarter, and it is getting more difficult to cheat. Remember, with regards to SEO, that Google’s quality standards are relatively a new concept in most of Asia, so the results you can get are more effective than in the Western world.

Don’t assume that a website is only important for online retailers. It also works tremendously in the B2B world. Foreigners actually search for business partners on the Internet and are willing to do business with companies with whom they do not have any personal relationships. For many foreign companies, it is totally normal to do business with people they have never met in person – a strategy that has paid off numerous times to generate more revenue.