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The Internet and the World - an introduction

Feb 17, 2011

By Anya Petersen-Frey, Regional Director, MBA, PhD (abd), Certified Global Business Professional

 

Recently, Amy in Burns asked me about tips to use the Internet to explore reaching the global market for her retail product.  Below is just a small initiation into this topic but it is a starting point. 

 

First let's review the value of considering the worldwide market.  Anne Kennedy, in an article for Web Content Today (January, 2011 from http://www.wilsonweb.com/seo/kennedy-global1.htm),  offers the following data:

  • 86% of the people using the Internet around the world are outside the US, quite a drop from 1996 when two-thirds of the world's Internet users were US-based. Europe is home to more of the world's online population than all of the Americas combined. Add the burgeoning Internet use in large populations in Asia and it becomes clear the best opportunities for website marketing will be outside the US.
  • US search engine searches expanded only 18% last year. But China's searches grew 32%, Korea's 34%, and Brazil's 38%. The biggest gainer was the Russian Federation with a whopping 92% increase in search engine use.
  • The percentage of Internet shoppers in the US has been edged out by South Korea, Germany, Japan and the UK, where virtually all those with Internet access shop online.

 

In theory, as soon as you build and publish your website to the world-wide web you have created a globally accessible page.  But just because a global audience can get to it, does not mean that your page will be understandable around the world.  And this does not mean just language. While a great deal can go into creating a more world-wide friendly website below are a few things to consider that are relatively easy to implement:

  • If your page is about a regionally specific topic, then make sure you indicate that. Preferably right in the title of the page. Put the region in the keywords and page description as well. This will insure that someone in another country does not get frustrated by a site that only caters to a certain geographic area.
  • Even a regional topic or product might have value to global viewers. What if someone from another country, say Germany,  is visiting your home town and needs a particular service there? You might consider expanding your site to give more generic information that would appeal to a more global audience.

 

Have you ever found your way to a website in a foreign language and attempted to buy something on it, or even to just navigate it? Think about how confusing that experience was for you and realize how confusing your US-based English language website could look to visitors in other countries.  Simplify pages as you are able and assess ease of navigation.

 

The first step might be to have a web optimization and review done on your website as it is now - and then decide where it can be simplified or adjusted to better meet a broader world view.   Contact our Market Research Center or myself to order a web optimization report at no cost.

 

The following blog, Building Keystones, gives some nice examples of how website are viewed in different countries.

http://www.buildingkeystones.com/2010/11/designing-for-different-markets/

If you have a business that has had success getting orders via your Internet site, please share your experience with us here. 

 



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Category: Web/Tech

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