Reach a wider global audience
When developing your own website, you should make a conscious choice at the start of whether your intended audience is UK only, UK and Europe or completely multinational. If you are looking to cater to people outside the UK you need to optimise to ensure you make the most of international opportunities. This goes far further than simply translating your website.
Website visitors can be perplexed by the standard United Kingdom address format set-up by the Post Office. North American and especially our European neighbours use different formats and you need to be aware of them. Whilst we all know what Value Added Tax (VAT) is here in the United Kingdom, it's called Sales Tax in many countries. Whilst these differences are relatively easy to address, there are more subtle ones. A good example is German shoppers want to know where clothes are manufactured, to ensure they aren't sponsoring sweatshops. Germans also like off line payments, such as bank transfer, whilst there French counterparts prefer cheques.
You can use Google Analytics and their In-Page Analytics to identify website visitor behaviour that might highlight cart abandonment (where a website visitor either leaves the website or simply gives up), but bare in mind you are aiming for a conversion rate of between 3 - 4 %.
It's worth setting up prototypes and get website visitors from each target audience to use your website and pick up various nuances between different countries and cultures. For many small businesses this isn't possible, but even at User Acceptance Testing (UAT) it's worth doing, to get early warning signs of where your website isn't going to work from foreign website visitors.
Brand loyalty can be maximised by a good User eXperience (UX); you only need to think of John Lewis or Marks & Spencers to know this is a truism. Ensuring your website works for each of the targeted countries will ensure people keep returning, time and time again.
Understanding your target audience: we've long believed that you should focus on the needs of your target audience and understand their requirements.
This is an ever more complex topic and too large to cover in a single article, but hopefully gets you thinking about some of the challenges of optimising your website for a global audience.
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