Internationalisation Strategy for Websites
Choosing the Right Website Internationalisation Strategy and Developing an Roadmap for Web Presence Localisation
Choosing the right internationalisation strategy for web presence in export markets ensures you get maximum value for your investment: Work and investments are rigorously prioritised and aligned with your business strategy and goals.
International expansion - the foundation for company growth
International expansion is the foundation of organic company growth. Due to the relatively small size of the Irish market, this is particularly true for Irish companies, but equally so for companies in other larger markets. At some stage, the potential of the home market is fully exploited and other ways of growth need to be looked at – international expansion being a favoured option, as this opens new markets for a company’s products and/or services.
What is internationalisation strategy?
There are 4 generally recognised types of internationalisation strategy:
- International strategy
- Global strategy
- Multidomestic strategy
- Transnational strategy
These different types of strategy deal with how the company approaches international expansion – in terms of questions like local presence, routes to market, adaptation of products and services etc. Each of the strategies has its own pros and cons and companies need to choose whichever strategy offers them the best framework for internationalisation.
Here, at GLOCAFY we are primarily concerned with website internationalisation strategy, i.e. the strategy for web presence internationalisation and localisation.
The importance of website internationalisation strategy
A website, or more precisely online presence, is a key part of any company and particularly important for companies that are internationalising. And similar to the way in which the right business internationalisation strategy has to be chosen, the right website internationalisation strategy needs to be chosen.
The choices for website internationalisation strategy are on a spectrum range from low impact to high impact:
On one end of the spectrum is the approach, where companies have one home market website that is to serve all markets. While the web, in theory is international, this approach typically has very little low impact, as the site typically can’t be found by searchers in other markets, and even if they find it the content either cannot be understood or does not resonate with export markets.
On the other end of the spectrum is the approach, where a different website is built for each market – different domain, maybe different platform, different information architecture, different design, different content, and of course, where relevant, different language. This is an extremely locally focused approach, resulting in high local visibility and buy-in – yet it is a high cost, high effort approach, high maintenance approach not suited to most SMEs.
Choosing the right internationalisation strategy
In between these two opposite ends of approach to website internationalisation, i.e. no website localisation at one end of the spectrum and a new website built on the other end, are internationalisation strategies based on different levels of website localisation, including website translation and/or transcreation and/or international SEO and/or differences in information architecture, content, messaging, design, functionality, and international digital marketing.
Which of these localisation-based website internationalisation strategy is best, will depend on a range of factors, including company objectives, budgets, resources, staff, local presence, brand strength, routes to market, competitors etc. However, choosing the right website internationalisation strategy is key and a decision that should be taken with care.