Like many people that use the Internet, we have all typed in those three well known letters that proceed every URL. But most probably, we never give a second thought to what they really stand for or their true meaning.
Unfortunately, many web site owners do not give much thought to these three letters and this is reflected in their message.
Just for the record, WWW translates to “World Wide Web”.
When crawling the web, I am constantly amazed at how many people still present a message on their web site to target a localized audience. Forgetting completely that the rest of the world has access to the same message and at some point will stumble upon their web site.
Here are some easy steps to keep in mind to ensure that your site communicates a World Wide or global message:
1. Think outside your Box
When developing your content, think about the type of visitors you expect to have on your web site. But then take that a step further and think about those people, who are not in your local area, that also may visit. What might bring them to your site?
2. Talk to ALL members of your audience
Even if your product isn’t for those outside your local area, let those people from outside the region know that you have thought of them and perhaps post a link or two to similar web sites that cater to their region. For example, if you are offering localized computer support, you might want to put a small blurb stating that you currently do not offer service outside of your city … or to International customers. Your visitors will appreciate this as you have saved them time and answered that burning question, “Can I get this where I live?”.
3. Determine your visitors location
There are many free scripts out there that will allow you to determine your visitors physical location on the planet by their IP address, or that of their ISP. By determining their location, you can create and direct visitors to specific web pages based upon their location. These pages would then have a message tailored for them.
4. Communicate your plans
Many times, you may want to start small and grow to cater to a global market. If this is the case, let your visitors know your plans for the future and when certain aspects of your growth are planned to happen. This will bring them back to your site and allows you the time to develop your global markets differently.
5. Think about the language
Most people who use the Internet today can read English, but there are a large number of people whose native language is not English. It is therefore important that you write your content in a simple form and not use complicated terms and sentence structure. Even within English, there are words that are spelled differently, or sentences that are structured differently based on if you are from the UK, US or even Australia.
Some have asked if it is necessary to translate their web sites into a variety of languages for global users. My answer to this is “only if this make good business sense”. If you will be seeing large amounts of revenue out of China, hire a native Chinese person to translate and manage support emails in Chinese to accommodate these visitors. But, if you are a small site owner, the workload of involved does not add much benefit.
Keeping these few simple steps in mind will demonstrate that your web site is truly part of the World Wide Web.