Internationalise your website

Last updated 13 May 2019

Having a website will help buyers to:

  • have confidence that you’re an established business
  • see what you’re selling in greater detail
  • show your business to their colleagues

Buy your company domain

When you set up your website you need to decide on the website name, also known as the domain name. Most people call this a URL. Your domain name should:

  • include your company name
  • be short and easy to remember
  • describe your business (if the name is not available)
  • be in lowercase

Having a short, accurate domain name will make it easier for buyers to find and remember your website, and improve your search engine optimisation (SEO). Good SEO improves your ranking in search engine results.

Choose your domain extension

A domain extension is the .com, .co.uk or .org of a website URL. Domain extensions have different meanings so it’s important to choose the right one for your business. UK websites are usually .co.uk but you may choose .com if you plan to trade internationally.

If you want to have a website in a specific country other than the UK, you could:

  • choose a domain extension suitable for that country, such as .cn for China
  • use a subdomain, such as .com/cn

Be aware that:

  • website registration rules and costs vary between countries
  • you might not be able to buy a local domain extension if your company is not based in that country

Design your website for an international audience

Use your market research to understand the culture of your audience. The images, colours and branding you use should be culturally appropriate. For example, images of alcohol and certain foods and animals should be avoided in some markets. Think about showing aspects of everyday life such as cars, buildings, cityscapes or the countryside.

Adapting or designing your website for an international audience can be complex. You may want to use a web design company in your target country to make sure it’s appropriate.

Use the right language

In English-speaking markets try to:

  • use plain English on your site
  • avoid figures of speech and UK cultural references that might confuse your audience

For markets such as the USA, you may want to change spelling, grammar, vocabulary and other elements of style and tone of voice to suit an American audience.

Translate your website

Research shows that people prefer to shop online in their own language. To be successful in a target market, get a native speaker of that language to translate your website and keywords.

Translating your website will make it:

  • easier for customers to use
  • rank higher in search engine results