Your website is one of the most effective tools you have when operating a worldwide business to connect and engage with your target market. Learn about four factors you should think about to decide if a local or a global site is better for you.
You are already aware of how varied each country’s audience is if you are operating an offline business in several different nations.
Additionally, the laws and practices governing commerce vary from nation to nation. You should also take into account these and online laws while creating a website.
Geotargeting, various search engines, and variations in each local audience are some crucial factors that site owners must always keep in mind from an international SEO perspective.
When selecting whether to have a worldwide site or distinct local sites – one for each targeted nation or language – there are still other aspects to take into account, such as maintenance costs and the accessibility of local teams to manage the sites. We have outlined four factors that show which one is preferable.
Laws and Regulations Related to Data and Privacy
It is impossible to enumerate every law and rule that must be followed to conduct business in every nation on the planet. However, the following are the two most significant sets of laws and rules that website owners should be aware of:
- Security of personal information.
- Accessibility of a website.
Each area, nation, or state is free to establish its regulations, which may take the form of a general policy, instructions, legislation, or another kind of rule. Some apply to all websites, while others just to those with a certain scope, including those in the public and government sectors.
In European Union (EU)
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union (EU) is perhaps the privacy and data protection law that receives the most attention.
It governs how people, businesses, and organizations in the EU process personal data on EU citizens.
Many businesses anticipate that other states will soon approve similar privacy rules after the State of California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
As a response, several websites now display the cookie consent notice to all visitors, regardless of where they access the site from.
The Act on the Protection of Personal Information in Japan was initially established in 2005, had a significant revision in 2016, and has been in effect since 2017. In addition to other regulations, it requires Japanese websites to disclose their privacy policies.
The information required by the Commercial Transactions Law must be posted on e-commerce websites as well.
Your Japanese website must adhere to these rules even if it is controlled in the United States, especially if you have a physical presence in Japan.
Images from the footer of Apple’s websites in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and China are seen above.
According to Chinese laws, the Chinese website displays the website registration number beneath the footer links.
Laws & Regulations Concerning Accessibility
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gained attention last month when a federal lawsuit was brought against Taco Bell. Even though it was against the restaurant, this caught the attention of numerous website owners.
There are already laws and rules governing IT accessibility for federal agencies in the United States as well as several standards and guidelines to be taken into account generally, such as the Information and Communication Technology Standards and Guidelines.
Websites are covered by the ADA in both the public and private sectors. Numerous changes to websites’ accessibility will enhance everyone’s experience with them, not just those with impairments.
Accessibility to web material is frequently a requirement in many nations and areas, including Canada, China, the EU, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
Each nation has distinct standards for accessibility, just as there are diverse data and privacy laws and regulations.
Keeping up with these ever-evolving criteria is becoming an increasingly difficult burden for website owners, especially for those who operate globally. Failure to follow them may result in financial loss and damage to your brand’s reputation.
Local Market Trends & Rivals
Since I frequently work with websites aimed at the Asian market, I can generally identify by the design and content whether a website belongs to a local business or is the local branch of a larger corporation.
The degree to which they comprehend the local market and the target audience determines the difference instead of the design talent.
Comparing the designs of the two websites is the simplest approach to demonstrate this difference. Other obvious clues of the location of the site’s creation include the design, color palette, and graphics.
Different countries have different expectations for how orders should be paid for on e-commerce sites. Another distinction between nations is their exchange and return policies.
Even while these variations don’t affect the entire website, they may lead users to leave their shopping carts.
The content of websites also reflects the variations in local interests. While local competitor websites have material created to meet the unique interests of the local audiences, global sites frequently contain content selected by the HQ nation.
The worldwide website may lose out on significant commercial opportunities if it is unable to fulfill local searchers’ needs.
Poorly localized material that is not specifically prepared for local audiences won’t be competitive in the search results as Google develops the algorithms to offer the best content for each searcher.
Multiple local websites versus one global website
Create a list of regulatory requirements that must be met from all relevant nations and apply them regardless of the target country if you have global sites under one domain utilizing the same webpage templates for all national websites.
Even though it looks like a huge undertaking if you have a smaller team or don’t have a team in every location, this is the ideal way for you to cover all your bases.
Given that rules and regulations are frequently revised, having someone in charge of studying and staying current on them would be beneficial in this situation.
If the following apply, you might want to think about developing distinct websites for each target nation:
- The website is overseen by a sizable crew in each nation.
- sufficient funding to support it
It would provide you more freedom, be better compliant, and be suitably built for regional audiences even if you divided the sites by geographic areas with comparable laws and regulations or user and cultural trends.
For instance, it is probably simpler to manage the website design and content for a specific audience in each nation in the EU rather than creating various country and language sites inside the EU under one domain set up for the EU market.
The nations of Central and South America might be another potential market for a single domain hosting several country websites.
Many businesses that view China as one of their key markets may find it beneficial to develop a separate Chinese website in light of the diverse characteristics of the Chinese market, including Baidu’s capabilities and algorithms, connection speed, website registration guidelines, and cybersecurity laws (also known as the “Great Firewall of China”).
You can host a specific website there to boost the download speed when you have one.
With a website registered with the Chinese government and offering material tailored exclusively for the Chinese market, getting a ccTLD is simpler.
Many more alternatives are available, and it is flexible to adhere to regional laws and rules and represent regional interests in the content and website design when each target nation has its website.
These are excellent for geotargeting in SEO, which is a major problem for many international website owners. It does, however, come with higher overhead expenses.