Why the World Wide Web Should be the World Wild WebOctober 14, 2010 By Andy Atkins-Kruger
“Go west, young man,” may have been appropriate for those in the mid-19th century who were seeking their fortunes. Today, it may be more appropriate to exchange “West” for “East,” as many are seeing rich pickings in large Eastern markets such as China, Japan, Korea, India and Russia. Then there are major markets in Europe such as Germany rejoining the list of “booming” economies after the financial crises of recent times.
It’s the internet that's opening the door for so many businesses to exploit global opportunities, and in many cases for the very first time. So rather than the “Wild West,” marketers find themselves in the “Wild Web,” looking east for gold. Like the Wild West, the world wild web isn't without its risks. Understanding how to sell in China and then extract your money isn't straightforward. Frankly, understanding how to sell to any culture which isn't your own is something of a gamble.
Thankfully, you don’t need a horse or gun, but you do need to be armed with a decent website which can face all the dangers it will see as it travels across the globe in search of customers who want to buy your goods and services. (I plan to reveal all at SES Chicago in a session titled Key Points in Launching a Global Website.)
The very first step: the delivery of content to users
The process of rolling out a successful global website starts with the very first step — selecting a decent global content management system (CMS). Having a CMS designed for global markets will make everything about your project so much easier. The system you choose should have the ability to work through a single login across multiple local domains — and with a really good one, it will even log your translation and localization workflows.
One issue many marketers face is that they have a legacy system in place which is fine when working in just one language, but it starts to create obstacles and difficulties for a global roll out. I've never been able to understand why more folks don’t simply acquire an additional content system for their non-U.S. pages, instead choosing to live with the U.S. system they’re stuck with.