3 billion people use the Internet and the average user spends 4.5 hours every day online – so it’s more important than ever to have a strong business strategy for your online channels.
Especially if you’re thinking of trading internationally, your website or e-commerce store needs to reflect your target market and motivate your web visitors to stay on (and purchase from!) your site.
We’ve put together the following steps to ensure that your website reaches and engages the right market.
1. Research your audience
Decide who your target market is and keep them in your mind throughout the process.
Where are they based? What language(s) do they use? What would they type into a search engine to find your website? What would they want to get out of your site? If your target markets speak another language, you may need to consider building in translation options to your site.
2. Consider keywords and key phrases
‘Keyword’ and ‘key phrase’ are the terms which users type into a search engine to find relevant web pages.
Google’s Keyword Planner Tool can help you identify additional words or phrases which people have used to find your selected keyword.
Have you looked at global or regional keywords? Even if you rank highly in UK searches, the same may not be true for other countries. How easy will it be for your target market and international customers to find your site?
However: don’t just stuff keywords and key phrases in your content! Google wants to show users the most relevant results, and they will rank sites with highly relevant content more highly than those just filled with hundreds of similar keywords.
3. Remember the importance of content
A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who navigate away from your site after viewing just one page. The average bounce rate is 40 per cent, but reasons for bounces (and bounce percentages) do vary – so it’s best not to look at your figure in isolation.
The best thing you can do to avoid a high bounce rate on your site is to make sure your visitors can find exactly what they are looking for. If your content matches the keywords your users are looking for, and addresses the questions that your visitors are asking, then your visitors will stay on your site for longer.
Make sure that the content on your site is simple and informative. Don’t overcomplicate the language and remember to think about your target market! It is also important to continue to update your site regularly. You could consider adding a blog section to ensure you can keep your customers updated with the latest news and developments about your products, especially if it’s relevant to one of more target markets.
4. Make sure your site is user friendly
One of the biggest online frustrations is websites that take a long time to load, aren’t easy to navigate or don’t show users the right information. Get the basics right and your website visitors will immediately be put at ease.
Make sure your contact details are easy to find and add social sharing buttons to your site to ensure a higher reach, as users will easily be able to share your content online.
One third of web pages are now viewed on mobile phones: consumers are looking to do business on the go. This means that you need to ensure your site is mobile and tablet friendly – Google will actually penalise you if it’s not!
5. Keep learning by split testing
Split testing, or A/B testing, is a way of experimenting to improve a website metric, such as clicks, form completions or purchases.
There are many things you can split test to see what really works. You can try changing the size, shape, colour or position of your icons and buttons to see what gets the best click-through rate; change your colour palate or design; or alter the layout and navigation of your site.
Review and improve your site at least once a month to identify trends, areas of improvement and stay ahead of the competition.
If you need advice about going global, don’t worry – support is there. Our Small Business Export Advisors would be delighted to talk to you. You can also leave a comment below or tweet us with your questions and experiences in trading internationally.