Global Content Insights

7 things that make it harder to manage your multinational websites 

[fa icon="calendar"] Sep 7, 2015 4:55:53 PM / by Lise Bissonnette Janody

Most multinational companies have a lot of country websites. Whether you have 5, 11, 19, or 35, these sites take up a lot of your time and budget. But how well do they perform?

This is the first of a series of posts that will address the challenges many enterprises face in managing their country websites. We’ll propose some solutions, from small quick fixes to longer-term alternatives that require a larger commitment.

But first, let’s establish a diagnosis:Country websites that underperform generally suffer from one—or often all—of these 7 things.

Review and validation takes too long

Most country sites (but not all) require translated content, and translated content usually requires review and validation. Often, there are only a few people with time to devote to this task; in other instances, there may be only a handful of people for a specific country, period. And since these very few folks need to do everything under the sun, that leaves them little time to devote to reviewing website content.

 However, reviewing translations does take time, especially if the translation doesn’t meet the reviewer’s expectations. In these cases, either the reviewer expedites the review in less than 1 minute, and lives with the translation as is, or the reviewer decides to rewrite and improve the text – but when there’s time, of course. So you wait, and wait… and wait so long the source content has already changed, or it’s now so old there’s no point in publishing.  Read the post: Speed up in-country reviews of translations.

 It’s hard to keep track of new content.

If countries have some responsibilities for translating, they need to know when new or updated content becomes available. It’s fairly easy for new product launches or campaigns, which mobilize a lot of marketing and communication resources. It’s harder, though, for smaller content pieces or for updates, let alone content removals. Yes, many CMS have notifications set up, but many also are fairly indiscriminate of the notifications they send, leaving stakeholders swimming in a sea of emails without much sense of priority.  Read the post: Keeping country sites in sync.

Exporting and importing content into the CMS is done manually.

When you’re translating web content, you can’t just send the content itself; you need to ensure meta-data goes through with it. You also need to send instructions as to content elements that don’t get translated. Without an automated export, you’re team will spend some time prepping files for your translation company. The same principle applies on the way back: without automation, you’ll need to receive all translations, and publish them to as many sites as you have. This manual exporting and importing of files can seriously delay your time to publication. Read the post: Connecting content and translation management

There’s not enough translated content.

Many sites, particularly in B2B, provide their users with only a limited amount of translated content, leaving the rest of it in English. The volume of this critical mass of translated content can vary widely. Some countries do very little translation, and don’t seem to do worse than other country sites of their company. However, in another country, this same approach clearly undermines performance. You really have to determine what that critical mass of translated content is for you, your market, your sector, your personas, and this, for all your countries. Read the post: How much content do you need to translate?

Content is translated, but not localized.

Translating content is a good thing; localizing it to address specific country requirements is even better, and often, absolutely necessary. Countries have different cultures and different regulatory environments; users have different expectations and habits, including when it comes to search. Google likes it as well, especially if you’ve localized your keywords. After all, it is entirely possible that users in Italy or South Korea won’t use the same keywords you’d use in the UK or in North America. Localizing your keywords will allow you to perform better in search results.

There’s very little local content, and it’s hard to find.

Is there really any point in having a country-specific website if there’s no content that’s specific to that country? Having local content creates trust among users, and demonstrates that your enterprise truly is an actor in the local economy. So it’s important to have at least some of these trust factors, and to ensure that they’re easy to find.

In-country digital stakeholders aren’t involved in website strategy.

Unfortunately, country websites are often developed without much – if any – input from in-country digital stakeholders. As a result, these managers don’t have a sense of ownership. Some will concentrate their efforts on channels over which they feel they have more responsibility: Facebook or LinkedIn, newsletters, mini-sites, campaigns. So they limit their efforts to what must be done – and even that’s not often their decision. Worse, sometimes the site goes live, and then never gets updated.  

That’s a lot of pain points, but the good news is, there are many things country digital managers can do to attack the issues and improve performance. We’ll be delving into more detail into each of these issues – and offering ideas for solutions – in upcoming posts. We encourage you to sign up for updates if you don’t want to miss anything!  

More posts in this series: 

Speed up in-country reviews of translations

Keeping country sites in sync


Topics: Global Websites