Is Your Website World Ready? Five tips to keep in mind…

Here’s my latest post for client Pitney Bowes:

An excerpt:

Avoid visual pitfalls.
By editing the text to be world-ready, you’re halfway towards avoiding any “international incidents.” But you also need to take a close at your visuals. All cultures have their “hot button” visuals that, at a minimum, be controversial, but at worst inflame customers. Hand gestures, for example, carry significant cultural meaning. The two-finger peace sign is a popular and peaceful hand gesture, but if you reverse that sign, you send a very negative message in many countries. (See 10 Things that Americans Don’t Realize Are Offensive to Brits.)

Tip: Avoid stock photos of people. For example, hand gestures, postures, and clothing can all offend someone somewhere. So if you can avoid using stock photos of people on your website, do so. If you must feature photos of people, focus on creating locally relevant photos so as to truly appeal to the market.

Thinking globally requires stepping outside of your own cultures and viewing your website and content through the eyes of people who have an entirely different cultural background.

Here’s the full story.

Tips and Best Practices for Targeting an APAC Audience (Part I)

Here’s my latest post for client Pitney Bowes:

Any company with global aspirations cannot afford to ignore the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. It’s a region that includes more than two billion people across more than 20 countries, ranging from Australia to Indonesia to China and Japan.

But it’s also a region with significant linguistic, cultural, and political diversity. The APAC acronym may be useful in helping to think regionally, but when it comes to expanding into a given region, the best thing you can do is quickly narrow your focus to one or two specific countries.

This article (the first of two) offers some high-level strategic best practices to consider and focuses on four countries: China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea.

A few excerpts…

According to China’s Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), there are now 460 million mobile web users in China. In many parts of Asia, an Internet user and a mobile user is considered one and the same.

And…

Some companies have registered the .asia domain as a pan-Asian “front door” to their websites. But this domain is best used as a regional landing page only — one that users then click through to their country websites. Country codes also send a strong signal to search engines that your website is indeed local — resulting in improved search rankings (provided you’ve also invested in translation).

Here’s the full story.