All Web sites are, by default, global. But which Web sites do the best job of truly speaking to the world? That is, which Web sites support the most languages, make navigation effortless for non-English speakers, and provide Web users around the world with fast-loading Web pages?
These are the questions I began asking a few years ago when my firm produced the first report on this topic, The Web Globalization Report Card. We studied 121 Web sites, ranging from Amazon to GE to Sony.
Google emerged as the best site overall.
Yesterday we published the 2005 Web Globalization Report Card and, sure enough, Google is tops once again. Frankly, I wasn’t surprised to see Google at the top of the list. It’s not a perfect Web site, but it does a great many things right — from providing users around the world with a fast-loading Web page (much faster than Yahoo!) to using a consistent, global interface to supporting 97 different languages. As I’ve said before, Google is arguably the most global commercial Web site yet developed.
But it is not the only successful global Web site out there. Here are the top 10 Web sites:
3. American Express
7. Procter & Gamble
8. Cisco Systems
Companies like Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Qualcomm and Disney did not fair so well. All finished near the bottom of our rankings. Being a global company or having a global brand does not ensure a successful global Web site.
If your company is planning to dive into the Web globalization waters, I encourage you to take the time to review these 10 Web sites.