Is Your Website Sabotaging Your International Business Development?


Small businesses have their trials in reaching international markets.

With your new website up and the excitement of the local business it brings you, you may not realize the negative effects your website is having on international clients.

Business practices are different in different cultures. We are all used to doing things in a certain way. We all get used to doing business in a certain way and it is easy to think that everyone does things the same way. Putting your business online opens up your visibility. You will be visible to people with different business practices and expectations.

Here are a few frustrating experiences international prospects have when visiting online businesses in different countries:

No way to reach you

International visitors often need additional assurance that your company can be trusted. They may also need further clarification. Having a standard telephone number, not a toll free number, clearly placed on your website is critical.

Not fully understanding what you have to offer

Have a very clear, easy to understand statement of your business activity right up top on the front page. Give clear explanations of what it is you are selling, what comes with it and what doesn’t.

Being turned off by use of slang and national expressions

Use explanations everyone can understand instead. Foreigners might have a hard time figuring out exactly what you want them to do. There are cultural expressions that severely limit comprehension.

Using too many synonyms to say one thing

Use a consistent vocabulary throughout the website. Don’t start calling your “report” a “guide” elsewhere in the website. Your international readers can start hunting for two different things, get frustrated and leave. Again, clarity is what you need to aim for.

No idea where you are located

International visitors might be curious as to where you are located. Chances are that if they have landed on your web page they have an idea which country you are in. They might be curious and want to know where you are located. They might be nervous of buying something from you. Simply having your address will reassure your clients. So put your address someplace easy to see, not hidden and in small print.

An order form incompatible with foreign orders

Many orders get abandoned because the order form only processes country specific addresses. Check your order form out. Pay attention to any online orders. Do your international clients like using the credit card payment options? Do they like to use PayPal?

Audio sales pitches that don’t cross cultures

Make your audio links easy to turn off. Just in case your international clients find your great sales pitch seem like a frenzied crazy man’s electro culture shock.

Website animation that doesn’t cross cultures

Keep your web site’s upload times reasonable. Different countries have different infrastructures. And do all international markets really appreciate your artistic endeavors or is it a sure way to lose a sale?

Keep these things in mind. Listen to what your international clients are saying.. or not saying to you. And adapt your website so it doesn’t turn away too many international clients.

Once your website starts getting international client leads, your next step will be to be ready to greet anyone that comes your way.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Photos from Shutterstock.

  Filed under: website internationalization

Cindy King