Making Your Website Friendly to an International Audience

Does Your Online Publishing Strategy Appeal to the Rest of the World?

Americans are generally ego-centric. I am an American, so I feel especially entitled to make this criticism.

By that I mean, we’re very focused on the U.S. of A. as being the center of the universe and often we don’t have a “world view” of things.

For instance, I’ve noticed that the fees for products on U.S.-based websites are almost always stated in U.S. dollars. We Americans arrogantly assume that the rest of the world knows how to do conversions to their local currency.

But when I go to a U.K.-based website and see the fees stated ONLY in pounds, I’m offended and turned off. I may be too lazy to look up the currency conversion rate, so I quickly lose interest.

Download a FREE copy of 7 Ways to Monetize your Portal Audience, and discover how today's top publishers are generating revenue through memberships, events, clubs, sponsorships, and more.

I wonder how many other online publishing websites—both U.S. and International—are losing sales because they fail to indicate—or at least approximate—what the fee is in both dollars and pounds.

What about your site? Are you missing sales by being ego-centric? Should your online publishing strategy include stating your prices in more than one currency?

Online publishing strategy: Avoid slang and other gaffes

Engaging in online publishing means exposing your message to millions of people who use the World Wide Web.

Visitors to your English language website likely will be reading it from their homes in Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, Barbados, Bahamas, Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, the United Kingdom and throughout the English-speaking world. That includes such diverse places as Israel, Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates—all countries where English is the official or unofficial language.

That means if you write in “American” English, as part of your online publishing strategy, you need to be careful to avoid using slang or referring to U.S. television programs or other exclusively American cultural icons.

Also, avoid using a joke that depends on American English language ambiguity for its punch line. It may fall flat or even offend.

As part of your online publishing strategy, it’s also a good idea to avoid local geographic references such as calling it “The Lone Star State” without first identifying the place as Texas.

Additionally, you should avoid posting large inline graphic files and always offer text alternatives (HTML ALT codes). That’s because many international subscribers are likely to have narrow bandwidth Internet connections, making the downloading of large images difficult and frustrating.

Here’s another online publishing tip: If you have a large graphic that is important content, consider putting it in a separate file folder and giving your site visitors the option of downloading it. Be sure to tell them how large the file is in kilobytes.


Leave a Reply