Globalisation has become the norm for a variety of businesses. As such, a lot of businesses try to focus their corporate and even customer-facing websites on extensively promoting this global image. This promotion works well, but it does run the risk of alienating local audiences that are looking for customised experiences.
As a business with a plethora of companies based across a wide array of locations, it made good business sense to create localised websites. These websites have content specifically tailored for the relevant location, and can therefore better facilitate requests from other enterprises as well as end-users. Moreover, the sites allow us to detail specific contact information for each local business and add Google Maps integration, as well as local social media account links. All of these steps provide greater transparency for the local businesses, and another target vector for SEO.
Another reason for launching local websites is to unify your brand(s). Our previous local websites were using different designs and URL structures from each other and the global site, which created confusion for our business partners and end-users. Bringing the experience together was a crucial step in cementing the structure for our business going forward.
However, there has to be a degree of flexibility so that the local business can put their own stamp on their website. Sometimes this is because of the necessity to facilitate customer requests or offer additional branding. For example, SBE Spain uses a unique “Contact us” overlay widget for launching their personalised customer contact form. This form wouldn’t be appropriate for other locations, as it uses SBE Spain’s customised LiveAgent software to integrate into their customer support platform. That example is one of many that can crop up when creating a network of websites, so it’s always important to keep individual business requirements in mind during the design stage.
Another important part of the puzzle is the platform used to run the websites. We felt it was crucial to have a backend that could contain all of the local sites inside the same management suite that houses the global corporate website. Therefore, we went with WordPress. It offers great flexibility without being too complex. This became a major advantage when entrusting the local websites to local individuals who had mixed web experience. Collaboration works well with WordPress, plus the content creation process is fundamentally easy. The plugin platform is also beneficial. It allows us to rapidly implement deep features without needing to modify specific files or accessing the site’s FTP servers directly.
Interfacing with individuals on a local level can further benefit customer support too. We use our local websites to offer links to important customer support information and useful end-user tools such as our repair tracking system. Thanks to the way we built the websites, there is also plenty of scope to adapt this for the future as we develop additional services for our end-users. SBE has also taken steps to unify customer support across our businesses, and the local websites are an integral part of that.
As the internet reaches mainstream dominance at a time when unemployment is reaching an all time high, it’s important to find potential employees by advertising jobs on global and more importantly, local websites. Making it easy for potential employees to contact your business will attract the best mix of applicants. We decided to decrease the barrier to entry as much as possible (on all of our websites) by not advertising specific jobs, but instead inviting anyone to contact us with their CV. This may sound counterintuitive, but the results have been overwhelmingly positive for us and our jobseekers. Your business needs may vary, but offering increased accessibility in this area is essential.
Local websites are a useful tool for any global business, and it’s surprising how often they can be overlooked. Servicing a variety of areas allows enterprises to generate more business in more places. Having a presence in lots of places is a lot of responsibility for any business, but if your model is scalable then it’s imperative to target a wide array of geographic locations. This economy is creating uncertain times, but there is still money to be made if your business embraces the local opportunities the internet presents.