Companies that are able to use the web to globally market their products and services quickly, reliably, and cost-effectively will enjoy clear competitive advantages.
But to reap the full benefits of these efforts, they must first provide customers with information on their product range – and do so anywhere in the world.
The main pre-requisite here is to have a professional content management system (CMS). But managing multilingual websites is a complicated task and requires a strategic approach right from the start.
e-Spirit, makers of the content management system FirstSpirit, have put together a list of six tips to help you get started:
1. Formulate a strategy.
Successful global content management requires a clearly defined global web strategy. Translating your existing content is only the start. In addition, it's necessary to clearly define requirements, objectives, priorities, and success factors, and to formulate a timeline and cost plan.
2. Define processes.
To ensure that responsibilities are clearly defined, a dedicated project manager and team of experts must be assigned, and processes must be clearly defined. This will help to keep the project on task.
3. Identify technical requirements.
Companies should address the following question: What are our actual needs in such areas as language and translation support at the content level; multilingual authoring environments; scalability and usability features for editors and developers; global, automated workflow models for localizing content; archiving and versioning, etc.?
4. Select a global design.
To foster brand recognition with your customers it is critical that you ensure global consistency of your corporate design, as well as other aspects such as navigation structure and community features for interacting with the company.
5. Create content.
All content, both text and graphics, should be easy to adapt to different markets – without neglecting critical national and cultural details. For reasons of efficiency, strategies for reuse should be defined which automate and simplify content distribution to international sites as much as possible.
6. Ensure quality.
The content reuse strategy and all phases of the workflow, starting with content creation and continuing through release and final deployment, must be constantly monitored for performance functionality and optimized where necessary. A successful global content management system is never "finished".
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