A WordPress multisite offers a myriad of benefits to companies and can be a versatile tool in their online strategy. Its key advantage is that it allows businesses to facilitate and maintain a multinational presence with minimal effort, maximal efficiency, and due agility.
While building a strong brand in one’s home country is a difficult enough task, international branding comes with a whole new set of challenges.
Businesses that want to extend their presence abroad and step into new markets need to design an individual strategy for each location. They need to maintain brand consistency but, at the same time, show flexibility, create a multilingual experience, and adapt to the needs of the different audiences.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to use a WordPress multisite for international branding and provide a top-notch user experience to all your audiences around the world.
Read on to find out more!
Why a WordPress Multisite Network Is the Best Choice for International Branding
In a nutshell, the WordPress multisite network provides one of the quickest and most convenient ways to build and manage multiple websites at once. You create one website, multiply it as many times as you need, translate and adapt each version, and, voilà, you have an international presence.
However, the benefits of WordPress multisite don’t end with that.
- You Can Serve the Needs of Each Audience. Allows you to create different versions of your website and adapt them for each audience. This can include altering the design and logo, adapting the content, and changing the CTAs to match the local aesthetics and preferences.
- It’s Easy to Create New Websites in the Network. You can build the main version and copy all the content into the others, instead of building the individual websites one by one. All you need to do next is translate and localize each one.
- Allows for an Individual Approach to Each Website. You can share content between all the websites in the network, or you can upload it only on individual sites. It depends on your needs and preferences and the moment, and whether the piece is relevant to all markets.
- Flexible Administration. You can manage all your websites from a single admin panel as a super administrator, but you can also create admin roles with limited access to individual sites only. This means that you have control over the whole network, but your representatives in different countries can also manage the respective websites.
- One Installation Is Enough for Multiple Websites. You don’t need to create websites and install different themes and plugins for each one, all these are shared.
- Enables Brand Consistency. You can adapt the themes and design for the different national versions, but, as they are based on the same theme, you can retain consistency in how the brand looks and feels.
How to Best Use the Multisite Best for International Branding
For the WordPress multisite network to support your international branding, it needs to be set up properly, according to your business needs and what impression you want to make on the audience.
Choose the Domain Types
Before creating your multisite, you need to decide how to format your multinational domains.
There are three approaches to consider and each of them can reflect slightly different on your branding:
One way to set up the multisite network, especially if you are building it from scratch (i.e. if you don’t already have a main website that you want to create different versions of), is to differentiate the local versions via the top-level domains (TLD). The domain name will be the same, but the suffix will be different for every country and/or language version:
This approach makes each of the international websites seem more independent. As a result, the audience of each country will feel more special – as if the whole focus of your website is on them. This can potentially affect your brand as it will show that you are putting in more effort in the respective market.
When you don’t have a main website, a different approach you can consider is to create sub directories for each language version:
From a branding point of view it may be slightly less beneficial, because it shows that the country version is just that – a version of your website. Of course, it will still be the same regardless of the type of domain, but knowing this can make the audience feel a bit less special.
On the other hand, it shows that you are a successful international company that operates in multiple countries and has high standards and are capable of taking care of your clients.
If you already have a website and you want to use it as the base of your multisite, you can choose to implement the international versions as sub-domains:
From a branding point of view, this approach is quite similar to using sub directories.
However, it should be noted that when it comes to SEO, sub-domains are considered as separate websites. This means that they will, so to speak, live their own life in terms of ranking, authority, and the SERPs.
This is not necessarily a bad thing.
After all, the goal of having localized international versions of your website is to position each of them in their respective countries to ensure their local SEO success.
Translate, Adapt, and Localize Your Content Properly
WordPress multisite allows you to directly multiply your original website and edit each one of the new versions – i.e. translate, adapt, and localize them – instead of creating each language version from scratch.
You can even use different plugins that allow you to directly translate the language versions.
Sounds quick, easy, and simple, right?
However, when you are building a brand, basic translation may not be your best option. You should adapt your content to the language of the audience so that it sounds natural.
In addition, you should take into account the cultural specifics and needs of the region and revamp some or all of your pages to fit them. Depending on your business’s specifics and the market’s requirements, you may even have to adapt your logo and colors, and create entirely unique content for each website.
Aside from these, it’s a good rule of thumb to also translate navigation menus, buttons, and service pages and pop-ups. Don’t forget all meta information, such as meta descriptions, title tags, URL slugs, image alt attributes, captions, image descriptions, and so on.
It’s a tedious job, but it’s necessary in order to make the website seem like it was created especially for the local audience and not simply roughly translated.
All in all, localization can be really tricky because you need to maintain the balance between brand consistency and uniqueness, and pay attention to every detail, and this can be quite challenging.
Optimize Each Website Version for Local SEO
To make each of the websites in the multisite network relevant to their local users and facilitate local SEO, you should provide accurate information in the proper language. To that end, you need to set up the websites according to the country/market that it applies to.
The first step is to edit the “General Settings” of every website in the network. Provide the site’s name and tagline in a localized version, specify the language, the time zone, and the date and time format.
Once you’ve populated the sites and translated the content, you should work on enhancing your local SEO and branding by adding the following information:
- Hreflang Tag Attributes
- Local Images
- Contact Information
This data will help the search engines to better index the content of the different websites in the multisite network.
Also, you should consider creating localized Google My Business profiles and adding your websites to the relevant directories. This will make your brand more discoverable and will boost recognition.
Tips for Successful International Branding
International branding is a complex endeavor. A WordPress multisite can be incredibly beneficial. However, to really make an impact, do more than simply create a local version and translate your website content.
The following tips will help to create a quality web product that builds a bridge between you and the international markets you want to conquer:
1. Conduct Market Research
Every audience is different. By conducting market research you can obtain insight into how to best approach the local audience.
Focus on their consumer habits, purchasing behaviors, needs, relevant pain points and cultural differences.
Consider experimenting with different qualitative methods so you can better understand the customers and build accurate buyer personas. This way, you will be able to optimize the customer journey, target your content, and improve your conversions.
2. Consult with Local Branding Agencies
Regardless of how well-prepared you are and how much you’ve researched your audience, nothing beats the invaluable input of locals. They can provide you with a perspective that you can’t possibly obtain otherwise.
Consider partnering up with branding agencies in each respective destination. They can provide suggestions on how to approach the market, adapt your marketing messages and website, and other valuable information.
3. Hire Native Translators and Copywriters
The same applies to the translation and content creation of each version of the multisite.
By hiring local translators, copywriters, and editors, you can ensure that your customers understand you. This means they will relate better to your messages, and identify with your brand.
This helps avoid any weird translations that we may sort of understand, but still kind of don’t make any real sense.
4. Work with Local Partners
Aside from the agencies that facilitate your localized digital presence, you should also consider other types of local partners. This includes suppliers, delivery companies, packing services, brands that provide products related to yours, and whatever else applies to your business.
By joining forces, you can create co-marketing initiatives, support each other with positive word-of-mouth, build backlinks to your websites, and so on. The point is to go as native as possible, and become a living, breathing part of the community.
Establishing an international brand means taking all the hard work you’ve invested in building a name for yourself at home, and replicate it in other countries.
To achieve success you need to find the delicate balance between preserving the essence of your brand and adopting that of the local culture.
Relying on a WordPress multisite for your online presence and branding might seem a difficult task. However, it can provide you with a powerful advantage. This type of network saves you the trouble of creating multiple websites. It makes it easy to stay consistent. At the same time, it allows you the freedom to manage, edit, and adapt each site properly.
If you need advice and/or assistance in building your WordPress multisite, don’t hesitate to give us a call!