How a website can expand your business overseas

Expanding overseas can be a daunting task for any start-up. Here's how a .com website can be used to aid this transition and achieve global presence

This article is sponsored by Verisign.

Local business is often the bread and butter for a small-medium sized company. Listing your company in local business directories is a vital tool that can help ensure your company’s online presence gets off to a good start.

However, ask any business owner what their objective is and it’s likely you will hear growth. Tapping into business overseas is one way to realise this goal. But how can you manage this?

Thankfully, emerging technologies have made it easier than ever before to expand your business into other markets; streamlining how businesses sell to and communicate with users all around the world.

Indeed, a 2015 survey found that 58% of the UK’s small and mid-sized companies planned to enter new markets in the next couple of years. In order to give your business the best chance possible of breaking into these markets, you may first want to establish a website.

For any business looking to develop overseas, a website is a great tool – offering a slew of benefits for your business to help it to tap into new markets. For example, a website means that customers are more likely to view your company as an established, professional actor in the market, with Verisign research in June 2016 finding that 80% of 1,030 respondents agreed that having a website makes a business more credible.

Talking trust

This issue of reliability and trust is key, and is one of the many reasons why you should choose a website with a .com domain name when looking to expand overseas. As the foremost established domain, with a record of more than 15 years of reliability, .com domain names invoke trust and the importance of this cannot be overstated for a business looking to expand overseas.

Indeed, .com domain names are the world’s premier web addresses and while your brand may be an unknown quantity outside of your local area, .com is likely a known quantity. In fact, the Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief (DNIB) found that, as of June 30, 2016, the .com domain name base amounted to 127.5 million domain name registrations making it one of the most selected domain extensions in the world.

Think Big

On a more practical level, a .com extension gives you global access to any digital marketplace around the world, instead of being perceived as being tied to a specific country, which is the case with country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs), such as .uk, .co.uk, .de, .fr. Indeed, for some businesses it may be tempting to opt for these ccTLDs.

This, however, is not the best solution if you want to expand your business abroad. Do you see it as valuable to create a web address for each of the countries you are targeting because of the use of a ccTLD? .com makes that process less complicated by having just one domain name extension that can fit for any countries in the world.

Going global

In addition to using  a .com domain name there are other ways to use your website to ensure your company has the best possible chance of succeeding overseas. First, be sure that your website is localised for the market it is targeting. While a website with a .com domain name offers an international presence, it is still important to cater to the different languages and cultures your potential customers will be speaking.

Thankfully, within your .com website you can create tailored versions for different language markets – take 1&1’s eShop, which allows users to switch from one language to another at the touch of a button, or 123 Reg or GoDaddy’s helpful guides, for example. With the right care and attention, your website can be adapted to correctly fit the culture of the country you are targeting.

When customers are purchasing goods or services from an international website, if you accommodate different languages, you’ll want to accept different currencies as well. After all, what good is expanding overseas if nobody can purchase your goods? By ensuring that your e-commerce platform has a currency conversion tool, you can allow customers to purchase your goods in their chosen currency.

While we’re on the subject of payments, it’s important to offer online users the option to use different methods of purchasing goods, with one country’s payment standard being different to another. Be sure your .com website supports an internationally renowned payment solution, such as WorldPay or PayPal, in order to secure those sales.

Also, make sure the credit cards providers you cater for are accepted in the market you are targeting. In addition, offering multiple and attractively priced shipping and returns policy options is an approach which can also improve customers’ experience.

Ultimately,expanding overseas can be both exciting and nerve-racking for a business. Having a website with a .com domain name extension at the heart of your business strategy can help businesses with ambition realise their global goals.

You can read more about creating a website here.