When it comes to creating a global brand, developing a website for a global audience is a must. I recently developed a website for the Chinese audience. Many of the things I learned during the process could be applied by anyone looking to develop a website focused on the Chinese market. Here are three of the simplest ways you can create a WordPress website for the Chinese market.
1. Download and Install Page Specific Menu
When developing a Chinese website, you might want to make it dual language offering English and Chinese (so that non-Chinese speakers can also access the site). Creating a dual language menu for a bilingual website in WordPress is a problem because WordPress does not appear to offer a simple way to separate the Chinese menu items (which you will need for the Chinese language site) from the English menu items (which you will need for the English language site). However, there is no need to worry. Page Specific Menu is a free plugin you can add to your WordPress website that will allow you to manually select menu items for each page of your website.
2. Choose a Chinese hosting Service
Developing a website for the Chinese market takes more than just building it, it takes hosting your website on a Chinese server. Using a hosting service outside of China can make your website run slowly and get it blocked by the Great Firewall of China. You might be thinking that hosting a website on a Chinese server is difficult if not impossible. Luckily, Bluehost now has a sister site called Bluehost China that offers internet hosting services in China. While the Bluehost China landing page is in Chinese, the control panel is in English (It is basically the same backend you would find on the American version of Bluehost). Also, Bluehost China offers English customer service. With that said, you should still have someone who speaks Chinese to help you set up your Bluehost China account (or you can read my upcoming post on building a website on Bluehost China).
3. Register Website with Baidu
Registering your website on Baidu is an important step to making your website easily accessible to the Chinese market. Baidu, not Google, is the leading search engine platform used by Chinese internet users. So, why not Google? Several years ago, Google refused to give the Chinese government access to the private data of Chinese people who used their platform. As a result, the Chinese government made Google virtually inaccessible within China, unless you are using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or Google Hong Kong (which loads very slowly in China), making Baidu the main option in the country. Registering your website with Baidu is not a difficult process. Here is a great article by Webnots that outlines the process: http://www.webnots.com/submit-site-to-baidu.html.
Hopefully, the three tips will help you take your websites from local to global. What tips do you have about how you make your website more accessible to the Chinese market?