Knowledge | A five-step guide to create a Chinese website for your business

When talking about marketing to China, many businesses would get on with WeChat, Douyin (Chinese Tiktok) and other social media channels, which is a fair assumption as over 80% of China’s 16-64 years-olds are using WeChat. However, does this make a Chinese website for your brand less relavant?

The answer is probably no. Your WeChat account, as well as its engagement with users, is ultimately controlled by Tencent, a tiny change in its algorithm can affect your marketing plan negatively.

Moreover, if you don’t wish to lose out on opportunities in lead generation from search engines, you would want to set up your own website, as WeChat is a closed ecosystem meaning that search engines like Baidu are unable to crawl its content. If you’re running online campaigns, having your own Chinese landing page on your own website gives you the flexibility to include all features that you need and not limited to WeChat’s ability.

Last but not least, Chinese consumers take “brands” seriously, they may simply skip if your brand doesn’t have a professionally designed website, or if your website is too slow to access (if accessible at all).

If you plan to have a Chinese website for your business, how should you prepare it? Here’s a checklist from Crayfish.io experts on how to get your Chinese website done from designing to running.

 

Differences Between Western and Chinese Website Design

  • Content layout - China has a high context culture which means Chinese people like to have as much information as possible presented to them before they make a decision, therefore inherently on-screen text is not as concise or as accurate as we would like to see on an English website and there is reduced white space as on Chinese websites all space is utilised with graphics and information.​​
  • Content presentation - Chinese websites are more lively and colourful. Businesses should be aware of the meanings and significance of colours in Chinese culture, for example black means death and is therefore considered an unlucky colour in China. For this reason, businesses should avoid overusing colours with negative connotations.  
  • Navigation - due to their high context culture, navigation on a Chinese website happens horizontally rather vertically.

 

Picking or creating the right CMS (Content management system)

Before starting to build your website, you should consider and decide what the best CMS platform for you is, this is the place where you’ll be creating, managing and modifying all your content on a daily basis. By picking the right, modern CMS, you’ll be saving a lot of time and money from web developers and designers. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are all popular platforms with which you can use to build your good looking website, if your site requires extra features, consider working on the existing platforms before coding from scratch.

 

Do website “localisation”, not just “translation”

Translation simply transforms a written text from one language into another, while localisation is the process of making a brand or product message resonate with a specific target culture, just as if the content had been created locally. Creating a Chinese version of your website typically involves content localisation, usability alterations and consideration of particular cultural likes and dislikes. Making a good online impression is critical. Research shows that localised product information is a more important factor in making purchase decisions than price, and most people prefer to read in their native language. To localise the website to Chinese will help establish your credibility and attract more Chinese speaking audiences around the world, check out Crayfish.io’s localisation service.

 

What is Baidu?

Baidu is the first and most important search engine in China, with over 220 million daily active users, therefore Baidu SEO should be high on your priority list. As it is China’s first and foremost search engine, its algorithm is tailored towards content in Chinese language or using a mainland internet server.

Baidu is an ecosystem with Baidu SEM, Baidu translate, Baidu maps, Baidu Zhidao(a Quora-like service) and Baidu Qiye baike (enterprise encyclopedia) etc. Its algorithm is heavily biased for putting websites that are producing content within the ecosystem at the top of the search engine result pages, so businesses should consider making content for the Baidu ecosystem as well as their own website so that their search results for their website is optimised.

Due to the high mobile phone ownership in China, business websites should also be optimised for mobile searches.

Together with Baidu, 360 Search and Sogou Search dominate 98% of China's online searching market, so it is very important that businesses are present on these three search engines. Check out how to audit your website and SEO plan, submit your websites to top Chinese search engines, maintain and optimise your onpage and technical SEO.

 

Where to host your website for Chinese visitors?

Where you host your website can affect user experience, Chinese SEO and security, if you target the Chinese market. The Chinese administration system is unique and the server location affects the loading speed and SEO in China. Many international businesses choose to host the Chinese website in Hong Kong to avoid the complicated bureaucratic procedures while accelerating access speed when visiting from mainland China.

 

In summary 

If your business is serious about the Chinese market, having a professional Chinese business website should be on your agenda from day 1. It adds one more touchpoint in your brand’s connection with Chinese clients and consumers. Talk to our experts on how best you should start, and check out Crayfish.io’s dedicated services.

 

 

Let us help you

At Crayfish.io we want to be your helping hand as you achieve success in China and Southeast Asia. Visit our online marketplace to hire bilingual providers to get your bespoke projects done, or browse our comprehensive range of fixed price services that deliver the best value for money for your cross-border working. For specific enquiries, you can also contact us.