When talking about marketing to China, many businesses are likely to select WeChat – as over 80% of China’s 16-64 years-olds use it – as well as Douyin (Chinese Tiktok) and other social media channels.
Does this make a Chinese website for your brand less relevant? The answer is probably no. Your WeChat account, as well as its engagement with users, is ultimately controlled by Tencent, and 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. That means 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 website gives you the flexibility to include all features you need. In this way you are not limited to WeChat’s capability.
Finally, Chinese consumers are known to take “brands” seriously. They may simply skip your brand if it 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’s experts ,explaining how to get your Chinese website done –from design to operation.
Content layout - China has a high context culture. Chinese people like to have as much information as possible presented to them before they make a decision. Therefore, on-screen text is not as concise or as accurate as we would typically like to see on an English website. There is also less white space. On Chinese websites, all available space is filled with graphics and information.
Content presentation - Chinese websites tend to be livelier and more colourful than their Western counterparts. And 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, whereas red, corresponding with fire, symbolises good fortune and joy. For this reason, businesses should think carefully about the use of colour and avoid overusing colours with negative connotations.
Navigation - due to their high content, navigation on a Chinese website happens horizontally rather than vertically.
Before starting to build your website, you should consider and decide on the best CMS platform for your business. This is the place where you’ll be creating, managing and modifying all your content daily. By picking the right, modern CMS, you can save a lot of time and money spent with web developers and designers. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are all popular platforms which you can use to build your good-looking website. If your site requires extra features, consider using and enhancing the existing platforms before coding from scratch.
Translation simply transforms a written text from one language into another with no room for nuance, while localisation is the process of making a brand or product message resonate with a specific target culture, 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. Localising the website to Chinese will help establish your credibility and attract more Chinese speaking audiences around the world. Check out Crayfish.io’s localisation services.
Baidu is the first and most important search engine in China, with over 220 million daily active users, which is why Baidu SEO should be high on your priority list. As it is China’s foremost search engine, its algorithm is tailored towards content in the Chinese language or websites which use 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 encyclopaedia) etc. Its algorithm is heavily biased towards websites that are producing content within the ecosystem – and they tend to appear at the top of search engine result pages. Businesses should consider making content for the Baidu ecosystem as well as their own website to optimise search results.
Due to the high mobile phone ownership in China, business websites should also be responsive; optimised for mobile searches.
Together with Baidu, 360 Search and Sogou Search dominate 98% of China's online searching market, so it is 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, and maintain and optimise your on-page and technical SEO.
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 their Chinese websites in Hong Kong to avoid complicated bureaucratic procedures while also accelerating access speed when visiting from mainland China.
If your business is serious about the Chinese market, having a professional Chinese business website should be on your agenda from day one. It adds an important touchpoint to 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.
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.