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Web internationalization: when speed is a critical factor

There are many companies that export or want to do so, any internationalization process entails a need for communication towards the target markets.

With these objectives being typically Northern European countries, such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium or the United Kingdom, the difficulty for SMEs without astronomical budgets to develop international web projects is great.

The problem is simple: in the current market a very common solution is to use the popular WordPress as a publishing platform, whose result/price ratio is very appealing.

But it is a compromise solution that must fit carefully into a segment of projects between small and medium size. Entrepreneur: don’t forget it.

WordPress is a beautiful tool, but it has limits. Getting into a dead-end is easy if you use WP under complex requirements.
And if the core is bowed -that is the master beams, to clarify- the descent into hell is served.

However, and that is what this short article is about, a SME web project oriented to internationalization with WordPress is very feasible in certain scenarios.

I propose 4 specific cases that can be perfectly business cases for SMEs of micro/small/medium size.
They are not any fictional exercises, quite the opposite: I have already worked on several of these cases.

I do not include the freelancers, but with all due respect there are many of us who use more advanced tools than many bigger companies.
If you are freelancer you can feel perfectly included in the case study!

  • Corporate Website

    This case could fit (or not) its own blog, it is not more difficult than having clear ideas and well-defined plans.

    It is easy to imagine a company of 25-100 workers that is at the right point between “killing it” and falling short. YOU NEED to make yourself known abroad, but you can’t still burn money that much. BUT aware that you have to get into the SME digitalization right now.

    This is the perfect scenario for a WordPress website for tourist establishment, a multi-language project of limited size, pragmatic and with well-defined limits: it will serve as a measurable test, a prototype with expiration date towards a more complex online communication/marketing and then -Yes- all in.

    Cases such as law firms are the source of multiple content creation lines, for which the so-called WordPress custom taxonomies are ideal.

  • Microsites

    Typically it would be the case to use WordPress to create a specific website to communicate something in a very restricted scope, such as a new business branch, a specific range of products or something that departs from the axis of the company, and must be tested without fear of impact on the already established flagship website.

    But isn’t this the purpose of any website? No, a microsite is not a miniweb. It is a branch, a division, you can call it a specialized variant of another website.

    It may be the case that the main website is very complex, or has very high development costs, or is at the limit of its useful life and efforts are derived outside it.

    To give a practical example, during my projects at Gas Natural I found a monolithic content manager (Fatwire) and some WordPress microsites for specific products and campaigns. The cost of messing with certain structures is enormous: why spend so much if you can reach the public in less time and with less costs? And if desired, as soon as the campaign ends, the web closes and something else. A microSME would not afford, but a huge company does not suffer about it…

    Here you can read more extensively about microsites.

  • Blog ecommerce

    It is a typical figure in online marketing: Prestashop store + WordPress blog.
    Many companies opt for this hybrid solution to sell their products online and enjoy at the same time what is natural to WordPress, blogging.

    The Prestashop blog is no match for WP, and although someone can argue around that, we are already entering the expensive and delicate part of the hybrid project: hosting performance.

    WordPress has a reputation for consuming resources, demanding more as its installation grows complex. This is true, but Prestashop asks for much more, we don’t talk about a few percentage points. It is often said that a Prestashop store is justified from 500-750 references (debatable and many different cases, I agree), in the same way that it is usually said that WordPress is a bad choice for more than 500 references. I generalize, but it is illustrative.

    Therefore it is very advisable to divide the efforts by giving everyone what they ask for: a dedicated server for Prestashop (minimum 2 processors and between 4 and 8GB of RAM) and a “decent hosting” for the WordPress blog. This allows the store to breathe more and better -it is not in vain that the effort is monetized- and the blog is offered the possibility of developing (content strategy) in a much more tailored environment. Many SEO professionals share this opinion, you just have to see the amount of hybrids that are online.

    But the blog is a great tool, I would say, to rank-ramp your products online and direct traffic to your store – ergo, more sales.

    If you add the multilanguage layer to this, we have one of my favorite cases: dealing with the WordPress blog of an ecommerce located in several languages.

  • Ghost Blog

    Another use of WordPress as a blog engine is to develop a thematic (or multi-thematic, as appropriate) blog.

    This site (blog) does not have an obvious relationship with the corporate website or the company’s online store, but develops content within the scope of the company’s activity.

    How is this justified? There are as many answers as companies, but in the end it can be simplified in very few reasons:

    Space to cultivate linkbuilding without “staining” the main domain, generating content that drives the public in a more or less discreet way towards the main objective (selling, visits, etc.), conducting experiments or monetizing in a different way.

If you find yourself in a situation similar to those described, you may want to ask some questions about your next internationalization project with WordPress.

WordPress does nothing on its own. As everything needs good hands and experience behind the wheel. If you have been told “it does great for SEO” it is not a lie, but it is not 100% true either. You have a wide range of opportunities to screw up!

Anyway, after 6 web hosting services left behind along my way (and I do not count those of my many clients), I have decided that performance of my own WordPress will not be one of my problems.

Entry budget
Multilanguage capability
SEO capacity

WordPress is a great tool, but demands understanding that you should not use a hammer to insert a screw.

If I preach, I do

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