Launching a Global Web Site, Continued

I am pleased that we were able to launch our first local site this weekend serving the Czech Republic.  If interested, you can see it here: www.ness.com/cz

It was hard work for sure, (as I wrote about earlier this year) and comes out many months later than we first anticipated, but it is still satisfying to see it live. Still to come, the team in the Czech Republic now has to add additional country specific content and make sure it represents their interests in the context of Ness as a whole.

We aren’t done yet either, we are getting set to launch Slovakia, shortly followed by Romania, Hungary, UK and India. Israel is in the works as well.

Though it’s still a work on progress, a few lessons learned so-far:

  1. Deadlines help. At Lionbridge we managed to launch 25 sites in just 4 months. But there we had no choice but to launch all of our sites at once and I vowed to never do it that way again.  But the flip side is that deadlines can help drive towards a completion.  In absence of them, things can linger forever.
  2. Be willing to compromise: Sometimes it’s important to give a little to get a lot. For example, we had envisioned utilizing a single website localization partner for all languages. But it turned out that we had an in-house Czech team that could handle the project.  It worked out just fine.
  3. Be flexible:  If we stuck to our original plan put in place in late 2008, we might never have gotten it launched. We listened to the needs of the local teams and adjusted course along the way. Surely made the whole process much easier.

Stay tuned for future launches in the coming weeks, which represents a flexible compromise brought on by an impending deadline!

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Bing’s July Numbers

Just a quick update to my previous post on Bing’s launch. ComScore announced their July search market statistics and Bing picked up another 0.5 percentage points  at Google and Yahoo’s expense.

Again I repeat the question: are they popping Champagne in Redmond over this?  So Bing has allowed them to capture an additional percent or two of marketshare, and perhaps a touch more relevance.  Maybe that is enough.

As an aside however, I finally noticed the “keyholes” in the images that give you some details about what the image is about.  Definitely cool. Not terribly relevant to my life, but was a neat feature. I also like the fact you can scroll back through the archives of the images. Read more about how this all comes together here.

“Extending beyond the four walls of our web site”

The web site is so late 90s. I realized this some months ago as we were going through our massive rebuild of the ness.com web site.  We gave ample thought to how we were going to build hooks to other social media platforms, allow for RSS and content sharing, and then marry other forms of online presence to reach our main objectives.  What we managed to do without intending to, was define a strategy “for the WEB” rather than define a strategy “for the WEB SITE.”

Now that might not sound like much of an “Ah-Ha” but here we were investing vast amounts of time and money to get our web site just right, and the reality is that it’s now just one piece of our online efforts. Surely it’s the anchor point, and we better have gotten it right, but if we stopped there, we should surely fail in reaching our objectives.

At the MarketingProfs B2B Forum I am attending this week, Sandy Carter of IBM used the term “Online watering holes” as places to find and INTERACT with your customers and prospects.  And that really is the point. It’s no longer about extending your BRAND throughout the web using static channels to drive as much traffic back to your site. Today, it’s about extending your ONLINE PRESENCE to every nook and cranny on the web where your audience lives, or what I am referring to as “beyond the four walls of your web site.” Stay tuned as we explore how to do this most effectively in the coming months.

And apparently that applies to blogging as well. This Blog is so 2007! Twitter is now. Start following me there as well if you would like. http://twitter.com/ajdun