A website’s purpose is no longer an alternative touchpoint for introverts. The internet is now a big part of our lives. We use it daily not just to browse social media or update the Facebook status. Every time you come across a question you don’t know the answer to, trivial or otherwise outcomes your device for a quick search. Moreover, you use it to make purchases, find locations, schedule meetings, searching for the information, well, everything.
Many corporations have stubbornly avoided the creation of a strong online presence. In recent years this practice has become more and more detrimental. You might not have put any content on the internet, but your business is there. If your website is not modern, or worse – you do not have it at all, you are doing a disservice to yourself. What will be your own reaction to a brand or company that you searched for online that did not have a website or at least a healthy social media presence? Think about something you have been interested in that only had an outdated or clumsy website. If you have never been put off by a brand because of its online appearance, you should consider your target audience’s reaction to the same scenarios.
In Russia your website is the face of your business! For many of your clients in Russia, your website will be the only connection they have to your business. If it fails to impress, it may well be the last time they consider doing business with you. Your website gives you the credibility of a well-established, successful business.
In Russia your website and online presence are huge part of your marketing effort! It is true, and a bit surprising, that many business owners still do not understand the power of the internet and the importance of a professional website. Most of your Russian and CIS clients will not only briefly look through your company page, they will rate you, your products and services by it.
We want to give you some relatively simple steps you take to make your page modern and localize it successfully in Russia.
Be in trend
Both your domestic and local webpage should be modern or at least usable and functional. Long gone are the days where a website used to look like the classified advertising sections of the back of newspapers.
Create a Russian Version of your website (language, design, text)
Russia demands much more attention than other countries when it comes to localization of the content. The Russian audience is very needy in terms of the quality of the translated content as most of the Russians do not speak English fluently. They cannot open the English version of the website to look up the information they require. The quality of the content should be not only very high as if the content was originally written in Russian not translated (no Google translation button, of course), but also it should be culturally-adapted.
Optimize to Russian Search Engines (especially to Yandex)
The key to successfully promoting Russian websites is to appropriately localize website content and carefully select Russian keywords. You should also register local Russian domains and then promote them through local Russian search engines (Yandex), affiliate marketing, as well as online and offline branding and positions appropriate to the Russian language.
Utilize Russian social networks
Social integration on your website not only helps users share content but it makes it easier to sign up for a service when they can use their social media profile. Unlike many other users worldwide, Russians prefer local social media sites over some of the international channels. In Russia, it is especially important to include options for their preferred social media channels. Popular social channels and buttons to include for Russian Internet users are VKontakte, Instagram and Odnoklassniki – biggest social networking platforms. Other popular social buttons are WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Engage with Your Audience & Don’t Ignore
Social media channels are built as networks. This means their main purpose is to be a space to converse, discuss topics and share content. Activity is the key with your social media and online presence in Russia.
Everyone’s talking about mobility first, now. Meaning, the site should be designed for mobile devices first and then made responsive for other screens. But we’re still seeing websites that aren’t even mobile friendly. It may still be a big step to go all the way to mobile first, even as different industries cross the majority threshold to mobile, but a website that isn’t mobile friendly at all will certainly be left behind. Responsive design alone isn’t enough, you also need a mobile interface.
Advertise in Russian (use “Russian landing pages & keywords”)
The top-level domain in Russia is .ru. In addition, other domains that are popular in Russia are .com, .org, .net, .info and .biz and variations of these with .ru either before or after them. Russia also has responsibility for the legacy domain “.su”, representing the former Soviet Union. Also, Cyrillic domain names have been allowed and registered in Russia since 2001.
Have Russian Contact Information and Russian Customer service (at least for the initial contact)
It’s common for Russians to search for “official” sites due to several sites selling counterfeit goods. It’s therefore especially important to help your users understand that they are on the official page.
Contact information is an important feature to include to make your site credible and to build trust with a potential Russian customer. Offering several options for customer service and a local phone number and address are especially helpful. A FAQ section also allows clarification for Russian users and any confusion or uncertainty they may have when using your site.
Are you following these tips already on your webpage? Do you already have local page settled? If the answers are – no, then maybe it is time considered an update to make an impact with your online presence in Russia.