Striking the right web presence balance: central control vs. local flexibility

James Baverstock
By James Baverstock
January 28, 2015

A global web presence, with a multi-site, multi-editor and multi-lingual setup, poses the endless question of central control and local flexibility.

Too much central control can result in sites that are badly translated, culturally insensitive, inappropriate or even factually incorrect. Too much local flexibility can mean you end up diluting or damaging your brand, and sending out mixed or conflicting messages.

So it’s a delicate balancing act, and one that’s not always easy to achieve. Though each organization’s circumstances are different, there are some broad guidelines that can be adopted when solving the central vs. local quandary.

Central control - protecting your brand & simplifying management

Web policies and standards should be defined centrally and rolled out locally. They strengthen your brand, reduce risk, allow you to react faster to change and to reduce costs.

Global KPIs and measurements by definition need to be central. They’re key to monitoring and measuring your worldwide web performance and benchmarking your sites against one another. You can quickly and easily see what works and replicate it, and also address any problem areas.

Domain name registrations and site setup processes should ideally be centralized. Creating a standard setup process with established procedures makes sure everything runs smoothly, and it keeps your costs down.

Lastly, social media registration should be coordinated centrally to ensure you control the message and protect your brand.

Local flexibility – customized sites that meet market needs

There is some crossover between global and local. Though website policies and standards should be centrally defined, they do need to take into account local variation. Things to bear in mind include:

  • Cultural sensitivity, respecting local tastes and traditions, and the perception of your brand.
  • Language, including translation and text layout for different character sets.
  • Compliance with local legal requirements.
  • IT infrastructure in the target market, including devices used and internet connection speed.

It makes sense to devolve some elements to local teams with expert knowledge of the market, audience and cultural traditions. These include file/directory names, page titles and meta descriptions, image appropriateness & relevance, and legal notices.

Content plans also belong to local teams, to ensure the site meets the needs of local audiences.

Crownpeak DQM – solving the central/local quandary

At Crownpeak we can help you maximize the performance of your multi-national web presence through the implementation of an effective Digital Quality Management framework tailored to the needs of your organization.

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