Everybody wants to have the world’s number one web-based product. However… let start from the beginning… if we want to be number one – we need to have multi-language – at least – interface. Ok, sure… but after we decided, that we want to be worldwide – we need to decide about the domain name. Should I create subdomain to my existing domain, maybe buy the same domain with other extension, maybe use my existing domain, or maybe buy something else.
Why do I need multi-language website?
If you want to have clients from each part of the globe – you need to talk to them in their language. Sad, but true. We don’t have one universal language for everyone.
I know that we live in 21th century and we have online translators. However… first: there are still lots of users, who didn’t hear about translators; and second: nobody wants to use translators day after day. It’s much slower, it can’t work with text in images and flash websites, it’s still not perfect. People want to use websites in their language.
So which domain should I use?
I will try to describe it in few simple sentences…
First… you need to give an answer for really important question:
What is the core of your website?
By ‘the core’ I mean: what is the most important thing in your product. What do you want to sell?
In my situation: it’s a content. Core of my website is content.
Do you want to translate this core or just give it to everybody in the same way?
In my situation: I want to translate it. I want to write newses in Polish AND in English.
I had few choices:
- tspot.pl – without any change
tspot.pl – without any change is a good solution for web-based apps, such as web-planner, web-based todo lists, etc. Core is the same in each language, we just need to translate interface. That’s why multi-language reddit.com is still a reddit.com (no difference, what language you use); multi-language contails.com is still a contails.com, etc. Core doesn’t change at all.
So… in my situation (my core is different for each language) natural decision is to use another domain for English version and another domain for Polish version.
So now I need to decide which domain should I use.
Can I use tspot.com?
- is it easy to spell or pronounce by people who can’t speak your language?
- is it available?
First… I need to decide: is ‘tspot’ easy to spell or pronounce by British or American? I think yes. As an opposite example I can give you domain kopiujkontakty.pl (I worked in this project some time ago). Try to pronounce it. It’s hard, isn’t it? It’s really good domain for Polish (that means: copy contacts), however it’s a terrible name for worldwide product.
So I decided. Name ‘tspot’ is ok. Natural next step: check… is tspot.com available? Can I buy it? I can’t. Someone else registered it already.
That’s why… I have last two options: en.tspot.pl and anything_else.com + one extra option: I can buy tspot.com from actual owner.
Third (extra) option: buy domain from actual owner… I don’t have any money for that. In most of situations: firms register these kind of domains, because they want to earn money on them. Firms like google, yahoo, amazon, ebay… can talk to these firms or people. They have money. I don’t.
Second option: anything_else.com…
People simply afraid this solution. They want to promote one brand, not two, or three. They want to be recognizable as this brand, not any else. I can understand that. However… is it really so bad to have different domain? I always like to talk about allegro.pl (that’s the most popular auction website in Poland – much more popular than ebay). They are allegro.pl in Poland, teszvesz.hu in Hungary, molotok.ru in Russia, aukro.ua in Ukraine. And… they are popular in these countries, too. People knows that all these websites are nothing else than allegro. People knows that they are teszvesz, or molotok, or aukro just because domains like allegro.hu, allegro.ru and allegro.ua was already registered by someone else.
What if we want to be under the same brand in other country, but we don’t want to buy this domain from actual owner? We can use suffixes and prefixes. Why can’t we use domain like tspotapp.com, tspothq.com, mytspot.com, tspots.com, etc? Look at the 37signals… they have basecamphq.com, backpackit.com, etc. It’s not a bad idea, if you know how to promote it.
And the first option: en.tspot.pl…
Hmmm… first impression: the worst one. However… think about it.
It’s much cheaper (you don’t need to buy any more domain), it’s much easier to use it (you don’t need to use any advanced configurations for new domain), you don’t need to create new e-mail accounts (you can use *@tspot.pl as well) and what is the most important: it’s a different domain (much better for SEO). Think about it as a mother/father and a son/daughter. The main site is tspot.pl (that’s our head of the family) and all the rest are just its children. Look at the Yahoo!. There you can find the head of the family: yahoo.com and its children: autos.yahoo.com, finance.yahoo.com, travel.yahoo.com, etc. That could be used for multi-language websites, as well.
I decided… en.tspot.pl will be best for me.