How to design a website for Chinese visitors

Jing Zhou

When entering the Chinese market, one of the first things you’ll need is a website. Perhaps you already have an English website, or perhaps you’re planning on creating a completely new website for the Chinese market, but either way you’ll have to answer the same questions: How can I better tailor my website to the habits of Chinese Internet users? How can I make them like us? How can I make them want to buy our products? These are essential questions to ask yourself at the beginning of the website localization process.

Western marketers  often ask us what type of website style and layout Chinese Internet users prefer. Both Chinese and non-Chinese marketers probably have an idea about what Chinese Internet users like – huge pages, tons of links, ads everywhere, floating boxes, scrolling text, etc.

In my experience as a website user and Chinese copywriter, the typical,  Chinesewebsite  homepage is usually not the ideal design in the eyes of Chinese Internet users. This type of design may be useful for some types of websites and some user demographics, but in general this type of super busy style is used much too much in China. A great number of Chinese Internet users welcome designs that are clean, simple and elegant.

Here are some of the preferences of Chinese Internet users to help guide the web design process for Chinese-language websites:

  • A delightful, simple design. Design and layout matters.
  • A clear topic and clear navigation. An appropriate website title, page headers and navigation will help draw visitors further into the site. A well-organized, hierarchical structure makes it easy to navigate the site.
  • Fresh, professional content. Great, fresh content makes the site look alive, useful and trustworthy.
  • Easy access to the website staff. To make it easy to gain more information or make a purchase, a contact page is necessary. For eCommerce  websites, it’s best to have an online chat feature on the site.

Of these factors, the more you can meet, the greater the number of visitors that convert. Don’t be scared to design a website for Chinese visitors that doesn’t look like the stereotypical ‘Chinese style’ websites of your competitors.

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