This is the first of a five-part series.

Today, we’re seeing more locally-based businesses rely on the global online marketplace for long-term sustainability and growth. According to a study conducted by Interactive Media in Retail Group, global ecommerce is expected to grow to $1.25 trillion by 2013. Now more than ever, it’s important for small businesses to globally optimize their website to resonate with international audiences everywhere.

Below are 2 of 10 tips for small business owners to effectively “globalize” their website:

1.)   Start with your .Biz Domain
A recognized and trusted name around the globe, .Biz is a great place to start internationalizing your business. When choosing your .Biz domain name, make sure to choose a name that represents your global brand. Take some time to research names across the worldwide web to ensure that your name is not easily confused with a competitor. You may even want to test the name among some of your international target audiences to ensure that it has the same meaning across cultures.

Regardless of the name you choose, make sure to keep it short and easy to remember for your customers and prospects.

2.) Visual appearance:
Following your domain name, your website’s visual appearance is the first thing your visitors will notice when they arrive to your web page. Certain colors and images have multiple meanings across cultures – so choose these very carefully and test, test, test. If you’re using photos of real people, be sensitive to the nationalities you are representing, in the regions you are representing them. Other elements to consider include user experience such as simple navigation (horizontal is recommended) and organized content, plain font (Arial or Calibri) and HTML5 (JavaScript is not supported on all platforms).

As more and more web users around the world are accessing the internet through thousands of different mobile devices, all websites should now be built with “responsive design” (a design that optimizes design of websites for each mobile device). With responsive design, small businesses can ensure easy readability and a consistent look across all devices and platforms, no matter the size or quality of screen.

Stay tuned for our next four posts in this series – covering additional tips and tools to internationalize your website, including IP targeting, “glocal” SEO, language translation, security and more.

>> Read part 2 here