Global expansion has been the goal of many Taiwanese brands, but only a few have successfully appealed to global markets such as Giant, Acer, and Foxconn (Hon Hai).
While most companies have taken the first step and established digital channels such as websites, social media, and e-commerce platforms to explore new markets overseas, many are not aware that their websites could seem overly complex and hard to use for foreign audiences. That could actually lead to a poor brand image, reduced site traffic, higher ad costs, and loss of prospective customers and revenue.
Having observed countless Taiwanese websites, we identified the 7 most common website issues that often hinder Taiwanese brands from resonating with global audiences.
1. Unclear Website Purpose
A great website can do a lot of heavy lifting for your business and significantly streamline your workflow, but only if you define a clear purpose for it to serve.
For companies that target global markets, the purpose of your website could be:
- To enhance the company’s online exposure
- To appeal to foreign target audiences
- To offer valuable information that accommodates the local culture
- To generate leads or increase sales overseas
- To maintain healthy relationships with stakeholders worldwide, and more
But we found many Taiwanese brands seem to only think about “launching an (English) website” without any other plans to appeal to global markets. That alone will not do any of the above, instead, it often becomes the cause of a series of issues afterward.
A lack of website objectives and purpose can be dangerous for brands and possibly lead to a poor brand image and a lower profit margin because it leaves too many important elements unclear.
- Who you target
- How you should communicate
- What key message to convey
- What actions to drive
- How to measure success
To achieve your business growth strategically, you need to set a clear purpose and a few success metrics for your website, evaluate the performance and make adjustments over time.
💡 Quick Checks
- What is the primary purpose of your website?
- What are the key success metrics for your website?
- How does your current web design support your business to reach its goal?
2. Unorganized Content & Information Architecture
Another prevalent issue we found on many Taiwanese websites is that users cannot learn about what a brand does and the highlights of its offerings within seconds.
This is problematic because people’s attention span is short and web visitors will only spend about 55 seconds on a site, according to Contentsquare, a digital experience company. So if Taiwanese brands cannot effectively convey the best of their businesses and entice their audience to visit the desired pages right away, they might lose a substantial amount of prospective customers.
Below are some possible causes of this issue and some suggestions for Taiwanese companies to improve.
- Lacking a key message or too many messages — Key messages are the main points you want your audience to see first, remember, and react to. They should be cherry-picked, ideally shorter than a sentence, and visible without scrolling above-the-fold.
- Unscannable content structure — Eyetracking studies suggested people are far more likely to scan than read word by word. So make sure your web content has a clear, hierarchical structure with noticeable headings and subheadings, places information up front, employs formatting techniques like bullet lists and bold text, and uses simple language.
- Mysterious or confusing navigation — Easy navigation was voted as the most important website feature by 94% of the 612 respondents in a 2021 Clutch survey. Poorly designed or hidden navigation not only affects user experience but also causes reduced discoverability on search results, which can subsequently lead to lower sales and poor brand loyalty. Taiwanese brands need to examine and streamline their website navigation regularly.
- Lack of critical information — The information most of your audience looks for is a must-have on your website, so be sure it can be found quickly and easily. Take a restaurant, for example, the bare minimum is probably the brand name, menu, address, and hours of operation.
- Too tech-driven and specification-focused — Industry jargon often creates barriers in communication. Even in a B2B context, you can never assume your audience is an expert. Therefore, using simple, relatable words and focusing on customer benefits rather than features, can help you deliver clear messages and be more memorable.
- Misspellings and grammar errors — Over 90% of e-commerce and software as a service (SaaS) companies have possible spelling or grammar errors on their homepage, according to proofreading agency EditorNinja. These mistakes can prompt 85% of web visitors to abandon a site and lower consumers’ purchase intention by around 80%. Ads with typos were also found to reduce clicks by up to 70%, which in turn can trigger Google’s algorithm to charge a higher cost per click — an extra 10% in the US and 20% in the UK. So just proofread your website!
💡 Quick Checks
- Is it easy to scan your website and learn about your business instantly?
- What is the key message of your website?
- What information do visitors look for the most on your website? Is there any missing information?
- Is your website easy to navigate?
- Do you use a lot of business jargon on your website?
- Do you check for misspellings and grammar errors on your website?
3. Cluttered & Complex Visual Design
If you have visited some Taiwanese websites such as PChome and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you probably recognize the densely packed text, contrasting colors, and countless columns with tiny images all over the place.
These busy web designs are by no means a coincidence, but often stem from a common belief that space is precious. Some Asian customers also appreciate high-density information as a way for businesses to show honesty and credibility. As a result, many Taiwanese companies tend to squeeze as much content into their websites to maximize efficiency.
But research suggested such crowded web designs may not help users pick up more information, on the contrary, it tends to overwhelm and distract people from their original tasks. Many found these jam-packed pages hard to use, as they often miss features, spend more time navigating, and consequently feel more hesitant and anxious.
Taiwanese companies should also note that foreign audiences are reported more likely to be annoyed and scared off by these usability issues, even though locals seem to be relatively tolerant. Thus, it may be better for Taiwanese brands, especially those targeting non-locals, to simplify their web layout and adjust content to accommodate users in local contexts.
💡 Quick Checks
- What columns, buttons, or functions do people use the most on your website? Is there any overlap?
- What columns, buttons, or functions do people use the least on your website? Are they necessary?
- Can users find information with ease on your website?
- What do users feel about your website? Are the emotions ideal?
4. Poor Website Discovery
Even though many businesses in Taiwan have turned to digital technologies such as websites and social media to interact with their existing customers amid the pandemic, many struggle to explore new markets due to poor website discovery.
Website discoverability or SEO (search engine optimization) is about creating content that is easy for search engines to understand and present in search results, so your target audience can find you easily online. To show up in searches, you need three things — authority, relevance, and user experience.
Authority deals with the quantity and quality of external pages linked to your site. If many people direct their audience to your pages, Google will consider your site more likely to be trustworthy and capable of providing accurate, reliable information, thus ranking you higher in search results. To earn those links, you need relevant content.
Relevance is about how relevant your website is to a topic. A Clutch survey showed that about 50% of users would leave a website permanently if they find the content irrelevant. There are many detailed tips you can take to increase the relevance of your site, including:
- Apply proper keywords
- Provide in-depth information
- Create a good site architecture with internal linking, and more
But we found the most common pain point that hinders Taiwanese companies from expanding globally is a lack of dedicated pages using a local language or well-translated English. Most businesses just google-translate or copy the whole design of their home country’s site, including the text and visuals regardless of cultural differences. And that often leads to weird wording or irrelevant content which lowers the site’s ranking and reduces traffic.
User experience is a more encompassing pillar that touches on:
- If a website provides highly relevant content
- If the content is sufficient to answer the intent of a user’s query
- If the site links to other relevant sources and related topics
- If the page loads quickly
💡 Quick Checks
- Authority: Make sure you build relevant backlinks from reputable sources to your website
- Relevance: Make sure the content of your pages match your META titles and descriptions
- User experience: Make sure your content has proper hierarchal HTML structure and tagging
5. Poor Website Speed & Performance
In the previous section, we mentioned user experience is another pillar that has a great impact on SEO, and site speed is a key contributing factor. While Taiwan is among the top places in the world with fast internet, according to cable.co.uk, web design can play an even bigger role in determining your load times.
Google in 2018 found that 53% of mobile users will leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. But guess what? Mobile webpages on average need 15.3 seconds, and that can make online shoppers 62% less likely to make a purchase. Long response time also increases bounce rates, averaging at 13% for loads under three seconds and mounting up to almost 60% after nine seconds.
On the bright side, Deloitte found by just speeding up 0.1 seconds, consumers on average are likely to spend 9.2% more. A one-second improvement can even boost the conversion rate by around 27%.
If your site speed is above two seconds, here are some common web design issues among many Taiwanese websites that may be impeding your site speed.
- Lack of lazy loading (AJAX) — Instead of loading only the content users need, some Taiwanese websites load the full page once visitors arrive, resulting in increased bandwidth and resource usage that slow down site speed.
- Non-optimized images and videos — Large, unoptimized images and videos can take forever to load and your users won’t wait for them. To speed up, companies should resize and compress the files while preserving the quality. Using keywords to name the files and add alt tags are also beneficial to SEO.
- No content delivery network (CDN) — A CDN distributes content to multiple data centers around the world and ensures users worldwide can load web pages quickly. Without it, it can take a lot more seconds for a foreign user to load your page. Hence it is a must-have for those with a global audience.
💡 Quick Checks
- How long does it take to load your website (test your site speed here)? Is it under two seconds?
- Do you apply lazy loading on your website?
- Are the images and videos on your website optimized?
- Do you have a CDN that covers your global markets?
6. Outdated Content
There is nothing more embarrassing than having an unmaintained website — outdated company information or copyright date, obsolete products and services, empty or stale news section, broken pages and links, former employee profiles, and more. This happens to so many websites of Taiwanese companies as if it does no harm.
But in fact, outdated content not only damages the image and reputation of Taiwanese brands, it also hurts the companies’ visibility on search engines. Google’s latest Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines pinpointed that inaccurate, outdated, or meaningless information is all considered low quality, which in turn lowers the sites’ rank in search results.
We also noticed a common reason for many unmaintained websites in Taiwan is a lack of content management systems (CMS). As many Taiwanese companies do not consider how to maintain and constantly update their websites when they do web design, many brands end up having no access to CMS or encountering difficulties in providing updates and adjustments on their websites.
💡 Quick Checks
- Do you constantly update your website and actively check for outdated content?
- Do you have access to your CMS? Are you familiar with its function?
- Have you experienced any difficulties in content management?
7. Insecure Websites, Help!
Lack of SSL Certificate
Have you opened a Taiwanese website and found a warning message saying "The site's security certificate is not trusted!" or "Your connection is not private"? This does not necessarily mean the site is malicious, but mostly happens if it lacks a valid SSL certificate, suggesting the information on the site is not encrypted. We have seen this warning message scare away visitors to some friendly Taiwanese websites.
SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a security protocol that creates an encrypted connection between a web server and a web browser. It is important for businesses because an SSL certificate helps secure online transactions, keep customer information private, prevent hackers from creating a fake version of the site, and convey trust to users. An easy way to identify SSL-secured websites is by the "HTTPS" in their URL instead of "HTTP”.
Even though most Taiwanese websites nowadays do install an SSL certificate, many are not aware of the validity period and forget to renew it every one or two years. This is one of the common issues we observed that results in low traffic and poor online visibility for Taiwanese companies.
Lack of Data Protection
Consumers worldwide have growing concerns about data privacy and Taiwanese companies must address this need promptly by enhancing their web design to stay favorable and competitive.
According to the 2022 Consumer Privacy Survey by Cisco, a digital communications technology company, 89% of the 2,600 participants across Asia Pacific, Europe, and America care about data privacy, especially when it comes to AI applications. Most importantly, 37% of the respondents on average, up from 34% two years ago, have already switched to companies that better protect their privacy, with the highest percentage in India (68%) and China (53%).
This means that Taiwanese companies must create and actively maintain a safe online environment by complying with the Personal Data Protection Act and being transparent about their data practices.
Here are some web design elements that businesses in Taiwan can incorporate to enhance their data practices and build consumer trust.
- Notify purposes of data collection and seek consent from users
- Ensure accuracy of personal data and allow correction once requested
- Be transparent and provide information about data protection policies, practices, and complaint process on your website to help users understand how the company uses their data
- Provide contact information for personal data-related inquiries and respond as soon as possible
💡 Quick Checks
- Does your website have a valid SSL certificate?
- Does your website obtain users’ consent to collect their data?
- Does your website have transparent protocols to protect users’ data?
Web design is all about being user-friendly — offering valuable information, streamlining users’ overall experience and protecting their personal data. From a business’ point of view, creating happy users ensures your business remains desirable, profitable, and competitive.
Therefore, we encourage you to start evaluating your website with the above checklists — not only to appeal to new markets, but also to provide a better experience for your existing users.
Need a health check for your website?
We would love to help you with your website. Get in touch with us and for a free website audit! In the report, we will cover:
- The strengths of your website that help you stand out
- The weaknesses of your website that pull your customers back
- The potential issues or limitations that restrict your growth potential
- The opportunities that we think you should seize