Global Websites - Consultancies
Below is a list of best practices as it relates to website structure for global management consultancies. No information is available that relates only and specifically to the website structure of a global management consultant with multiple customer bases. To get at this information, I first included the location structure of the top 10 global management consultant firms in the world (as it relates to revenue from 2017). What follows is information as it pertains to best practices for content and layout of a management consultancy website, best practices for B2B and professional services websites, and best practices for global and multilingual websites.
TOP 10 GLOBAL Management CONSULTANT FIRMS
Please note, this list is inclusive of the top 10 global management consultant firms as it relates to reported revenue from 2017: 1: PwC — includes location based sites in addition to their main site, but doesn't have regional websites available. You are able to navigate to each location (country) through a location search bar on the top of each webpage. 2: Deloitte — includes location based sites in addition to their main site, but no regional websites are included. You are able to navigate to each location (country) through a dropdown menu on the top of each webpage. 3: Ernst & Young — includes location based sites in addition to their main site, but no regional websites are included. You are able to navigate to each location (country) through a dropdown menu on the top of each webpage. 4: KPMG — includes location based sites in addition to their main site, with the ability to navigate to country websites utilizing a regional dropdown menu. However, no regionally-specific webpages are available. 5: McKinsey & Company — includes location based sites in addition to their main site, with the ability to navigate to country websites by going to their locations page, utilizing a regional dropdown layout. However, no regionally-specific webpages are available. 6: Boston Consulting Group — includes location based sites in addition to their main site, utilizing a dropdown menu on the top of each webpage. The only regionally-specific webpages that are available are for Greater China (EN), and Greater China (ZH). 7: Accenture — includes location based sites in addition to their main site, but no regional websites are included. You are able to navigate to each location (country) through a dropdown menu on the top of each webpage. 8: IBM — includes one central page for all global locations, with no country or region-specific webpages. 9: Microsoft DMC — includes one central page for all global locations, with no country or region-specific webpages. 10: Booz Allen Hamilton — includes one central page for all global locations, with no country or region-specific webpages. However, you are able to view locations of individual countries within regional dropdown menus, but it only lists the address locations of each country, no specific country website. Given this information (7 out of 10 top global management consultant websites have separate country sites), it is safe to conclude that it is highly beneficial for a global management consultancy website to include location-specific webpages for each country they service, while regional-specific webpages don't seem to be pertinent to a successful consultancy firm.
BEST PRACTICES FOR A MANAGEMENT CONSULTING WEBSITE
Below are best practices as it relates to a management consulting website. While they don't pertain specifically to the structure to the website, they do highlight overall design and content best practices.
Blue is a popular color for business website templates, as it not only implies discipline and the ability to complete daily tasks, but "it is associated with power, confidence, stability, and authority (military and police uniforms are often dark blue)." Clean color schemes (minimalist layouts) with a light background is an ideal choice for a management consulting website, as the light (or white) background can easily be combined with other colors, including the brand colors of the company. Further, it helps to have an assorted color background for each section of a website. For example, United States may be a light blue background, while the United Kingdom is a light orange, and China is a dark blue. This helps the user realize they’ve navigated to a different content page. Along those lines, including diverse backgrounds for different content within the same webpage is beneficial for the user to locate information quickly, e.g. dark blue behind the contact information, and medium blue behind the overview section. Psychologists suggest that "it takes someone about half a second to form their initial opinion of you", so it's important that the first colors and layout a user sees can have a positive effect on their opinion.
Beyond the basic pages that every management consultancy website should include (about us, contacts, services, location, homepage), other ideas include current and potential clients, current and potential partners, job seekers, and investors. Including a page of consulting services, with easy-to-read and succinct information (e.g. bullet points) of your services allows users to easily understand what you offer, without having to browse through pages of text. Further, "if you don't prove your value within 10 seconds, most [users] will leave and go elsewhere", so you want to be sure to give your visitors a reason to stay on your page once they've landed there. The average visitor "will only read about a quarter of the content on any given page." In other words, make sure you're providing the most relevant and eye-catching content at the top of each page.
Below are a list of best practices (three) as they relate to generating the best content for a management consultancy website.
1: "Firms That Intelligently Integrate Thought Leadership Into Their Corporate Website Generate More Leads" For your user to really consider utilizing your business, it is important for them to not only see that you have the expertise to get the job done, but that you are staffed with fully capable individuals to carry out your needs, with past-experience successes to back it up. It’s suggested to utilize the 3P’s (perspective [thought leadership], people [bios], and projects [past-experience]). It’s important to showcase these items in a way that allows the user to see these items directly on the page with ease of reading, without having to search through multiple pages on site for understanding. While it isn’t suggested to gate all your content, as that can have a negative effect on your business, since users won’t want to give their information for basic understandings, gating some of your content “can actually improve lead generation.” For example, a website studied showed that with less than 5% of their total website content gated, over 75% of their leads were generated from that gated content. 3: "Firms That Use Interactive Content Generate More Engagement With Their Sites" Creating content that a user can interact with, that is customizable to their personal needs, is crucial for a successful website. For example, utilizing data visualization that allows your users to filter data as it relates to their interests, and then compiles that data into a visual graph for further understanding, is a wonderful way to increase your user engagement on site.
PROFESSIONAL B2B WEBSITE BEST PRACTICES
As no information is available as it specifically pertains to website best practices for a management consultant with multiple consumer bases, below is information as it relates to best practices for a professional services website. I found this relevant to include, as it can be tied in with professional services offered by a management consultancy website.
To create a connection with your audience, it is recommended to include professional information about your leadership and team. Be honest and upfront with your users, and tell them why working with you is the best option (avoid buzz phrases “such as ‘results-oriented’ or ‘proven-success’”, as these are impersonal statements). Show your users why they should trust you. If they know nothing about your firm and are visiting your site for the first time, why should they trust you? Customer testimonials (with real photos and names of people) is a wonderful way to build trust with your potential customers, as well as show examples of specific companies and projects your firm as successfully completed in the past. Linking to graphs and project overviews is a fantastic way to showcase your success. Include things about your leadership team that go beyond their work with the company. Have they spoken at national or international conferences before? Have they written any books or published studies on their work and expertise? If possible, include a small clip of your leadership speaking at a conference. It’s vital that your site content is constantly and consistently being updated. If your most recent project example you’ve listed as a success if from five years ago, consider adding updated successes (within 1-2 years) that show your continued expertise in your field. Remember who is reading your website. Try to keep your tone as conversational (yet still professional) as possible. Filling paragraphs full of potential words for SEO, or filling space with buzzwords can be a turnoff to potential customers, as it doesn’t connect with them on a personal level. Further, make sure you have mobile versions of your website that are consistently monitored for correct projection on phones. More and more people are utilizing their smartphones daily for business, and it’s important that they can access the same information on their phone as they could on a desktop. Create a call to action within your website, such as requesting further information, or a consultation with your firm. This will help with your leads of those seriously interested in doing business with you.
BEST PRACTICES FOR WEBSITES WITH GLOBAL REACH AND/OR MULTILINGUAL WEBSITES
As previously stated, no information is available as it relates to specifically global management consultancy websites, so I've included best practices for B2B websites that reach a global audience, and in most cases, are also multilingual.
BEST PRACTICES FOR AN INTERNATIONAL AND MULTILINGUAL WEBSITE
By utilizing a multilingual CMS (content management system), your users will be able to select which language they’d like to view the content in. Investing in a multilingual CMS will also make content management changes down the line streamlined and easier to complete. After a multilingual CMS is established, it is important to make sure your content is being translated using a professional translator. While Google Translate, for example, is quick and cost-efficient, the translations are not always accurate, and can misrepresent translated text and data. Instead, it is suggested the company hires a professional translator who can speak and write the language in question fluently, as well as has an understanding on the context of the language within the culture. With international domains, make sure you are registering them ahead of time. If someone else registers the company’s domain name abroad, “it can be difficult or impossible to obtain it.” This goes beyond a domain name with “.com” at the end, and is inclusive of top-level domains, such as “.net, .biz, and .info.” Further, some countries have country-specific top-level domains (e.g. “co.uk in the United Kingdom, or .ca in Canada"), and should also be registered ahead of time to avoid complications down the line. Ensuring you do your research and registration ahead of time will allow for a seamless experience when building out your international website. When designing a global website, it's important to keep in mind the following layout and content suggestions, in order to reach your target audience at an optimal level. Utilizing a global template will ensure your users have a seamless and consistent user experience across country websites, and is especially beneficial for clients and partners who work across numerous countries. If a user is on the United States page, and the partner information is on the left rail, it’s important to keep that consistent to say the Sweden page, as the user won’t have to relearn any navigation from country to country. “The global template should be thought of as an underlying infrastructure for the web design.” Try to avoid using culture-specific images, as certain fashion or poses in models could have negative connotations in one country, but not another Further, ensure that the navigation is relevant to all countries, and doesn’t include country-specific offerings (e.g. should only include top-level pages such as “about us, products, and services”). As it relates to a previously noted best practice, utilizing a professional translator is preferred over software such as “Google Translate”. For example, “Welcome Home” would be translated too literally with Google Translate for languages such as German and Russian, so that the string of characters involved becomes too long for the website template. Bringing in a professional translator will ensure that each translation is done with the lowest degree of expansion possible.
It’s recommended that the website can allow for text expansion by to 30% to 40% “when going from English to German, which is one of the more extreme examples of text expansion.” 35% is the target expansion percentage you want to aim for. If discussing text within a menu dropdown, it’s recommended to leave space for up to 40% expansion (e.g. the word “search” translates to "Rechercher” in French, and is almost twice as many characters). It’s important to test fonts during translation testing, to ensure that enough room available for text expansion. For example, Chinese fonts need to be displayed “at a point or two larger than Latin-based fonts”, in order for the user to easily read the characters. In the event machine translation is used over a professional translator, businesses need to ensure that their website has text that can be read by machines. For example, if text is utilizing Flash, or “embedded within visuals”, Google Translate will be unable to translate the text. Ensure that your website can account for the need to move the layout around, as it relates to languages that don’t read from left to right. For example, Arabic reads from right to left, so the entire webpage will need to be capable of flipping the order of the content to accommodate the readers.
As a review, best practices for a global management website should include providing separate site for each country, however regional websites are not necessary. Content and layout are extremely important for first impressions, as well as ensuring that your site can accommodate languages that don't read left to right. Utilizing a professional translator will ensure that your customers are reading text that isn't misconstrued due to translation errors by a software translator.