Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Forum Moderators: ergophobe

Message Too Old, No Replies

Multiple website versions for different countries



2:55 am on Jan 21, 2014 (gmt 0)


I'm not sure this is a CMS question, but I'd like some advice on a project I'm working on and thought this the best place to start.

I am creating a website for a non-profit organization based in the USA. The org has other branches currently in Canada and the UK as well as the USA. I will have three different versions of the website to accommodate slight variations in spelling for the different countries and some different menu options.

Not sure how to approach this. When I have "News" to update, I will have to manually update for each site. Should I create a dynamic website just for updating the news section? I am not familiar with PHP and only some experience with MySQL. If this organization has other countries involved in the future, I will have many different versions of the same website and this is going to be time-consuming.

Aside from all of this, I am going to have to figure out auto-country detection and place each website under it's own sub-domain.

Any help or advice on my approach to this website would be very helpful to me.

Thanks in advance.


6:11 pm on Jan 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator ergophobe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I've worked on a couple of multi-lingual Drupal sites lately.

The simpler the site, the easier it is to get all the UI elements translated.

I have to say, when I consider the hassle of maintaining a multilingual site and the dramatically increased difficulty of building the site, I just cannot see putting that amount of effort into dealing with the Canada/US/UK differences in English.

I hope this doesn't come off as rude, but honestly I think that is absolutely bonkers unless you have a big budget in both time and money to spend on the site. Since this is a non-profit, I'm going to guess no.

Now if you need it to be in French for Canada, that's another matter.

Also, the "auto-country" detection is usually going to be based on IP. There are various off-the-shelf things you can use, but it's an inexact science and can lead to user frustration. For example, I speak English and French and only a little German. But when I travel to French-speaking Switzerland, many sites (including Google) do IP geolocation, find me in CH and serve up everything in German.

So personally, I would have a domain (or subdomain) for each language, possibly each country if you want each country to have different content and use that as the primary means.

You'll notice some huge companies have a landing page that first-time visitors hit and they select their country and then set a cookie and henceforth get shunted to their proper countyr page until they clear their cache.


8:00 pm on Jan 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thank you for your reply. I couldn't agree with you more re: minor differences in English between the UK, US and Canada. This is not my idea...it is the UK branch that feels it's important, but I think I am going to go with one spelling as I volunteer for this and do not have the time to research how things are spelled differently in different countries.

As far as the auto-country: yes, I've done some research on this. Currently there is a landing page, but the president felt this was deterring visitors. I disagree and just might keep it as such.
Thanks again. You've helped clarify some things for me. :)


2:52 am on Jan 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator ergophobe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I volunteer for this

I got into web development back in the 1990s while volunteering for two not-for-profits. As a previous webmaster for one of them said, "The most thankless job I've ever had was maintaining the ? site for free."

You'd think that when you charge money, people would think they could demand more. But the truth is it's the opposite. When it's a paid gig your side of the conversation goes like this

Oh yeah I could do that for $12000...

What? What's that? It's super important to have three different languages to cover language differences between US, Canada and the UK? Yeah, no problem. We can do that. It will be $19,000....

But wait, what do you mean it's not that important?

In other words, they think it's super important when it's your time and money. They don't attach a cost and value to your work because, well, it's volunteer work.

I will say that I have worked with terrific volunteer coordinators who made me feel like the work I did is literally saving the planet and changing the world for the better and you feel like there's nothing better you can do with your time. And I've worked with other who make you feel like they have no respect for you and your labor and they have no clue that you are donating thousands and thousands of dollars of free work.

At a certain point, you have to set boundaries and say "This is what I can do for free. This is how much it will cost to have everything you're asking for. What would you like me to do?"


3:01 am on Jan 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

Good advice and very true. I think I will do what I think is best and anything over and above I will say that I'm unable. Thanks for the excellent food for thought.



5:22 am on Jan 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator ergophobe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I am pleased to be able to serve as an example of how not to handle this ;-)

Featured Threads

Hot Threads This Week

Hot Threads This Month