34 International Websites with 16 Languages

How do you manage a CMS across 52 countries with 34 websites and 16 languages - with over 2000 contributors and just two Global administrators? The Global Marketing team needed to see a common interface across the local market websites, and allow all types of pages (news, blogs, case studies, articles) to be shared across the websites - in multiple languages, retaining categories of multiple levels, tags and assets - yet controlled and distributed by them to all websites, with a click of a button.

“...commitment to delivery as well as understanding the needs of the client are first rate....”


The Challenges

  1. To provide a mobile responsive interface for custom controls and CMS - including paging, image upload, filtering, categorised results.
  2. To allow for template website publications, including news articles, case studies, blog posts, features.
  3. Twitter map with up-to 12-handles polling in from Twitters newly restricted API.
  4. To provide a content management system which allowed for tagging across relating content of all types.
  5. To provide a categorisation system that is set by the local markets and allows for translation on to other languages or terms, but retains the underlying ID for cross-website publishing.
  6. To present expertise and sectors as categories that can be selected by local markets and display as menu nodes within their website.
  7. To automatically present cross-related news, case studies, blogs and features under each sector or expertise page.
  8. To provide various languages and scripts such as Cyrillic and Arabic fonts.
  9. To localise regional settings such as date formats.
  10. Providing a search engine that enables search across multiple language encoding.
  11. To provide an enterprise search function to present results found in pages and metadata.
  12. To build a paging system for the display of results for News, Blogs, Case Studies, etc.
  13. To provide a tag filtering system to allow a user to find related content, allowing for language translations.
  14. To provide tagging that is removed when specific only to Local Markets.
  15. To incorporate a staging site for content publishers to preview data.
  16. To workflow content from a Global master site to local market sites.
  17. To workflow English content from local market sites to Global (without publishing back down to the source site).
  18. To redirect local market domains to a "holding pages" in front of the Global website, for any local market domains that are without a website.
  19. To provide local market admin webinar training and ongoing support.
  20. To provide 24/7, 15-minute break-fix response with automated maintenance on home page loss.
  21. To provide hosting.

Designing the Backend

What was behind the scene was important with this website; a key requirement was a pool of content that is advertised within each local market website when published from the Global site - and vice versa. Any content published on the local market websites (in English or another local language (think Switzerland)) would also be advertised to the Global, which in turn, would push out back to the local markets (with a tracking token to ensure we did not to start a cyclic reaction). When content was presented to a local market website that required translation, the assigned Website Translator were sent a task through CRM to their mailbox.

Tags and Categories - Lost in Translation

The PR company had a problem with local markets having different terms for the same tags, so we developed a new tagging system that allowed local administrators to change the predefined terms in to localised phrases (or languages). So when the content pool was copied from site to site, the tags were upheld, but immediately presented to the local market website using the translated language or term. Not only the tags relied upon this, but the menu nodes such as top-level areas called Expertise and Sectors - where each country could have the same specialisations, but may just need to change the term - so when a user clicked on a specialisation they were always presented with related case studies, news, blogs specific to that specialisation, if not that local market.

Search and Filtered by Tag

We developed upon the Lucerne search to enable each local market site to maintain a search index for its own language and script - be it Latin, Arabic or Cyrillic. Each type of page was presented in a grouped view for the user to identify quicker. Tags allowed users to view all related content in the same view, not just Blog Posts, but News Articles, Case Studies, and Features.

Custom CMS with CSS Styling and Image Database

Using Telerik Controls, all websites shared a common image database to select from. Each edit on an existing image saved a new version for re-use without effecting the original version and its formatting. To retain the brand across the global network, the page templates had specific controls enabled allowing users a degree of freedom - or dictating the styling for main elements such as the title, carousels, sliders, quotations, etc. Where users had the ability to format, such as in the body content, the styles were predefined and easy to apply - for example, when adding a side bar image with captions or an inline quotation. Categories were predefined and controlled by the Global Admin team, and easily selected from predictive text or via a tree-lookup control. 

Training and Guides Designed for each Role

Three roles were identified; Global Admin, Local Admin and Contributors. Each were provided an in-depth user guide on the areas they needed step-by-step instruction's upon. Each page template in the CMS came with videos taking the user through the possible techniques and styling for each input control and the ongoing use - for instance, that tags and categories were saved as Meta keywords, Intro Paragraph as Description. Additionally, the Admin team was taken through webinar training to suit the global time zones with sandpit environments to test with.