A few common questions are often brought up by our clients regarding how to set up a Chinese-language website. Should it be a stand-alone website or a subdomain of their existing website? Should they register a .CN domain name, if so, how?
Creating a Chinese-language website to help promote your business in China requires good planning. Here we just focus on what you need to consider regarding registering a .CN domain, pros and cons of hosting your Chinese-language website as a subdomain or a subdirectory.
How to Register a China-specific .CN Domain Name (ccTLD) for your Chinese language website
Though it is not a requirement to register a China country-specific .CN domain for your Chinese-language website, many businesses choose to register and use a China country code top-level domain (ccTLD), i.e. .CN domain to make their Chinese-language website be more distinguishable and memorable for Chinese users, and let search engines know that China is the geographic area the site is intended for.
Advantages of having a .CN domain.
1. Clear geotargeting, easy to remember,
2. Independent from your English website, easy to manage.
3. Requiring no assistance from the IT team managing your English website.
4. Flexible to choose where and how you would like to host site.
1. Potential availability issue of .CN domain if you want to use the same domain name currently used for your English site.
2. A small annual domain hosting fee.
How to register a .CN domain for your Chinese-language website
1. Go to one of the domain registrars which provide .CN domain registration service, such as https://wanwang.aliyun.com/domain/ or www.xinnet.com, and search for the availability of the .CN domain name that you want to have. The cost of a .CN domain is only about than $10/year.
2. China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) requires the following documents for .CN domain registration. You need to submit these documents to the domain registrar within a few days after you completed the online portion of the .CN domain registration process, which is an extra step different from requirements of domain registration process in U.S. and Canadian domain registrars, such as Godaddy, Network Solutions, Hostgator, etc.
1) Completed .CN domain application forms with the business stamp.
2) A photocopy of business registration document.
3) Information about the applicant and contact information.
How to host your Chinese language website as a subdomain of your existing English website
Making your Chinese-language website a subdomain of your existing English website which is a generic top-level domain (gTLD) is another common way to set up your Chines-language website, such as in the format of http://china.yourbusiness.com (the subdomain name "china" can be replaced by anything you want to use for your Chinese-language website). The advantage of using a subdomain to host your Chinese-language website is making it an integral part of your corporate website, which gives it the authenticity and can be managed by a single CMS application.
Advantages of using subdomain for your Chinese language website
1. Giving authenticity of your Chinese language website.
2. No availability issue of subdomain name for your Chinese language website.
3. Your Chinese language website is independent of your English website which makes it is flexible and easier to make changes.
4. Flexibility in choosing hosting server and location.
5.Geo-targeting can be achieved using webmaster tools.
1. Geo-targeting need to be manually configured with Webmaster tools.
2. A Subdomain name is not as easy to remember to end-users as is to top level domain name.
How to make your Chinese language website as a subdirectory of your existing English website
Some companies, especially those develop their muti-language website in-house and use sophisticated content management system, sometimes choose to host their Chinese-language website as a subdirectory of their English website in the format as http://www.yourbusiness.com/ch. This method requires more involved IT support and unless you have an IT team that handles the multi-language website, this may not be the best choice to host your Chinese-language website as a subdirectory.
Advantages of using subdirectory to host your Chinese language website
1. Giving authenticity of your Chinese-language website as it is an integral part of your English website.
2. Use one content management system (CMS) to manage contents of all different languages, centralized content management.
1. Geo-targeting need to be manually configured with Webmaster tool.
2. Closely coupled with English website, structural changes can be complicated.