Japanese websites and Japanese website design
Cornish WebServices have now designed several websites in the Japanese language, with two shown below.
Websites in the Japanese language
The Japanese language has two directions in writing; either columns of text written top to bottom and stacked right to left (known as tategaki style), or left to right across the page (known as yokogaki style). The older website standards for HTML and CSS did not have full support for the tetegaki style of writing. This now supported within the latest CSS (cascading style sheets) but these are too many older versions around for much use to be of this in 2009.
Issues when designing Japanese websites
One important factor here is the server used for both development and to host the website. Some servers send default character sets to the browser, overwriting any character set defined within the webpage and this prevents the Japanese character sets from showing clearly.
Japan is one of the countries in which Google is not the dominant search engine. Yahoo is the leading Japanese search engine with a dominant market share - between 60%-880% in 2008 / 2009. Google is in second place with about 10-30% market share. Others such as MSN have a very small market share.
Japanese domain names
A Japanese domain name (.jp) is beneficial in terms of making the website look more Japanese to Japanese speakers. But this requires a Japanese postal address. There are sub domains within this top level domain for companies (.co.jp) and network providers (.ne.jp) for kaisha companies with an official registration in Japan or non Japanese companies registered as Gaikoku Kaisha.
Search Engine Marketing in Japanese
Japanese Yahoo uses the YST search algorithm which is actually quite different from the US or UK version of Yahoo search algorithm. Successful websites need to be written with the YST search algorithm in mind. Given the dominance of yahoo, search engine submission to Yahoo is very important, as is submission to Google. Whereas Google submission is quick and easy, submission to Yahoo for commercial websites is either slow or requires a fee of just over 50,000 yen for most websites (some market segments are much higher)
Looking for a company to translate and create your website in Japanese?
Cornish WebServices can provide a full translation, design, hosting and search marketing service in Japanese and many other languages. We always use natural language speakers for the translation work to give the best results.