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Country specific content

Will Shaman

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I have a site (theolyn.com) I'm building in CC6.0.12. We're based in the UK and prices are in GBP. However, we're taking more sales from the USA and would like to offer an alternative browsing experience there that is more America-friendly.

The solution I'd like is:

  • Some sort of script that can identify a visitor's IP address and forward them to a sub-directory of the site as appropriate, so everybody sees the UK site unless they're from the USA, in which case they're forwarded to theolyn.com/us.
  • Having identified a visitor as US-based, prices will then be shown in USD, rather than GBP.
  • The ability to price products in different currencies precisely, so that a product that costs £349.99 can be specified as $449.99, instead of the less customer-friendly conversion of $453.29 (as it happens to be today — it will be slightly different tomorrow). Setting enticing prices in GBP is great, but it's much less enticing to Americans if the price is some awkward conversion, instead of a priced tweaked to be enticing to them.

Does anybody know how I can make my site US-friendly, please?

Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to help.

UPDATE: I note I was in touch with bsmither a while ago on the topic of setting specific prices in different currencies on a per-product basis — see thread here:

Assuming he gets back to me with a useful response, I'm just left with the problem of identifying and redirecting users based on IP address. Fingers crossed!

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Working with the plan to have a completely separate installation of CubeCart for each language detected, I think the easiest solution would be a Rewrite rule in the .htaccess file.

I find several solutions on a Google search for htaccess "accept-language".


Another approach would be to detect the language used (by IP is good, see this mod for how it might be able to be done in CC6), then use that to switch the database used.

The same store code and skin would be used, but the pertinent data in a separate database is used.

Having two databases would be problematic, however, regardless if having to distinct stores -- unless you do not want the exact same products and categories for both.

But if you do, the second database can be "views" of the first database, with certain columns of certain tables not being part of the view. That will be tricky, time consuming, and require a good understanding of views and how to make sure they are updatable to setup manually.

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Thanks very much bsmither and Dirty Butter for your responses.

As far as I can see, the main disadvantage of having my entire site duplicated for the American market is really only one of maintenance. Every time I create a new product or change a price, I'd have to do it twice, although there are not that many products and not many more likely to be developed, so this isn't a big issue. I'd also have to duplicate any other new features I might want to install, and mods and plugins would have to be bought twice (as well as my domain name, obviously).

The one other slight disadvantage would be subscriptions — I would presumably have to maintain two different subscriber databases, so someone logging in to the US site would not have the same privileges on the UK site unless they also made an account there. This I see as a minor drawback as I anticipate the audiences being pretty discrete. Heck, it even gives me the possibility of opening a second MailChimp account, thus doubling my allowed subscription there to 4,000.

But the advantages seem to far outweigh the disadvantages:

  • It's simple and quick to set up — the way I organise things in my UK site would just be copied over to the US site and any minor alterations would be made as necessary.
  • I don't have to worry about any complex scripting or other fancy footwork — the US site works just as easily as the UK site.
  • I have absolute and independent control over pricing. This is a huge advantage, given that CubeCart doesn't yet seem to come close to having a way of handling this without complicated (and therefore potentially expensive or problematic) coding.
  • Because the sites are totally independent, I can make my US site more appropriate for a US audience — they seem to like brighter colours, bigger flashier banners, etc., while in the UK a more restrained approach is definitely preferred. There's a mistrust here of the US preference for what's seen as a “hard sell” and it would be good to accommodate this cultural difference.
  • I can still have all payments made into the same PayPal account.

As for Dirty Butter's comment about Google possibly seeing the two sites as duplicate content, I'm not clear about the consequences of this. The two sites would have different domain names (theolyn.com and theolyncortens.com) and it's true that 95% of the content is likely to be the same on both (though I may adjust the spelling on the US site for words like “favourite/favorite” and “colour/color”, etc.) But does Google apply a penalty for this? Or is there some other downside to this?

Thanks again for your valued input.


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A duplicate content penalty from Google is a very strong possibility if you follow this suggestion of having two almost identical sites - it could potentially cause one or both sites to have greatly reduced SERPS and can even cause one or both sites to be excluded completely from the index.

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21 hours ago, Dirty Butter said:

As I understand nothing of how to make such things work, I would like to ask if having these language specific sites would be seen by Google as duplicate content.

After a little research I see there are a number of metatags that are specifically aimed at search engines. A couple I could drop in to the US site would be…

<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">

…causing search engines to neither index nor follow the content of that particular version of my site. Apparently…

<meta name="robots" content="none">

…is a shorthand way of doing the same job.

This information came from https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/79812 although the information applies to all search engines, not just Google (good to know when more and more users are realising Google's not the only or best search engine).

Given that my plan would be for my UK site to reside under the domain theolyn.com, while the US-specific site would have the domain theolyncortens.com, I need to investigate whether having the US site effectively invisible to search engines would put me at a disadvantage there when it comes to potential clients searching from within the US. My hunch is they would not, as the products and Theolyn Cortens are what people would be searching for and these would all return results from the UK site wherever one is, as at present. However, if I have a prominent link to the US site on my UK site, Americans can easily switch if they find the UK site first. Worth finding out what the impact would be though, anyhow.

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