As the world’s largest logistics company, DHL does business in 141 countries using a single “master” that then gets localized into 42 languages. With so many countries and languages to consider, how does the company manage its global web presence?  We evaluated DHL’s website, and spoke with Thorsten “TJ” Michel, who oversees the global web efforts from Bonn, to learn more.

Most of DHL’s content is stable with occasional updates and new items. Until a major re-launch last year, the company used a shared infrastructure with local control – staff in each country had access to the CMS but managed their content locally. According to Michel, “This approach had the challenge of maintaining a consistent global brand appearance.” The company built a new English-language site template with all core content (the “English master”). Country offices used the template to perform their own translations and local adaptations using local marketing staff.

After the re-launch, instead of training and supporting editorial resources in 141 countries, the company brought content management and authoring experts together into three regional teams. Country-level site owners now work through assigned experts in those central teams to update and add new content on local sites. Some countries have sufficient clout and resources to add new pages, but they still need approval – and they provide an English equivalent that becomes part of the local site as well.

“The local language website is the one people go to when they call up the URL, but from the management perspective, the country web managers provide us with the English copy change plus the local language change. So, we see the English, sign off, and publish it in both languages,” Michel explains.

Read more: Common Sense Advisory