Aon Corp. creates unified, but still flexible, international Web presence

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Risk Management and insurance underwriting consulting company Aon Corp. services companies in 120 countries. Customers and prospects can find the company on the Web through more than 80 country sites, each of which describes the services and products available in that particular country.

Five years ago, the company had far fewer sites, which were designed and run by individual offices. There wasn't a single corporate voice, and that was a problem, said Ed Stojakovic, the company's interactive marketing manager.

"We wanted to have anyone coming to the sites get a similar experience no matter what," he said. "We wanted everything to share the same structure and content, and have a similar look and feel."

Stojakovic and his team created what he calls a common framework that all Aon sites were based on, and installed a content management system to post pages universally once they have been translated by Translation Works!, Aon's translation service.

Local marketing managers still get their say, he said. Though the corporate team creates a structure and a template, local managers are asked to provide nuances-regional touches, he said. For example, they can insert images that are a standard size but better reflect their culture. Contact information and country-specific data also come directly from local managers.

Local managers' takes on individual cultures is important when it comes to navigation, he said.

"We took consistent words and terms from around the site-search and go, for example-and asked our local managers to give us a translation of the terms," Stojakovic said. "We gave them the opportunity to give us the appropriate verb and action, which is better than a straight translation [that] might not be the right slang for an audience."

Once the content is created, all the sites are compared and content is approved by Stojakovic and his team. All sites are interconnected, allowing users to move from the main site to individual country sites without feeling as if they are moving into a new company's site. The structure also allows for deep internal searches and relevant external searches that bring up content from all 80 Aon sites, he said.

"We do quite well in organic search. We rank quite well, and the ability to modify content across sites gives us the tools to expedite dissemination to all our local offices," he said.

This summer, Stojakovic said each country's content manager will get the opportunity to make their site even more relevant by making sure nothing on the site is outdated. When anything new is posted, it will be dated, and content managers will be asked to own or assign ownership to that page.

"Then, if a page is not updated by the time a year goes by, there will be an e-mail notification sent out to the page owner that it should be updated," he said.

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