Website localization is key to attaining a foothold in foreign markets so you need to make sure that you tick all the right boxes. Localization is vital to your business’ success, a correctly localized website attracts more traffic and increases click-through rates which improve conversion rates and inevitably sales.
In this guide, you will find a compilation of localization best practices and tips for multilingual and multi-regional websites.
An insight into website localization
Sometimes people mess up a little bit with this concept of Web localization so let’s start by clarifying this tricky term.
When we talk about “localization” and “translation” the first image that comes up in most people’s heads is the conversion of one language to another. But localization is much more than that!
According to a study conducted by Common Sense Advisory, if your website is not translated into the native language of your target audience, the customers coming to your site will exit faster even before you have time to register their views.
Whether you have an eCommerce site, a blog, or a company web page, localization will be an important step in reaching your desired international audience. In order to create the best user experience possible, it is vital that websites have all the necessary features to feel “natural” to their users so it is important not just translate the content but also perform localization and transcreation.
However, localizing a website can be complicated, but don’t be overwhelmed! In this post, we will provide you with seven best practices for tackling some of the challenges involved.
Know your international audience
The first step in web localization is to know who you are selling to, so it is vital to conduct specific research before deciding to take a step ahead.
To get to know your international buyer personas you need to make a research about the language they speak, their cultural background, traditions and buying habits.
By answering the following questions you will be able to get important insights about your audience:
- What are the buying habits and preferences of the target customers?
- What are the cultural and linguistic nuances to be kept in mind before localizing?
- Which are our competitors in the market?
- What are the target market’s growth rates?
- Can local buyers afford to buy your products?
Define your project dimensions
After you have outlined the scope of taking your business international, the next step is to explore inward and define the dimensions of your project.
When localizing, it is important to know that different countries bring in different localization challenges. Defining your project dimensions is a necessary step. This involves selecting the regions you want to target, setting the scope of your project and understanding the technologies required for localization.
Internationalize your website
After defining the scope of your project, the next step is the internationalization of your website.
Internationalization is the process of preparing your originally created website in other languages. This internationalization should be considered from the start as the website design, interface, layout, and coding will all be a part of this internationalization process.
To ensure smooth internationalization, it is important that your translators and programmers work together as it might seem a difficult task at the beginning but will ultimately pay off in the end.
Deliver a unique user experience
The key to successful localization for your website is taking care of user experience. It is necessary as it helps to maintain global branding and image.
Users with different cultures have different perceptions and preferences of web elements such as website layout, multimedia, and ease of navigation. For example, website users in Indonesia prefer websites with a lot of graphics and interactive features whereas American users tend to prefer simpler, text-based layouts.
Also, be careful with date, time and punctuation formats. Do they match widely accepted standards in the market you’re trying to reach? Do people spell out the names of months or use numerals?
It’s important to know the targeted cultural group’s values and cultural behaviors so research of the target audience is a necessary pre-requisite to website localization.
Implement your local SEO
Just like you have an SEO strategy for your original website, an SEO strategy for your localized website is also important. But this modification is not just about translating your keywords.
Different countries use different keywords and search terms so working with a native SEO specialist is mandatory for understanding the search term preferences of the target audience. An SEO strategy also involves optimizing your website for different search engines, depending on your target audience. Google may be the most popular search engine in the rest of the world, but not in China where Baidu is the boss or Yandex in Russia.
Hire a localization expert
A competent localization expert can be your biggest asset when localizing with your website. For that, the chosen localization agency should have experience not only in website translation but also in marketing strategies to ensure that your website is localized properly. Other criteria that the translation vendor must fulfill is to have native translators aware of the cultural issues and particularities of the country and marketers specialized in digital marketing to make your website well positioned in Google (or other search engines)search results.
Test, test, and re-test
With localization, as in all spheres, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make sure you do it right!
Run extensive tests and re-tests before going for the final launch of your website. For that, get down to work with native specialists to run a thorough test check that will include all localization as well as linguistic testing.
For localization testing, ensure that your website has the right encryption algorithms, entry fields, hyperlinks, form functionality, and hardware compatibility.
For linguistic testing, ensure that there are no misspelled words, offensive words, images, or untranslated text strings.
Testing will ensure you are able to make that first lasting impression on the new audience.
These best practices are a good starting point for helping you through the website localization process, though we highly recommend you hire an experienced, localization marketing agency that can seize the reins and successfully lead you to international markets!
Do you want to learn more about Spanish website localization? Nementio Inbound Marketing Agency can help you with your localization strategy. Ask us how we can help you grow globally, easily. Schedule a conversation now!