15 Secrets to Successful Website Localization
Increased globalization through the Internet influence in the recent decade has opened businesses to international markets. But even though potential customers from different regions in the world are only a click away, there are still some hurdles. Differences in languages, currencies, cultures, and user experiences are some of the common stumbling blocks.
If you’re running a website that targets audiences from different countries, website localization is your solution to all these challenges. Localization is a process in which a website is made to adapt to the target customers’ language and culture. However, you have to do it right to reap its benefits. Here are some best-kept secrets to turning your platform into a localized website.
Invest in the Right Translation
When localizing a website to target a non-English speaking market, translation is the first thing you should think about. In this case, you can choose either machine or human translation. Machine translation is fine if you are translating basic pieces of text. However, a human translator is a better choice for more complex information to achieve the right structure, tone, and meaning.
A service like www.translate.com/localization provides a good alternative for startups, blogs, and small businesses to localize to multi-language speakers. Remember to make language selection on your site easy for visitors.
Localize Your Domain
When localizing your domain, you can either create a subdomain for different regions or folders within your primary domain. For example, ru.yourwebsite.com is a subdomain while yourwebsite.com/ru is a folder within your main domain, which is ‘yourwebsite.’ If you’re planning to operate heavily in the market or support multiple languages, subdomains are best. If not so, subfolders will suffice.
Consider Local Context When Adapting Your Content
People across the world have different ways of doing things. That includes writing the date and time, the temperature, weight, distance, addresses, and so forth. For instance, while you tell the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit in the US, degrees Celsius is the preferred method in Europe. So, adjust these small aspects to improve your site’s user experience for your international customers.
Don’t Forget About Your Picture Titles
While your website visitors won’t notice this bit of information as it falls under metadata, search engines will do it. Your ranking in the search engine results page will be poor if you don’t translate photo titles to the target language. The result is that your organic traffic will also decline.
Choose Colors Wisely
Culture differs from country to country. In most cultures, colors carry a deeper meaning, and a wrong choice can do more harm than good to your business. A good example is red, which symbolizes passion or love in the Americas and fertility or luck in China. However, it’s taken to mean grief and death in many African cultures.
Optimize Your SEO Locally
If you’ve already mastered optimizing your website with keywords at home, this step won’t be so hard. You will simply need to do that with the foreign search engines, too. Do your research on what the potential customers are searching for most and which engines they are using. Alternatively, you could hire an SEO professional locally to do the job for you.
Build Meaningful Local Links
Go beyond keywords with your SEO by building local links. However, you don’t need to have thousands of links to make this step successful. Here’s how to optimize your content through local backlinks:
- Mention local events related to your business
- Collaborate with local influencers
- Connect with local blogs
- Add fresh mentions regularly
- Look at the link-building strategies that competitors are using
- Produce community resources like maps and calendars
Localize to the Specific Dialect
The same language may have different variations depending on the region. Even a common language like English has noticeable differences depending on whether it’s spoken in the UK, Australia, Canada, or the US. Localizing your content to the specific dialect spoken in a target region can do wonders for your site.
Adopt a Flexible Site Design
Since different languages have varying sentence structures, one should be keen on the design they adopt. To save yourself much work later, leave ample space to accommodate increased content length after translation. Spacing out your content will also prove useful when targeting a region with slow internet connection speeds.
Seek Local Legal Advice
Remember, there are various laws governing business operations in different countries. These may cover services, data protection, use of personal information, and so on. So, ensure you seek the counsel of a reputable local legal advisor to avoid paying unexpected penalties.
Adopt Suitable Payment Options
Lack of a convenient payment option can lead to a high cart abandonment rate. Research on the most popular payment platforms used in your target region to provide convenience to your customers. Also, ensure that your products’ prices are shown in the local currency.
Hire Local Customer Care Agents
Having agents who can answer customers in their local language can build trust and confidence in your brand. Hiring local customer care personnel would be the best option. However, you can also use pre-made templates based on typical customer questions.
Write Fresh, Localized Content
New content, customized to the region, can help grow your business presence locally. While you don’t have to immediately embark on it, creating fresh material designed for the audience will keep your visitors engaged.
Transliterate Your Business
Your brand’s name may be difficult for some audiences to pronounce and understand. It is especially for those languages that don’t use the Latin alphabet. So, consider converting your name to something similar in other languages. That way, it will still be recognizable as your brand.
Localize Your Message of All Channels
Localizing your business as a whole will take more than localizing your website alone. So, update other channels that your company uses as well. These include your e-newsletters and social media handles. That way, you’ll speak to an even bigger audience.
Localization is not a single-step process that stops at translation. It is an elaborate procedure that covers everything from language to culture. Businesses can build a strong presence in international markets by adopting the right localization approach. Consider these tips to make the process smooth, effective, and sustainable.