Website localization: 4 steps to get it started

May 4, 2022

Website localization is about adapting the content of an existing website to the local language and culture in the target market. It aims to suit a specific audience that enables international consumers to relate to your message, trust your brand, and ultimately become your customers. 

This essential process would require substantial research of the culture and people to know customer needs and desires.  

Truly website localization is iterative and based on measurable insights. Here are four key steps to getting it right.  

Identify your target audience 

While companies clearly understand the importance of websites in reaching domestic consumers, they frequently fail to determine what international consumers are trying to find in their website experience.   

Taking the time to grasp what drives foreign customers can make all the difference. In this sense, language is simply one piece of the puzzle. Online buying behavior varies significantly from market to market. It’s essential to understand each market’s digital platform trends, UX expectations regarding navigation, imagery/text ratios, form functionality, and payment options.    

Whether you’re operating an eCommerce site or providing B2B products and services reliant on lead generation, it’s folly to assume that international consumers will engage and convert in the same way as domestic consumers.   

You need to know what your audience wants and how they make the final decisions to urge it right.   

Optimize your localization strategy

Once you recognize more about the international markets you’re localizing for, the subsequent step is that specialize in which website content has relevancy for every specific locale.  

If your budget is tight, be selective. Don’t opt for cheap certified translation to satisfy budget constraints because it’s quality, not quantity, that counts. Avoid the temptation to translate every single word unless there’s a clear benefit in doing so. Besides, key page identification can help determine which parts of your website are most relevant to your target markets. So focus on those as a place to begin.   

Emphasize delivering an authentic and competitive user experience, which be a critical part of the customer journey. And set up localization budgets to the most relevant website content for your audience.   

Promote your content creatively

Your content is also localized well and targeted at the particular markets with the best potential for ROI. But if your global audience can’t find your internet sites (whether that’s through search or social), you’re missing the chance.  

Your website and your digital efforts need to work together to drive brand awareness and lead generation. Therefore, be sure to use local digital platforms to prompt interest, generate leads, and measure ROI. Just keep in mind that every locale differs. A digital marketing strategy that works in one international market might not work effectively for another.  

Your companies also need to have a strategy in place for international paid search. Translating straight keywords doesn’t take into account local search volume, linguistic nuance, intent, or consumer behavior. To get results in-market, it’s critical to carry out keyword research in-country, and on the market’s dominant search engine(s).   

Calculate your expansion

Measuring your website’s ROI is really about in-market performance against key business indicators: traffic, engagement, conversions, and sales.  

The best way to measure your efforts is to build a regular, cross-tactic reporting cadence for each of your markets. This practice is key to understanding what’s happening to your international audiences. You should also examine data about your audience to discover how closely they relate to your brand. For example, some markets may highly prefer people-focused content while others value data and stats.   

Once you’ve got solid data to determine what’s working effectively and what’s not, you can expand your website localization activities and budget in the markets that show the most potential. Through regular review and iteration, you can develop your digital strategy based on in-market performance data. And you can modify your locale-specific strategy while also determining which markets make the most sense for expansion.  

A final thought on website localization

Companies often consider website localization as a merely technical endeavor, emphasize translation as the goal, look at optimization as an afterthought, and fail to plan for the need to measure and iterate at the local level.  

However, the development of a multilingual website should be driven by clear content marketing goals that recognize the importance of the international customer journey and amplify your opportunity to connect and interact with targeted customers from awareness to conversion. 



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