However, many people are still excluded from getting information from these websites even though there are other languages that are just as popular. For instance, Chinese is spoken by more than 19% of internet users, while Spanish speakers make up about 7% of global internet users.
However, things are quickly changing as more businesses have started focusing on strategies that aid global expansion. One of these strategies is localization.
Localization, or l10n, refers to adapting your product to suit another culture. Website localization is, therefore, adapting your site so that it addresses the needs of your target audience. This requires you to change the site’s language, content, and design such that they resonate well with customers from another region or country.
So, what steps should you follow to ensure a successful website localization process?
Website localization is a time-consuming and costly undertaking. Therefore, you shouldn’t do it blindly. First, you need to identify your target market.
To begin, check your website analytics to identify the regions where the majority of your visitors are coming from. You can also perform keyword research for your products or services in different regions. This will help you know which regions or countries will produce the highest ROI after localization.
After deciding on your target market, identify the local customs and regulations that you’ll need to comply with. Doing thorough research on the region you are targeting will help you have a successful website localization process.
You’ll need to optimize your website for your target market’s search engines. Remember, Google is not the main search engine in every region. In China, for instance, Baidu is very popular and so is Yandex in Russia.
Do your homework well. Your translators should be aware of the keywords, metadata, and external links to include in your translated content.
It is advisable that you look for professionals to help you with your website localization process as cutting corners will not give you value for your effort and money. Some of the professionals you’ll need in your team include:
Choose the proper images for your website
Images used on your website may contain many cultural messages. The image that you choose may contain unpleasant messages for the foreigners that visit your website and that may drive the visitors away from the site while the image is accurately identifying the product/service for the locals in the local language in which your website is prepared.
For example, pictures of food and beverages used on a tourism website may be interesting for culture, while messages that may contradict the cultural and religious beliefs of visitors from another country.
Therefore, during the localization studies, it may be necessary to select alternative images that will give appropriate messages for each language, considering the target foreign languages and cultures.
- Ayse Basak Incekas | Marketing Assistant for Megaventory
The best and simplest way to find out if you need website localization is to check your website analytics. We use Google Analytics on our sites.
Looking at what countries and what language source people are coming from will give you the stats you need to decide if it was worthwhile producing your site in other languages.
We have multiple nationalities visiting our site and using our services, so it is essential for us. If you have more than 10% of visitors on your site who use a different native language, then it may well be worth implementing localization.
- Will Hatton | Owner of Hotel Jules
To sum up, you need to have a thorough approach towards localizing your website based on your target audience and also its proper execution, in order to derive effective results in your global business expansion.
Related article: Website Translation: An Imperative Need For a Marketer