So you’re entering a new market and need website localization in the new location you want to sell your product or service to?
Then you have come to the right place!
In this guide, we will be going over the following:
- What is Website Localization?
- Benefits of Website Localization
- Website Localization Process
- Website Localization Best Practices
- Examples of Localized Websites
- The Importance of Design in Website Localization
- The Importance of User Experience in Website Localization
Let’s get started!
What is Website Localization?
Website localization is the act of taking an existing website and redesigning it and redefining it to reach a different cultural or linguistic preference.
This process will require substantial research and understanding of the culture and people of your new audience.
Benefits of Website Localization
The obvious benefit of website localization is that your website is easy for consumers to navigate. But why else should you localize your website? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits:
- Improved SEO Rankings – if you are one of the few businesses who choose to localize, your unique website will be at the top of the SEO rankings.
- Market Penetration – By offering your website in different languages, you can dig a little deeper into the market and reach consumers who normally wouldn’t click on your site.
- Growth Opportunities – The more consumers you can reach and relate to, the more shares, comments, replies, and posts you will see. People love to share things that are relatable, so you can expect a boost in word-of-mouth marketing.
Website Localization Process: 3 Steps
Localizing your website can feel like a complicated process. So here are five steps to get you started!
1. Identify Your Target Market
You first need to identify where your new market is located. If you know this already, you are ahead of the game!
If you want to explore opportunities to market to people in other locations, look at your site’s analytics to see which countries or places you get the most visitors from.
For example, if you have opportunities to drive traffic from Brazil, you could localize your website for the Brazilian market. You can check out what location opportunities may lie ahead by going into your Google Analytics account→ clicking on Audience→ then Geo → then Location.
2. Make and Implement an Online Marketing Strategy
This part goes hand in hand with step 1. This is the most important part of any localization strategy and the most important part of any online business venture.
You will want to align your business goals with your online marketing efforts in this step. This will include understanding where, when, and how to market to your target audience in the location you are trying to reach.
You will need to find the corresponding buyer keywords that connect to your product or service, build links to credible sources to establish strong internet relationships, create your funnels, and more!
Do Keyword Research
You should conduct keyword research for the places and regions you want to target to see if there is any demand for your product/service. Websites like KeywordTool, Ahrefs, Semrush, Google Keyword Tool, Baidu and Yandex are great for this.
You might need help from a marketing strategist to do this to make sure you are searching smart!
If you’re unfamiliar with the language or culture of the place you want to localize your website for, try hiring a manager from the place you want to market to, ideally, someone who is from where you want to localize.
If you haven’t created any content for your expansion then you should do so now. If you have someone on your team who is from your target location then you can make custom content for the local market without translating!
If the location you want to expand to speaks another language, you need to translate your existing content. But it’s not just translation, you have to keep in mind regional slang, sayings, and cultural references. That’s the key to localization.
3. Test It Out!
Now that you have set up your online strategy and created localized content for your target audience, you should test it out on your website. Look at previews of the webpages on a desktop and a mobile device. Make sure the visuals are the right size, the spacing is even and that overall it doesn’t look wonky.
Keep in mind that internet and device usage and preference vary even within a country! For example, your market may switch between smartphones or computer screens to access the internet for different types of searches. This means your website has to be programmed fit on phone screens of all sizes.
You will want to launch all of your localized campaigns and keep track of the data as you continue to test your expansion efforts!
3 Best Website Localization Practices for Foreign Markets
Try out these best practices for your web design to ensure you are properly optimizing all areas of your localized website. Forget one, and you might throw off an individual that otherwise identified with your brand.
1. Implement Cultural Elements
Do your research! Your audience won’t trust you if you get basic cultural information wrong. This includes date formats, units of measurement, and holidays.
2. Consistently and Accurately Represent Language Sitewide
Fluent speakers shouldn’t gawk at unnatural phrasing or vocabulary that would never naturally be used. Create a realistic and authentic experience your users will identify with.
3. Pay Attention to Little Details
This might include something like currency representation during checkout. It’s safe to say that if you are ready to check out and notice a different currency as your total, you may hesitate to enter your credit card details.
Beyond this, think about payment options offered and customer support. These little things add up. People will appreciate the authenticity and reward you with their trust.
Website Localization Examples
There are some global companies out there that have done a fantastic job at localizing their websites to specific countries or regions.
A great localized site gives readers in each country the ability to fully understand what the company is offering, and the added bonus of visual appeal and aesthetic design makes the site that much more attractive to consumers.
Let’s take a look at some examples!
McDonald’s Website Localization
On McDonald’s corporate website, you can navigate to the “Around the World” page to find the full list of international websites.
McDonald’s offers nearly 100 different variations of their website. They first break it down by continent, and then within each continent, there are several different countries to choose from.
McDonald’s Canada shows seasonal promotions and menu items, with everything translated to English and prices are shown in Canadian dollars.
McDonald’s Hong Kong looks very different from the Canadian site, most obviously with descriptions, promotions, and menu items written in Chinese. The overall design and theme of the page are also different to appeal to the audience.
Nike Website Localization
Another company with massive global outreach is Nike. You can change your website by clicking the link in the top right corner and choose a new location.
Each location shows the different products that are available in each region, and you can see that the websites are localized by language and product offerings.
Looking at Nike Argentina, right away, we see that the language is in Spanish for an easy shopping experience for their Argentinian consumers.
Switching to the United Kingdom, we see that the overall design of the website is pretty much the same. Nike chose to keep a very uniform style across all of its website variations. However, the language changes to English and prices are shown in British pounds.
Website localization is such a crucial factor for appealing to your consumers. Pay attention to the culture, lifestyles, trends, and preferences for your different markets, and apply those to your site.
It really makes a difference when consumers see things that they like, and they feel that you are catering specifically to them.
Importance of Design in Website Localization
The design of your content will vary as you change it to suit another country/market. Just as languages, keywords, and influencers change from country to country, so does design preference.
In 2015, Shutterstock calculated the most popular color choices in 20 countries based on downloads. One of Brazil’s most popular colors was purple, while Argentina’s was green. Simple considerations like these are the difference between stagnating or gaining customers.
It’s not just about preference though, there are cultural meanings to color. For instance, in Western cultures, red usually signifies passion and love, while in China, it symbolizes good luck. In Brazil, yellow is considered a lucky color, but in Japan, it represents bravery.
Symbols & Images
You don’t want to accidentally give the wrong impression or send the wrong message by using colors or symbols that have a different meaning in another culture. Using the right colors, symbols, and images will help your message resonate more with your audience.
It takes 50 milliseconds for a user to form an opinion about your website. This is one of the reasons why design is so important; the first things your audience will see are the colors, typography, and graphics you used. If they are not eye-catching, then your website’s first impression will fall short.
Importance of User Experience in Website Localization
Keep in mind that in some countries there are low technology adoption rates. For instance, in Latin America, nearly 360 million residents don’t use digital technologies available to them.
Not everyone in your new market will be tech-savvy or have the newest phone. If you want your content to be seen by most of your audience, accessibility is key.
Keep it Simple
Don’t make an overly complicated web design; you’re not impressing anyone, and you end up pushing away new mobile users (Latin Americans access the internet mostly with their phones).
A clean and simple design means that anyone can access your content, and you’ll enhance user experience.
Keep Your Market in Mind
Also, not everyone can afford a new phone every year, and some just don’t want to upgrade, so make sure your website works with slower internet speeds and smaller phone screens.
Your market will appreciate that they can use your mobile site easily compared to the competition.
Ready to Localize a Website?
Are you ready to begin your website localization?
Take the first step to transforming your website for your new market by messaging our global marketing strategists at firstname.lastname@example.org.