Website localization refers to the process of revising website content to suit a specific market. It includes customizing the design and features of the site and translating content to suit the language and culture of your target audience.
A website localization strategy is a crucial business activity that plays a key part when entering a new regional market or adapting to the needs of a new market segment. Simply put, localization makes your business and products more accessible to a new set of prospective clients.
If you’re wondering whether your business needs localization or are planning to start the process, consider the basics and best practices of website localization.
Identify your target audience well
Knowing who your target market is the first step in website localization as your revisions and succeeding actions will be based on this. Before hiring specialists to translate a website, make sure that your prospects can provide you with the growth you envisioned.
Understanding your most viable audience involves knowing the majority of the audience most likely to purchase from you. Through this research, you’ll learn how to position your brand on the market as their culture and preferences may impact your brand and localization activities. (1)
Focus on high-quality translation
While localization takes more than translation, the latter is still a critical component of the former. This means you can achieve good localization practices without ensuring your translation is accurate.
If you’re translating content, consider the nuances within your target audience. For instance, if you aim to cater to the Chinese market and its territories, it’s imperative to familiarize yourself with the language widely used in each. The majority of Singapore and Taiwanese residents speak Mandarin, while citizens of Macau, Hong Kong, and the Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Guangzhou predominantly use the Cantonese dialect for example.
An erratic translation may create a wrong impression on your audience, negatively impacting your brand. When browsing your company’s website, users expect to read comprehensible and relevant content written by a native speaker.
Having a professional site will also retain your credibility and enhance authority. (2)
Besides impeccable translation, ensure that all transactional components such as currency, date picker, and measurement units are precise. Doing this may look menial to some, but it can ensure accuracy and proper handling of transactions. It also makes your audience more comfortable using your site. According to studies, 92.2% of people prefer to purchase in their local currency. (1)
Hire a local consultant for cultural considerations
Localizing your site also means adapting it according to the preferences of the region you’re setting your sights into. So, before rushing to study the 2022 web design trends, know your target market’s cultural norms and practices as they should form part of your design choices and content revisions.
Apart from conducting market research, you must understand how to position your brand and make it more appealing to your new markets.
Hiring a local cultural consultant may be good to ensure you’re sending the right messages understood by the new market. A consultant can help you customize your entire content, not just your site, to make it more appealing and convincing—allowing users to convert, purchase, and trust your brand in the long term. (3)
Think of localization as a marketing tool
Most entrepreneurs underestimate website localization’s contribution to increasing sales. Because of the Internet, it’s easier for small businesses to reach global customers. Your brand must strive to localize your website to penetrate broader markets if you want your business to thrive and grow.
Your marketing campaign then shouldn’t just focus on the obvious aspects such as search engine optimization, paid advertisements, and website visibility, among many others. If you want to gain a foothold in other markets, create an excellent localization plan to access emerging markets faster than your competitors. The more relevant and localized your site is, the higher the chances of your business staying competitive and viable amid fierce competition and instability. (4)
The Bottom Line
Localizing your existing website requires extensive research and proper preparation. Seeing this crucial business move as a potentially effective marketing tool, companies must prioritize website localization to ensure better success when entering new markets. As the “face” of your company, your website must be relevant and highly acceptable to your prospective audience to increase the chances of conversion and expand your revenues.