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Website Localization: What is it and Why do I Need it?

The process of website localization is doing everything in your power to make the content on your website appeal to a particular target market. It goes beyond just translating the text. Website localization is about transforming imagery, tone, colors, units of measurement and more to account for cultural and regional nuances. The value in localizing the content on your website is that it ensures that it is culturally appropriate for your target audience, making it more appealing and user friendly. Website localization creates culturally relevant and appealing content that provides an ideal online brand experience for customers you are targeting. This improves both the strength of your brand and your conversion rate.

What Is Website Localization?

Website localization is the process of adapting a website to make it accessible, usable, and culturally suitable for your target audience.

Why Should I Localize My Website?

The main reason you should localize your website is for increased opportunity. When you publish in only one language, you are limiting your website’s reach. Let’s look at the data. According to data published on Statista, the most common languages used on the internet in 2020, by share of internet users, are English (25.9%), Chinese (19.4%), Spanish (7.9%) and Arabic (5.2%). The top ten languages accounted for 76.9 percent of global internet users.1

Why You Should Localize and Translate Your User Generated Content Too

Translating and localizing user-generated content such as customer reviews and questions and answers (Frequently Asked Questions) in multiple languages can be very helpful for increasing traffic and potential conversions on the localized webpages of your website. Localizing user-generated content can help users overcome language barriers and help them understand the value of your product or service from a shared cultural and linguistic perspective, which creates trust. Additionally, the keywords contained in reviews, questions, and answers will help users discover your website from search engines.

What Language Should You Localize Your Website Into?

Choosing which languages to localize your website into comes down to basic research. You can research a specific market that you want to target. Or you can look at analytical data to see which countries are currently visiting your site the most frequently. If the official and most spoken language of that country differs from the languages that you are currently publishing in, this may pose an opportunity for you to also localize your content into that language. Additionally, you can closely monitor your competitors and see what localization strategies they are employing, as well as the opportunities they are missing, which can give you a leg up.

Does It Ever Not Make Sense to Localize a Website?

It doesn’t always make sense to localize your website. If the purpose of your website is to serve a specific audience in your community, then you might not need to worry about localizing your website for a multilingual audience. However, you should consider whether your region has language sub-communities, such as a Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, or French speaking population that could benefit from the information, services, and products on your website.

Website Localization is the Next Generation of Search Engine Optimization

Brands are always looking at new ways to capitalize on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to improve the visibility of their online brand. Yet so many brands limit themselves to one language. By localizing your website content into new languages, you can vastly expand your search terms, thus multiplying your reach, traffic, and conversions across the world. A language localization company can help you uncover new keywords in new languages within your website content. This can help you improve your ranking across several languages with major search engines such as Google, Bing and Duck Duck Go.

Is There a Way to Measure the Return on Investment of Localizing My Website?

Yes! You can look at localization as an investment and measure its financial return. There are several ways to measure the return on investment of your website localization efforts:

Revenue vs. localization cost

Add up the costs of language localization services on your website and then measure the revenue generated after launching. Financial performance can be measured short term per quarter or more long-term year over year.

Conversion rate from paid traffic sources

After launching a marketing or advertising campaign designed to deliver traffic into a translated language, you can measure how many customers were acquired from each campaign.

Organic conversion rate

By measuring the conversion rate of leads from webpages derived from organic traffic, you will be able to measure if the project paid off. This can be done by tallying web leads and inquiries and measuring how many converted into customers, and then assigning a dollar amount to those customers.

Market share

Some industries have market share reports available from third party groups. These are sometimes available via subscription. This allows you to measure how you are performing against competitors in your industry. With these reports you can measure your market share before and after launching your localization efforts. You can measure these efforts one, three, six, nine or twelve months after localization efforts have commenced.

Website or webpage traffic (by country and language)

Google Analytics (which is a free service that analyzes website data) offers a report featuring countries and languages your site traffic comes from. This will help you determine if your localization efforts brought in new customers from locations where the languages of your translated content are spoken.

Number of new customers

A simple method for measuring marketing success is to add up the number of new customers that you acquired after launching your localization campaign, and then compare against the numbers when you did not offer content in those languages.

Customer satisfaction

After successfully implementing localization efforts on your website, you can measure customer satisfaction through customer surveys.

When Should I Localize My Website?

Every organization is different. Therefore, the timing of when you should localize your website is unique to your own business goals. There are some factors that may influence when you should localize your website. These include:

  • An international expansion opportunity that has presented itself
  • A change in legal or compliance requirement
  • The need to keep up with a competitor who has just localized their website
  • A shift in your logistics, supply chain, or manufacturing arrangement

Why You Should Work with a Professional Localization Agency to Localize Your Website

The process of website localization is much more technical than you might think. It can involve not only conveying a message across languages, but choosing exactly the right words, formats, references, idioms, and even colors and images that will make the most sense culturally to your target audience. A professional localization company has all the tools, professional linguists, and quality control processes to make your localization project a huge success. This gives accuracy and credibility to your localized content that will help you effectively target an audience.

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