If your company has a global presence or operates in more than one territory, website localization is something you can’t afford to ignore. While you may be aware that localizing your web presence is crucial, you may not be fully-cognizant of how to go about it. We’ve compiled the six most important considerations when localizing your digital footprint:
Don’t settle for half-hearted website localization
Misleading your visitors by having them land on a localized home page, only to click through to another page that’s not, is a surefire way of pushing them towards a competitor who does offer a fully-localized experience. Localizing only a portion of your website is nothing but counter-productive; if you want to reach a new audience, you need to be providing them with an offering that’s fully customized. As this article from Multichannel Merchant points out, “If visitors arrive at your site expecting a fully translated site and don’t receive one, the chances of them returning are inherently lower.” You have been warned.
Do localize your SEO strategy.
One of the oft-overlooked elements of website localization is SEO (search engine optimization). If you’re translating the language or dialect of a page, it makes sense that you need to tweak your SEO accordingly. Someone in France, for example, will use very different search terms compared to someone in Peru. By building your localized pages with local search terms in mind, you’re ensuring that your content is ‘findable’; if someone can’t find your website, localizing it is moot. Bear in mind that localization is essentially all about providing your visitors with an optimized experience, and in the digital age, UX (user experience) trumps everything else.
Don’t rely on a multi-media site that’s laden with videos and images.
While multi-media websites make for an engaging, multi-sensory experience, peppering your website with a multitude of images and video may end up hampering the experience of visitors who’re located in a region with unreliable or slow internet connections. Avoid frustrating visitors with text-based pages, and only supplement them with images if you know that users from this particular region have a robust internet connection.
Do be mindful of the unique cultural context of your audience(s).
Nuance is often the first element to be lost in translation when conducting website localization. Multichannel merchant advises that you to “Avoid buzzwords, which tend to be tied closely to a specific place and time, and instead focus on emotional values to make your brand more universal”. In addition, evaluating your entire brand messaging through the eyes of your intended target market is key. Having to do so after the fact is not only expensive, it’s incredibly damaging to your brand reputation too. In 2009, HSBC was forced to fork out $10 million to revamp their global branding after their slogan ‘Assume Nothing’ translated into ‘Do Nothing’ in several of their foreign markets. Avoid a similar fate by having an expert localization service provider review all aspects of your website, including your slogan, use of color, images and terminology before you go live.
Don’t forget about the ‘golden thread’.
Brand messaging that’s uniform throughout is crucial when building or attempting to bolster brand awareness and advocacy in a new market. In order to ensure that your UX is as streamlined as possible, all facets of your digital presence need to complement – and work in harmony with – each other. Your brand’s unique style, tone and design need to be evident and immediately recognizable across all brand assets, including your website, social media accounts, mobile app (if applicable), email correspondence, brochures, in-store branding and the like.
Do make use of a reputable Localization Service Provider.
It goes without saying that the quality of your localization efforts is only as good as the quality of your localization service provider. Countless potentially brand damaging and costly hiccups can be avoided when you entrust your website localization to a superior LSP. Avoid the temptation to outsource the job to the lowest bidder; an expert website translation service will provide you with accurate translation and localization, thanks to the fact that they’re cognizant of cultural sensitivity and context throughout.
Learn all about website localization and brand messaging that gets to the heart of your customers in our eBook, The Psychology of Marketing Messaging.
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