Website localization explained in 5 minutes
'If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.' ~ a popular (mis)quote from Nelson Mandela
Speaking your customers’ language is probably more important than you think. Language is incredibly powerful. The most successful businesses out there know the value of nurturing the human element at the heart of how they work, communicate, and connect.
Whether it be B2C or B2B, you’re selling to people. The only real difference is that you could be either selling directly to people who are also the end consumers, or to people who represent a company.
But everyone speaks English anyhow, right? Well, actually, the answer is a resounding no. Although English has frequently been the lingua franca of business, diplomacy, and entertainment, only 5% of the global population are native speakers and 75% of people speak no English at all.
Once everything shifted online, websites became the central bridge connecting customers and brands. If you’re running an eCommerce store, a professional site advertising freelance services, or a company website, there’s one question worth answering:
Are you set up for international success?
You can be – if you localize your website. Read this post to learn more about website localization and why it’s a key differentiator and driver of global growth.
What is website localization?
Website localization is the process of adapting your website and digital assets to suit a different language and culture.
Although website localization often begins with translation, it extends far beyond simply translating the text and leaving it at that. Localization means adjusting every aspect of your website to fit your target market’s preferences, including:
Portraying visuals that consider cultural sensitivities
Adapting product offerings, promotions, and sales
Providing your customers with preferred payment processes
Providing shipping options appropriate to the region
Setting up multilingual customer service
By adapting the entire customer experience to make your visitors feel at home, you foster the personal connection and trust customers need when buying online. You want them to feel like your website was created with their culture, needs, and language in mind. To truly succeed at designing an authentic localized experience, you can’t treat localization as an afterthought.
Let’s take the IKEA website as an example. Upon opening the website, you’ll see completely different product offerings, promotions, and sales depending on your location. This is down to website localization: the proven process of creating global content that resonates with existing local audiences and reaches new ones. Thanks to clever and carefully planned localization, IKEA is one of the leading global brands. Your brand can get there too.
Website localization drives growth
When you think about the global digital economy, your mind likely sees a massive opportunity. It’s hard to miss a market predicted to reach $23 T by 2025. In such a landscape, website localization can drive business growth by giving you access to a broader market. Just by ensuring product information is available in your target audience’s native language, you’ll be able to increase sales, build brand trust, and encourage customer loyalty. It’s all about designing enjoyable customer experiences.
Let’s take a look at the global eCommerce market. It is currently valued at over $4.2 T and 65% of online shoppers worldwide make purchases from overseas retailers. Here’s where it gets interesting: almost 90% of them are ready to pay more for a better customer experience.
In our digital world of copycat content and products, customer experience and messaging are the final frontiers of differentiation. Brands should consider shifting their focus from selling products to selling experiences. They need to realize that language accessibility is at the core of personalization.
If you own an eCommerce store, chances are you have already profited from this global market without even laying the foundations for localization and international SEO. Imagine what the gain would be if you actually invested some effort into adapting your content to different markets. Indeed, there are undeniable benefits to internationalizing your eCommerce.
Getting started with international SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), much like email marketing, is a tried-and-true strategy that drives sustainable, organic growth over the long term.
If you’re looking to expand your business for an international audience, your website needs to be search optimized. You may have already search optimized your site in your native language but to truly compete in the international market, you need to optimize it for multilingual SEO, also known as international SEO.
In a nutshell, multilingual SEO is the process of optimizing a website for search engines in multiple languages. When creating a multilingual SEO strategy, you should evaluate which target markets matter, what the cultural differences between those markets are, where different customer segments search for information, etc.
Researching region-specific keywords, bearing in mind search engines other than Google, using dedicated URLs by language, and international link building are basic tactics that you can start implementing right away.
Prioritizing and measuring localization
The process of localizing all your content may seem overwhelming. But the beauty of it is that it doesn’t have to be an “all-in” approach.
The key is to take baby steps and ease your way into new languages and markets. Instead of starting from scratch, prioritize any high-performing content you already have and localize specific assets that you know will resonate with a similar audience.
We’ve all heard the good old business adage: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” It’s a timeless truism. If your starting point is prioritizing the metrics you’re already measuring, you’ll have a head start. So, what are the metrics you should be looking at?
Looking at website performance, you can check your Google Analytics to pinpoint the pages that generated the most traffic and analyze where the traffic originates. Next, you can look at the highest converting pages and most sold products. Working with data means you have validated content that your international audience is likely to engage with. Beyond that, it enables you to make an informed decision about how you plan to adjust your marketing strategy for global markets.
Your Storyblok content localized
As a headless CMS, Storyblok makes it easy to create and manage your content across different channels. Lokalise brings the same simplicity to structuring your localization process.
With the Lokalise integration for Storyblok, you get the best of both worlds. Now you can easily deliver localized content wherever you need it to the delight of your global audience. Lokalise is a collaborative localization platform that helps you centralize all your translation efforts by bringing different team members together. In just a few clicks, you can invite your teammates, freelancers, or partner agencies to work on translation projects in a single workspace.
The best part? You can use Lokalise to continuously translate your Storyblok content, meaning it’s always ready for release. Give your audience content they love in their language – fast. With advanced QA checks and other useful features, you’ll deliver faster across all languages, minimize errors, achieve translation consistency, and lower costs.
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