Web localization basics
Website Localization Best Practices (2023 Edition)
Looking for website localization best practices for 2023? You’ve come to the right place for this is what this post is all about.
You see, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the world even smaller. Almost everyone was forced to go online to purchase even the most basic of necessities. This prompted businesses to maximize their websites by localizing them so they could expand to other regions and tap new customers.
Even though the pandemic is slowly wearing off, more opportunities consistently await businesses that localize their website since online purchases have become the norm. It would be great then to know what are the website localization best practices for 2023, especially before your business undertakes its own.
What are the website localization best practices for 2023?
There are several website localization best practices you might want to adopt for your business. These are:
1. Identify your goals and KPIs for website localization
It is always a best practice to begin with your end in mind. That is, in business, knowing what you specifically want to achieve by localizing your website. Identifying your goals and the parameters to measure its success is then necessary.
Besides answering the question of why you want to localize your website, the next thing to answer would be what particular region or country you would be catering to. Does the geo-demo data of your product’s offline sales show a potentially big market for repeat purchases online? Is your marketing strategy really geared towards this new region? Finding out the answers would help you with better returns for your localization efforts in the long run.
2. Create a translation style guide for each website localization
Consistency in the presentation of your content is a good way to maintain the quality of your website’s translation. This builds on your customer’s trust, which is a determining factor when purchasing online.
The style guide should contain the rules on the littlest but important details of translating your content such as punctuation, time, and date formats. The rules also indicate the manner of pluralizing words dependent on the language in use.
Oh, do remember to make a separate style guide for each language you want to localize your website in. This is especially true if you intend to have a multilingual website—one that offers more than two languages depending on the nationality of the website visitor.
3. Automate with CMS and translation tools in your website localization
Speaking of translation, manually creating webpages for each language you intend to localize in poses higher risks of errors. It also entails a slower process of updating your content when needed.
Using a Content Management System that is integrated with translation tools like Acclaro, OXO, Locize, ATL, and Smartling ensures better accuracy in translation and faster loading time for your website in the language of your target local market. A faster loading time means keeping customers on your website and getting a better ranking in search engines for your business’s online visibility.
When it comes to the CMS, choose one that is flexible enough to let you work with various teams across the regions you are localizing in. It should also be intelligent enough to handle different time formats, character sets, currency, and dates.
Another thing before deciding on a CMS for your business is if it is XML-based and enables domain control. The latter feature allows you to sort your content according to domain names or page elements, especially if you choose to create a multilingual website.
4. Plot a process flow for your website localization
Identifying the compatible CMS and translation tools for your website is already half of a localization project. The next step to consider is to map out your potential customer’s online experience with a localized website.
Do you intend the localized website to load the moment it detects a visitor’s location on the planet whenever they access your main website? Will customers be asked if they would like the content to be in their native tongue? Or will the options of being able to change to the desired language simply be made visible to them through the menu? Or will it be a pop-up window?
Besides having a process flow to ensure a seamless online experience for your users, there is another process flow you need to identify. That is when it comes to uploading content to your CMS each time there is a need to.
Questions you might want to consider asking are: How will you work with your various teams, especially those delegated with translation? Will you implement approval of content before its upload in the CMS? How will the content be reviewed afterward?
These two processes may be taxing at the onset but are salient best practices meant to ascertain the success of your website localization.
5. Localize SEO for your website localization
I mentioned earlier the importance of search engine ranking. You can improve your online visibility by localizing your SEO efforts, too.
This means localizing the keywords you use for your website. Since most keywords used by marketers are in English, you would have an edge over your competitors if you use localized keywords.
Studies show that people often use localized search engines when they browse online. So why not take advantage of this by using localized keywords? Using Spanish for your keywords, for example, opens your website to potential customers in Spain and Spanish-speaking regions like Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. This means a wider market scope for your business and higher sales in the long run.
6. Remember to use Unicode in your website localization
Finally, remember to use Unicode to handle special characters in your database. Unicode is better equipped to translate different characters. Thus, ensuring proper support for your target language or languages. This means customers won’t experience encountering garbled or misrepresented content when they browse your localized website.
Conclusion: Website Localization Best Practices
There are many best practices when it comes to localizing a website, which is a tedious but rewarding undertaking for businesses. Globalizing your business through your website requires ample study and careful execution to ensure you reap its rewards.
Do businesses encounter challenges during website localization?
Yes, there are challenges to localization. This includes redoing a business’ communication and marketing approach to cater to the culture, language, and environment of consumers in the targetted region. This means adapting one’s brand voice, imagery, and infrastructure, among others. This also translates to challenges in finances and resources. The process of localization, after all, not only takes time but may even require the hiring of additional personnel such as translators.
Do online consumers appreciate website localization efforts?
Definitely! According to Weglot, data for 2021 showed that 56% of online consumers preferred obtaining information in their language over price. While 73% of online consumers purchased from websites with localized information. A majority of shoppers (60%) never or rarely purchase from websites that are in English only. This translated to a 20% to 70% increase in conversion rates for businesses with localized websites.
Got other questions? Do message me, I am happy to assist you with resolving it.
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My name is Ralph de Groot. I'm the founder and author at My Codeless Website. Wake me up for a great web design. I love writing about website examples, too!