Are you considering global expansion for your company? One of the easiest ways to build a new customer base is to have your website localized into the language of your target market. A multilingual website is a necessity for any business trying to compete on a global scale; according to a recent study by the Common Sense Advisory, 72% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language. Before handing the job over to your chosen website localization provider, though, you’ll need to do someresearch and preparation to ensure a successful outcome.
Here are five steps to take before translating your website:
- Confirm the geographic locations for which you want to localize. Specify not only which language but which countries/areas you are targeting prior to moving forward with localization. (For example, Spanish and French are both languages that are spoken in many different areas of the world – with important differences in usage based on location.) It is important to conduct local market research in the target country to confirm there is a demand for your business.
- Create a list of keywords to be localized. In order to help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts, localizing keywords allows a company to optimize content with the most effective language for the local market.
- Consider what changes may be needed to optimize landing pages, including location-specific graphics and highlighting content that pertains to the local market.
- Most websites selling products and services encourage customers to share their purchases throughout their social media networks. Now is the time to research which social media sharing tools are popular in each target country, so that they can be featured.
- Make sure that you are utilizing a Website Content Management System (CMS) that supports multilingual content – a factor that is often overlooked. Full Unicode support is needed in order to ensure that any language can be displayed, edited, and manipulated easily in the CMS environment. This is important not only for displaying double-byte character set languages such as Chinese and non-Roman scripts such as Russian and Arabic, but also for accented letters, right-to-left text and internationally friendly forms. The CMS must also be able to manage different date, time, calendar, and number/currency conventions.
Localizing your website is a big step in becoming a global operation, and should be undertaken with care. Taking these steps at the beginning will help ensure that your localization project will be successful, and open the doors of your business to the global community!