For many marketers, website localization is a dreaded task. In some cases, it involves essentially rebuilding your entire website, while coordinating with translators and localisation professionals in multiple languages (sometimes even multiple time zones). This quick-start guide helps you focus on what matters most, so your content localisation gets off to a smooth start.
In this quick-start guide, we’ll cover:
- What website localisation is (and isn’t)
- Why a localised marketing strategy is so important
- A step-by-step guide to help you get started with localising your company’s website
What is website localisation?
Website localisation means recreating your company’s original website so that it is fully embedded in the language and culture of your target audience. This is always necessary when your company expands from its home market into a new national or regional market. After all, your new customers:
- Speak a different language
- Have different cultural references and interests
- Have a different sense of humour
- Possibly have a different level of formality
It’s important to note that localisation is not the same as purely translating your content. You cannot rely on machine translation to effectively localise your website, for example. True localisation must involve native-speaking translators and content creators who can strategically realign your content so that it feels authentic to your new audiences.
Why is website localisation important?
The numbers speak for themselves: studies show that more than two-thirds of customers prefer content in their own language. And that 40% of potential customers will not buy from a company that does not speak their language online.
In short, if you want to reach your new audience and help your company to grow, localising your website is step one.
How to localise your website: Our quick-start guide
To get your localisation off to an efficient start, here are some quick, actionable steps that we recommend following:
Step 1. Assess your localisation needs
It’s important to approach localisation in the same way as you approached creating the original content for your home market. That means first performing your market research, so that you:
- Identify your target audience(s)
- Create detailed marketing personas
- Identify key pain points and drivers
It’s important to work with your local sales and support teams to help learn more about what makes your new audience members tick.
Based on your company’s strategy for the new market, you can then:
- Determine which content needs to be localised (for example, will your company’s full product range be available in the new market, or only selected products?)
- Determine product and brand names that require localisation
- Prioritise which content needs to be localised first
- Ensure that the content is fully up-to-date and ready to be localised without further revisions
Step 2. Create a localisation plan
Once you’ve assessed your website localisation needs, determine how much time and budget you’ll need to complete the project. Most companies lack the in-house localisation talent that they need to fully localise their content, so determine which tasks will need to be outsourced.
Step 3. Assemble your localisation team
Localisation is a time-consuming process and requires input from multiple stakeholders. In general, you’ll need to ensure you have the following people on board, at least:
- A project manager to oversee the localisation workflow.
- Native translators who translate the content into the target language. Be sure to only work with native speakers who are true cultural insiders in your new market.
- Localisation and SEO specialists who focus on your target market. Ideally, your translators should be able to offer support with localisation and SEO. This is why Contentoo works only with SEO-experienced native-language translation and localisation talent.
- Native content editors who can review your content and fine-tune it.
- Internal stakeholders such as product managers, sales and support team members who can review the content and sign off on it when it’s ready to publish.
Step 4. Choose the right keywords
Working with a native SEO specialist, conduct keyword research to determine the right mix. Just remember:
- Keywords in your home market often cannot simply be translated 1:1 into a new language and have the same effect.
- It’s important to set the right keyword focus for each piece of content you localise on your site.
Step 5. Optimise your workflow
To keep your projects running smoothly, you’ll need an efficient workflow. The key to success here is automation. This is why most content managers benefit from using a cloud-based platform like Contentoo to manage localisation projects.
A localisation platform automates recurring tasks, such as assigning projects to a qualified professional, interacting with stakeholders and managing feedback and revisions. This helps you keep track of your individual projects, which is a major advantage when handling any volume of text. It also improves productivity and helps lower your costs.
Localisation makes a world of difference
With the right planning and the right tools and partners, you’re all set to put your localised marketing strategy in place.
Now that you’re ready to start localising your website, we recommend checking out our quick Intro to content localisation.
You may also be interested in our blog that breaks down the Differences between translation, transcreation and localisation.