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How to Conduct Website Localization: A Step-By-Step Guide

Step by Step Guide on how to conduct website localization

Filip Smet

Updated on May 2, 2024

The question of how to conduct website localization is one many businesses, bloggers, and owners of internet sites struggle with.

But don’t worry, we are here to help!

In this post, we’ll present a step-by-step guide on how to conduct website localization. By doing so, we aim to help you grow your business exponentially by tapping into new markets.

What is Website Localization?

Website localization is a strategy where you adapt the content of your website to meet the needs of a specific target audience.

For instance, imagine you run an online surf store that targets English speakers in the US and Canada, but you want to try and gain market share in Central and South America.

The first thing you’ll do is translate your website copy into languages like Spanish to target surf-made countries like Nicaragua, Panama, and Mexico.

Beyond that, you’ll need to have an understanding of factors like shipping expectations and options, triggers for purchasing decisions, preferred payment methods, legal requirements, and most appropriate customer support channels.

In this example, website localization is about giving your eCommerce site the best chance to achieve its primary purpose in any given country.

If you can do that, you’ll create a solid foundation for your business to grow on a global level.

Why is Website Localization Important?

Although it might seem like a daunting proposition, there are several reasons why you should conduct website localization for your site.

Of course, the main benefit of this strategy is that it can expand your global reach by making it accessible in multiple languages to people in more countries around the world.

It can also go a long way towards building trust and credibility within your company as it demonstrates an understanding of local customs and nuances.

Additionally, tailoring your website to the cultural and linguistic preferences of your target audience will go a long way toward improving user experience, which might lead to higher engagement and greater conversion rates.

At the same time, this could also lead to an improvement in your SEO performance as localized content (as opposed to generic) can boost your rankings in specific regions and lead to increased visibility and higher levels of organic traffic.

Expanding Global Outreach

4-Step Guide to Conduct Website Localization

Knowing why you should conduct website localization is one thing, but understanding how to do it effectively is another thing entirely.

Here are 4 steps you should take.

1. Identify Your Target Audience

The first and most important step in creating a content localization strategy is to identify your target audience.

For instance, instead of merely saying you want to translate an eCommerce site into Spanish, you’ll need to ascertain which Spanish-speaking audiences you will want to connect with.

In the case of the online surf store, there is little point in targeting people who live in Paraguay and Bolivia even though they speak Spanish because both are landlocked countries!

Therefore, you will need to do your due diligence to ensure there is sufficient interest in your content, products, or services.

Once you have drawn up a list of markets you want to enter, it is important to focus on one location at a time to ensure you localize your website as effectively as possible.

2. Hire Professionals with expertise in the target markets

It is advisable to hire developers and designers who are familiar with the market(s) you want to target. 

Simply knowing the language is not enough. You need to hire professionals who can guide you on what the local community prefers based on their personal and professional experience.

Although hiring professionals with region-specific knowledge might be expensive, it can save you money and time in the long run.

That is because it is better to pay upfront for expertise that can be incorporated within the localization process from the start, as opposed to wasting money on a strategy that did not employ an expert and does not get you any traction.

3. Choose a translation method for your website

Website translation is a very important part of localization.

After all, if you don’t present your eCommerce site in a language people understand, they won’t be able to purchase your products.

Overall, there are a few different ways to translate your content. 

First, you can opt for human translation, which involves hiring professional translators.

While this approach can guarantee high-quality translation, you’ll still need to hire designers and developers to work on other aspects of your website localization.

Alternatively, you can utilize services that will translate the content of your website automatically online. This is undoubtedly a cheaper option.

However, it must be said the quality of the translation may not be as good as that of human translation. Here are some epic fails.

Another approach is to mix the two by using machine translation software to write the content and hiring professionals to proofread the results for errors.

This option offers the best of both worlds and is not as expensive as hiring human translators to do all the work manually.

If your budget can stretch to it, hiring professionals is the best option. They can help you publish high-quality content that includes local jargon and idioms and understand the kind of rhetoric or language that might better strike a chord with your audience.

However, should you run a WordPress website, there are several translation services, including GlobalLink Go, that support both human and machine translations.

Some plugins can even translate WordPress themes and parse CSS. Subsequently, you can have a translation engine do the bulk of the work and then have a human correct it.

website translation

4. Tweak your SEO strategy

If you want your website to be successful in different languages, it is important to consider SEO. That is because strategies that work in one country might not work in another.

To adapt your SEO strategy, you need to revise the keywords you are targeting.

Some keywords may not be popular in another language. Therefore, it is important to research what search terms people are using in each country you are targeting.

It is also important to use SEO tools like Yoast SEO, which support your targeted language. Otherwise, the SEO tactics you use might negatively impact your website’s localization.

As well as the keywords, another important task is to rewrite posts and page titles.

Translators may be able to translate titles effectively, but they may not know which title structures will get the most attention in search results. 

Therefore, it is crucial to rewrite translated titles to optimize engagement.

You should also rewrite your website’s meta descriptions and alt text. Elements such as these play a vital role in website traffic and engagement.

Overall, to achieve effective SEO localization, you will need to use keyword research tools that provide data from specific countries.

If you are a beginner, Google Keyword Planner is a great option, while premium tools like Ahrefs and Semrush offer more precise data.

Target Market

Conclusion

Localizing a website is a meticulous process that requires a lot of patience, effort, and attention. 

Translation is a huge part of the process, but it is not the only thing you need to do. 

Most crucially, you also have to customize your content to cater to the needs of users in specific regions.

The best way to do this is as follows:

1. identify your target audience.

2. Hire professional web designers and developers who have a good understanding of the local market.

3. Choose a website translation method.

4. Adapt your SEO strategy.

If you follow this 4-step strategy, it will go a long way towards expanding your business, optimizing your website, increasing brand recognition, and ultimately enhancing your sales.

It might take a bit of time to get there. But the rewards will be worth it.

About the author

Filip Smet

Filip Smet is a Product Manager for OLJS. Hailing from Belgium, he brings a blend of precision and creativity to his work. You can find him spinning his favorite records or honing his backhand on the tennis court when he’s not working.

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