Global village--probably not the term you might use to describe our world twenty years ago, but it’s quite fitting in today's digital domain. With the development of high-tech communication, businesses are no longer restricted to exclusively serving customers in their home country. Due to globalization and an ever-increasing international market, it's more important than ever for businesses to have a localized website.
Globalization and Your Business
Globalization has forever changed how we conduct business, and many global brands have recognized that the key to connecting with new customers is to introduce their business to a local audience in their native language. A study conducted by the Common Sense Advisory revealed that 72.1% of consumers spend the majority of their time on websites in their own language. Additionally, more than half of purchasers are happy to pay more for a product or service if information is in their native tongue. It may be impractical to translate your website into every possible language, but partnering with a translation and website localization services team can make your company accessible to many.
Translation and Website Localization Services
Localization is a software customization process in which a program or interface designed for the local market is reconfigured to cater to foreign markets. The localization testing process ensures the accuracy of translation of each native language while tailoring the Graphical User Interface (GUI), making it pertinent to the targeted market. For many companies, the website localization process is a new experience, and they may be unsure of what to expect. Let's take a look at some website localization best-practices you can implement--including what not to do for a global website.
Six common mistakes to avoid when creating a global website
Ignoring the expertise of the in-country staff
The people who purchase and use your products or services are the foundation of your global website. And who understands your customer's culture and linguistic style better than a native linguistic specialist? Linguistic specialists are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to what you should include on your site, so be sure to ask your localization consultant if they have linguistic specialists on the ground in their home countries. Work closely with your team to make sure your site is welcoming to your customers from those regions. Share ideas and collaborate on projects for each in-country customization project.
Avoiding collecting direct feedback
You never know when a glitch might occur on your website, whether it’s a translation error, user functionality issues, or any other negative customer experience. The best way to ensure customer satisfaction is to give them direct access so they can voice their concerns and suggestions with ease. Customer feedback is invaluable when determining customer needs--particularly at the onset of a business entering into a particular market. Utilize this strategy to your advantage, and create a loyal customer base by collecting direct feedback from your users.
Forgetting to keep content current
If a visitor lands on your website and finds the content outdated--do you think they will stay or go? When creating a global website, it can be easy to focus on the translation of the content instead of the quality of the content itself. Consistently creating fresh content that is relevant to your audience will not only amass gratitude and devotion from your visitors but also creates the opportunity to achieve higher rankings in search engines, such as Google.
Not analyzing internal data before determining the next new market
Analyzing internal data provides a solid foundation for a smooth, successful expansion into new international markets. By identifying target customer groups in a new country or culture based on beliefs, values, lifestyle, and income, you can help your company be strategic about global expansion. Nataly Kelly, the Vice President of International Operations and Strategy at Hubspot, shared, "In the vast universe of data that can help you figure out which markets are best for you, the most important data points are: 1) How much estimated opportunity is available in that market, 2) How easy will it be for your company to do business in that market, and 3) How much success you’ve already had with that market."
Not adapting your marketing strategies
Marketing internationally is completely different from marketing in your home country. There are a slew of issues a business should consider when marketing to a different country as behaviors can even vary within countries in the same region. When making any international marketing decisions, some of the elements to consider are; cultural, economic, political, legal, and environmental factors which may affect your target market.
Forgetting to modify/update the product offering
A product that is popular in one market doesn't determine nor guarantee its success in a different one. A prime example of this scenario is international fast-food chains. McDonald's serves its burgers on pita bread in Greece and offers Seaweed Shaker fries in Japan, while KFC gives customers in China the choice of a side of bamboo shoots or lotus root to compliment their fried chicken. Practicing product localization is an essential component in penetrating global markets.
Are you looking to expand your business globally?
Whether you're a newbie or a pro, avoid these six common mistakes when it comes to creating a global website, and make sure to consult with a website localization specialist such as Andovar to prepare your website for international business. We are ready to discuss your company’s objectives and share our website localization best-practices with you.
Find out more about website translation and globalization strategy in our Website Translation Ultimate Guide.