Tap into a Global Audience

4 website localization mistakes to avoid

 by anthony on  |
1 Comment(s)
Going global is an exciting time for any business. It’s a time of growth, evolution and change. It’s also usually a sign that a business is doing well and has the capacity to expand to new markets. In the digital age, a localized website is vital to the success of any global business.
But it’s easy to overlook vital details when embarking on a localization effort. Data is misinterpreted or important areas disregarded, opening the door for poor results. Below are some of the biggest mistakes businesses make when localizing their website.

1. Not asking the right questions
An increase in traffic from a country doesn’t always mean that you should localize to target that country. Yes, it is a sign of potential interest in your product. But there are other questions to address before making a decision, such as:

  • Are there any legal implications of selling your product in that country?
  • Do you have the capacity to handle customer service? (E.g. speaking the language, availability during time differences etc.)
  • Is your product needed in the target market?
  • How many competitors are in the market?
  • Can you be competitive and profitable in that market?
  • Is your product currently localized for new markets? (Language, packaging etc.)

2. Using a machine translation
Localizing your website means making it look native to every user. A machine translation will result in low quality content that isn’t SEO friendly. It will also look unprofessional, littered with grammatical inconsistencies and confusing sentence structure. A professional translation retains the tone of voice and context of your original content. That said, you can still use a machine translation on some of the less important content on your site.

But anything that needs to make absolute sense, such as a blog, will need a professional translation. It’s more expensive in the short term, but retaining the quality of your content will improve your SEO friendliness in your new language. It will also reduce errors and lower the risk of losing out on potential customers.

3. Only focusing on localizing written content
A localized website will change its images, colors and meta tags to match that of the target market. Written content is important, but the visual aspect of a website can make or break a customer’s purchasing decision. Localized written content is essential, but substantiate its effect with a look and feel that the visitor is familiar with. This sense of familiarity will create trust, leading to increased traffic and conversions over time.

4. Poor promotional efforts
Oftentimes, businesses make the mistake of using the same promotional methods in their new market as they did in the old one. The problem with this is that no two markets react the same, so change your methods to suit the market. This includes things like target audience, medium and message. A good example of this is social media promotion. Facebook is the biggest social channel in the world, but it isn’t suitable for every market.

In Russia, Facebook is almost non-existent, and a network called VKontakte holds the majority of the market share. Facebook and Twitter are also both banned in China, where WeChat and Webo are two of the most popular channels. Target audiences across these channels will also differ, as will the promotional message you send.

Final word
Localizing your website is a positive step on the way to going global. But it’s also a complicated process to undertake in-house and fraught with pitfalls if you don’t do your research. Taking care to avoid the mistakes listed above will go a long way towards a successful localization.

If you’re thinking about localizing your website but don’t know where to start, feel free to get in touch with Localizer. We provide a full-stack website localization platform that gives businesses all the tools they need in one place. Using Localizer can also save you a lot of time and money when compared to localizing in-house.


Richa - Comment
Richa17 Nov 2016Reply
Nice post :) Thank you for sharing the mistakes that need to be avoided.
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Thank you.

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