Do I really need a localised website?
In today’s globalised world, businesses are increasingly seeking to expand their reach beyond their local markets. One way to do this is to create an English-language website that aims so serve a global audience. However, while it may seem tempting to create a one-size-fits-all website that caters to an international audience, often such websites are not visible to international markets and/or their content and design do not appeal to audiences in other countries.
In contrast, localising a website for specific markets and language can provide a range of benefits that can help businesses achieve their goals and get value from their online presence.
What does localising a website involve?
In short, localising a website involves creating content that is tailored to the needs and preferences of specific geographic regions. This can include translating the website into different languages, adapting the content, messaging, SEO, design and layout to suit local tastes, and incorporating cultural references and customs that resonate with the target audience.
Localising a website brings many benefits. For this article, I have grouped these benefits into three areas: market reach, market appeal, and business effectiveness.
Website localisation helps reach new markets
Access to new international markets
Localising a website helps businesses open up and expand in new markets, e.g. the German market, that may not have been accessible otherwise. By creating content that appeals to specific regions, businesses can tap into new customer segments and expand their customer base.
Improved search rankings and search visibility
A website that is not in the language of the target market typically performs poorly in search, as there is a mismatch between users’ search terms and the language of your website. When done with SEO in mind, localising a website can also improve its search engine optimization (SEO) and search rankings. By creating content that is tailored to specific keywords and phrases in the language of the target market and as used by the target audience, businesses can increase their visibility in local search results. This will also help to increase organic traffic and drive more leads and sales.
Increased brand awareness as a result of localised web presence
Localising a website can also help to increase brand awareness (a topic I previously wrote about) among local customers who may have never heard of your brand before. By using local language, imagery, and cultural references, businesses can make their brand more recognisable and memorable. This typically leads to increased brand loyalty and advocacy, a particularly important part of successful internationalisation.
Website localisation helps improve market appeal in export markets
Better user experience
When a website is localised, it provides a better user experience for local customers. By providing content that is relevant and personalized to their needs, customers are more likely to engage with the website and find what they are looking for.
Increased engagement and conversion rates
When a website is localised, visitors are more likely to feel that the content is relevant and personalized to them. This then leads to increased engagement and conversion rates. For example, if a customer in Spain visits a website that has been translated into Spanish and uses local expressions and references, they are more likely to feel a connection to the brand and be more likely to make a purchase.
Enhanced customer trust and loyalty
When a website is localised, it helps build trust and loyalty among local customers. By demonstrating an understanding of local customs and preferences, businesses can show that they are committed to serving the needs of their customers and are equal, if not better, than a local solution the customer may have considered. This helps overcome initial doubts and leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as positive word-of-mouth referrals.
Website localisation helps improve business effectiveness
Localising a website can also provide businesses with a competitive advantage over their rivals. By demonstrating a commitment to local markets, businesses can differentiate themselves from competitors who may be less focused on specific regions. This helps to build brand recognition and increase market share.
Cost-effective approach to internationalisation
Overall, localising a website is a cost-effective way to expand into new markets. While it will require some investment to localise the website and keep it up to date, the long-term benefits outweigh the costs. By reaching new customers and increasing sales, businesses can generate a return on their investment and grow their revenue streams.
Improved customer support
When a website is localised, it can help to provide better customer support to local customers. By providing content in their language and using local cultural references, businesses can make it easier for customers to understand and use their products or services. This leads to increased customer satisfaction and reduced support costs.
Compliance with local regulations
Localising a website can also help businesses comply with local regulations and laws. For example, in some countries, websites are required to display certain information, such as privacy policies or terms and conditions, in the local language. Another example is the Impressum page, which any website addressing the German market needs to have. By localising their website, businesses can ensure they are compliant with local regulations and avoid potential legal issues. This is especially important for websites with e-commerce functionality, where users enter into a contract with the business.
In conclusion, localising a website can provide a range of benefits for businesses seeking to expand into new markets. By creating content that is tailored to specific regions and audiences, businesses can increase engagement, improve SEO and search rankings, enhance customer trust and loyalty, gain a competitive advantage, and do so in a cost-effective way. As such, businesses that are serious about global expansion should consider localising their websites to ensure they are best placed to succeed in their target markets.
I hope you enjoyed this article. To find out more or indeed take next steps on this journey, why not contact us at Glocafy!