Once you have refined your value proposition and USP for your new target market, you are ready to localise your website.
What is website localisation?
The term ‘localisation’ is used differently by different people. Wikipedia defines website localisation as “the process of adapting an existing website to local language and culture in the target market“.
Many people mistakenly think website localisation is the same as website translation. However, this is not true and it is important to note that translation, while very important when targetting countries with a different native language, is only a small subset of website localisation:
- Content is not the only part of a website that needs to be localised:
In addition to content, other aspects of a website – such as design, functionality, search engine visibility – need to be localised. In the case of e-commerce, webshop localisation also tends to involve considerable legal adaptations, so that the online shop meets the legal requirements of the target market
- Content in all formats needs to be localised:
In order for the website to contribute to lead generation, lead conversion and/or sales, web content in all formats (text, graphic, photo, video, audio) needs to meet the requirements created by the business environment of the export market, in particular with regard to competitors and customers;
- All text content needs to be localised, including same language content:
All text content on the website (including visible webpage text, metadata, keywords) needs to meet the requirements and search, word choice, and spelling patterns of (potential) customers in the export market.
How can e-Vorsprung help you with website localisation?
At e-Vorsprung, we use a slightly broader and more business-driven definition. We see localisation as the “the process of adapting an existing website to the target market“. This very much includes culture and language, as specified in the Wikipedia definition, but is also includes economic, social, technological, and legal aspects that impact doing business in a country. The rationale here is: Company websites exist to support business. Hence, localisation has to be done in such a way that it enables the new foreign website to effectively and efficiently support doing business in this new target market, B2B as well as B2C.
At e-Vorsprung Consulting, we provide services to support all aspects of website localisation, depending on your specific requirements, including the services outlined below.
A good starting point for localising a website is to audit the current website, i.e. either the current Irish website or – if it already exists – the current and often not so well performing website for the target market. This audit will identify both strengths and weaknesses of the website and thus result in a set of clear and specific recommendations for the new foreign website with regard to design, architecture, content, language, use of graphics, and/or legal aspects etc.
As part of the audit, we can also benchmark your current foreign website against those of other Irish SMEs, leveraging the criteria and tool we developed during a piece of work with Enterprise Ireland in 2013, when we analysed and benchmarked more than 20 Irish companies’ websites for the German marked, using 34 criteria to assess these German-market targetting websites’ visibility in and likely appeal to the German market.
Web presence localisation planning
A good plan for website localisation is key and the best starting point for planning is the web presence localisation strategy. Clear timelines need to be determined. Resource requirements need to be reviewed in terms of what can be done in-house and where external help may be needed. Priorities need to be set. Sometimes, due to time, budget or resource constraints, it is not realistic to localise the full website. Or indeed, the market opportunity may not justify it. In this case, priorities need to be established and a plan for either only localising a subset of the website or a phased approach to website localisation needs to be built.
End-to-end web presence localisation
With the web presence localisation strategy and plan in place, the next logical step is to move to the implementation stage and localise the both the website and the digital marketing approach for the chosen export market, another important activity we can support you with.
This includes a localisation of the design, content, messaging, pictures, USP to your new target market, so that the new website will meet with the requirements and expectations of your target market, which is the basis to lead conversion. Other tasks covered as part of this activity include keyword research, basic on-page search engine optimisation (SEO) for the website as well as SEO-relevant technical issues, such as decisions on domain strategy, hosting and other local signals to improve the website’s visibility to prevalent search engine in the target market.
Localisation of digital marketing
While the onpage SEO performed during website localisation is a fundamental first step in achieving visibility in the new market, it will not be sufficient to attract significant website traffic and will be complemented by a strategy and associated tactics for digital marketing, such as the building of local links, search engine advertising, listing in directories, press portals and/or on price comparison websites, content marketing, social media etc.