Web Design Localization

Web Design Localization for Reaching New Global Markets – Part 1

In the following articles we will look at how to use localization of your website for reaching new global markets.
You have probably been on websites that ask which country you are in before showing you their products that are for sale. That is an example of website localization in use. Website localization is the creation of an alternate website version which is specifically targeted for various market audiences. One of the obvious components in website localization are prices shown in local currency, and translated text, but there are many more aspects of website localization. If you read on, you will discover more details about website localization, why it is so critical for any websites which attract an international audience, as well as how you can use website localization to your company’s best advantage.

What Exactly is Localization?

Localization is not just a technique brands use for their websites. Almost anything could be localized, from logos, to branding, to product offerings, even to content such as video games or television shows.
The TV show, The Office, is possibly the most famous example of a television show whih was localized. The original show ran on UK television. Then the show later found an audience in Germany. Afterwards it was exported to the U.S., followed by seven additional markets. Each version of the show was adapted for success in its specific market while still retaining some key attributes of the original version.

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Other localization examples include modified sprite art designed for releases of video games throughout the world, as well as translated logos.

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However, localization entails more than merely translation. It also involves adaptation. As far as branding, localization may seem the polar opposite of global branding, which is the technique of creating one brand identity for use throughout the world. Yet numerous successful brands such as McDonald’s and Starbuck’s assimilate localization within their broader global brand strategies. This distinct applying of localization within the confines of a global branding strategy is termed globalization.

Is Localizing My Website Necessary?

It depends. For many cases, yes is the answer. Harvard Business Review notes that 72.4% of internet users report being more likely to purchase a product when information about the product is provided in their own language. Moreover, 72.1% say they spend most or all of their time online visiting websites which utilize their native language. So, yes! By localizing your site for specific markets, you will increase the numbers of visitors from those markets, particularly if you are selling products.

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Although language is clearly a major factor for numerous online shoppers, localization entails way more aspects than only translation of your website’s text.
It entails the following factors:

  • Adaptation of your design specifically to fit cultural norms and local tastes
  • SEO strategies for high ranking on user searches in various countries
  • Ensuring effective site loading and smooth utilization with a variety of networks
  • Use of a secure gateway for payments which accepts numerous currencies (though perhaps crypto may render this concern obsolete in the future?)

In the event you are not selling products and do not need access to payment gateways and accurate pricing display in different currencies, perhaps localization may not be worth the cost. For example, if you have a blog, do not have many visitors from other regions, or do not have an immediate need to modify your site to better connect with particular international audiences, then you are probably better off skipping localization.

But you may take into consideration that localization is not an all-or-nothing type of practice. You can choose localizing only the high-traffic or larger markets. For instance, maybe your blog receives high traffic from French and German markets, then it could be worth consideration of localizing the blog for these specific languages only.
To ascertain whether localizing is worth the effort for you, answering these questions can be helpful:

  • How do users typically interact with the site?
  • Do they watch your videos frequently?
  • Do they take courses you offer regularly?
  • Do they often read your blog?
  • Do they buy your products?

The greater the involvement of your website’s users, the more useful localization would be for your site.