Why should you design a website that is compatible with a global market? Learn why it is important and get tips on how to localize your website right.
Designing websites with the global audience in mind is necessary for businesses that want to succeed in 2019 going forward. However, very few companies and marketers are aware of this fact. If you are setting out to create a new website or redesign your existing one, the critical question on your mind should be, how can I make my site more suitable for an international audience? In this article, we’ll talk more about the benefits of designing websites for a global market and how website localization helps to make this goal a reality.
For the past several years, marketers didn’t bother with learning about the intricacies of marketing beyond their national boundaries. But today, the marketplace has grown globally. Therefore, if a business wants to grow and become more successful, it is high time their marketing team learns to tackle the international marketplace.
Designing an e-commerce site for a global audience instead of going for just one target locality comes down to the numbers. Today, more than half of the population worldwide has access to the internet. That’s well over three billion people. So, if your website is easy for them to handle, these people can see your products and potentially buy what you are selling.
And in as much as English has become commonplace, according to data by Statista, it represents just 25.4% of internet users worldwide as of December 2017. Therefore, when you don’t design your site for the global audience, you will be missing out on the more than 70% of the international market.
Localization is not something you do and quickly forget about. It is a continuous, never-ending journey that you embark on a step at a time. And this applies to both startups and big multinational organizations. To localize website, you must set a long-term goal. And if you are planning to sell to more than one market, you must take into account that what works for one particular market, won’t necessarily fit the other.
International expansion becomes problematic for most businesses because of poor planning and research. The world encompasses multiple cultures, languages, beliefs, needs, interests, and fears. All these factors affect people’s buying decisions and should be considered before a business expands to such markets. On the technical side, localization must be well-laid out from the onset. It would be easier to launch international versions of your site if you had already planned for it in your code. Here’s are some tips to help you become international-ready:
A website that has a lot of images is much harder to localize and means that you have to find lots of culturally appropriate pictures for each target region. More visuals also mean that the site will load slower. Lots of international businesses have succeeded by employing a less is more approach. You don’t need to have too many images in your design. Choose a few great ones.
Hreflang tags are used to tell Google the language a given page is in. You can add an element to the header of your original link for your other language version, use an HTTP header to indicate the different language versions or submit them in a sitemap.
Unicode employs consistent representation, encoding, and handling of text in most of the writing systems. And it works with most languages whether it is read right-to-left and left-to-right. Unicode uses over 100,000 characters and 90+ scripts. UTF -8, the most common Unicode, has become the default character-encoding system for sites. By using it, your website will be compatible with most of the world’s languages.
Adding an app or plugin to machine translate your site isn’t enough and may give you poor translations that may alienate or offend the audience you are trying to reach. Popular tools like Google Translate, are great at converting a few words or text to a different language. But, when idioms are used, or the two languages have completely separate sentence structures, the meaning might be lost during translation.
When you want high-quality translation website content, you will require human translation services. An excellent example of a service that can help is Translate.com which offers both machine and professional human translations. A lot of companies lose clients because of failing to invest in a good translation service.
A Content Delivery Network is a distributed network of proxy servers together with their data centers that will help you provide the same user experience to different markets around the world. It delivers web content and pages to end-users based on their geographical locations. Your page will load faster even in areas where the internet speeds are not as fast. But you also have to avoid large images and videos when trying to penetrate a market with slow internet speed. Otherwise, your site won’t load, and you won’t sell anything.
In localization, a website designer or marketer must take into account space. Using white space in strategic places on a site can make it look better and more usable. It also gives you room to adapt if you ever need later. But some languages use more words to say the same thing than others. OS, if you fail to plan for the additional space that might be required, translations will be unable to fit thus hampering the localization process.
Internalization can turn out to be a tedious and overwhelming task if you don’t plan and account for everything ahead. So, if you are building your e-business now, factor in the possibilities for global expansion at the start. Create a team of relevant professionals and collaborate with them a step at a time.