It’s undeniable that one of the toughest challenges web designers and content creators have to face with regards to website management is the creation of localized content. It’s no longer important to just churn out business content for the sake of marketing to your customers but to also engage more personally with them.
With that being said, when many websites try to transition from their local site to a more globalized one, site owners become lazy and simply copy and paste the content over. There’s neither ingenuity involved in the process nor do they go the extra mile to better understand the needs of their expanded (and newer) consumer and the new international market they’re tapping into. There are many global variations to take into account and failing to do so will handicap you greatly. Hence, if you want to avoid these pitfalls and work towards optimizing your website for an international audience, keep on reading.
1. Local Calendar
This is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to good marketing strategies. A basic calendar can help you keep track of the holiday seasons or events of your target demographic. Such dates include:
· Shopping and flash sale seasons
· Academic year
· Business fiscal months
· Holiday periods
Every country has its own unique timeframe for holiday seasons, sales and business periods. Therefore, it’s important to be on the ball of these crucial periods so that your business can best capitalize during these seasons.
For example, Singapore schools differ in the academic year depending on the level of the institution — pre-tertiary schools typically begin in January/February and end around November. However, Singapore universities share a similar academic calendar to U.S. schools which begin around August/September and end by May.
Using Singapore as a case study again, their fiscal year typically begins in April and ends in March of the next year. However, when compared to Japan, contractors tend to begin planning for their fiscal year budget during the Autumn season in order to be ready by the coming February or March.
Based on these given examples, it’s easy to see how significant it is to be consistent and organized with your business planning according to your target country’s calendar. If your business involves services or products based on seasonal changes, time your launches wisely. Failing to plan your business ventures with the appropriate season could prove detrimental.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
It’s a shame that the skill of SEO is rarer these days. While it’s toxic (and futile) to constantly vie after the top position in search engines and keywords, it doesn’t mean that it should be completely overlooked. Understanding your target audience’s preferences during online searches for products and services related to your field is important in order to properly strategize your marketing schemes. Being able to appropriately sketch out an effective content marketing plan would undoubtedly help boost sales as well.
Hence, we recommend that you scope out your local keyword searches back at home base. If you have a solid grasp of the type of content your consumers search for, it can better inform your marketing ploys on how to ultimately expand your influence more globally. A few good areas to research would include customer service chat topics, local competition and popular products/services within the area.
3. Translation and Localization
In an increasingly globalized world, it’s easy to grow complacent and assume that every country you wish to venture your business into speaks English — the international lingua franca for conducting business and trade. Such complacency and ego would only lead to your downfall.
Gather a good comprehension of BOTH your consumer base’s wants AND needs. Simply catering to their consumption preferences through your services and products is useless if you can barely communicate with them at all. With that being said, if English isn’t the first language of your customers, don’t blindly scrap all your previous hard work and start afresh on your content. Hire a professional to translate your existing site’s content; after which, localize the site for the relevant countries.
Additionally, if you’ve done sufficient research on SEO, you can collaborate better with the translation team to input these important keywords along with any other specific local information relevant to the target consumers. Some popular languages you might consider to translate your site into might be (Simplified and Traditional) Mandarin, Spanish, or French. Also, don’t forget to add local phone numbers, addresses and currencies to your website’s profile. Lastly, the hreflang element is a great tactic to cater to search results to users using the same language. At the moment, the only viable search engines offering such a service are Google and Yandex.
4. Systematic Content Management
Now, let’s move on to the actual content aspect of your website. One of the biggest nightmares of global sites is when the content management systems (CMS) short circuits on local content, deleting all the original local content like the title tag and meta descriptions. The reason for this is straightforward: local teams are obviously smaller than a global team back at headquarters/ Hence, an update of original content is an unprecedented load for them, resulting in the site failure.
In order to avoid this unfortunate circumstance, ensure that you configure your content management system (CMS) during the initial setup in a manner such that it won’t automatically erase edited content on subpages when the main page is edited.
Another possible problem that the CMS might encounter would be when new content is added onto the main site, it automatically updates additional subpages to the page, regardless of the country of origin. These new popups would then be left on the website in the original language without being translated to the correct language. This might be confusing to visitors on the local sites. The solution for this is to either delete the pages from local sites or accord more admin access to the local team to have better control over the CMS. Restricting their admin access has shown to complicate the editing process unnecessarily because it’s a tedious waiting game for the local team to constantly seek edit approval from the global team which could take weeks to months.
5. Global Content Chart
Finally, to improve local engagement with your new consumer bases, conduct some ground research on them. According to your findings, you can either adapt your content to suit their needs more or even design ‘local’ content that would appeal to them.
Let me illustrate this with an example: if your business targets the general youth population, chances are, they’ll require the permission of their parents or guardians to approve of any online agreements or purchases. As a result, you’ll need to figure out how to gain their trust and appeal to these caretakers so that your business can earn higher rates of approval from them. Therefore, in such a case, it’s essential to cater to both the youth and the adults.
Once you’ve gathered significant data on the local population, utilize this newfound knowledge to create your global content management chart. On this chart, you’ll be able to indicate different consumption patterns of each consumer base across countries. This helps facilitate the content creation and management process on what’s useful to include or remove from each site accordingly. This can tie in very nicely with your local calendar too (mentioned in Step 1).
At the end of the day, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. There’s hardly any shortcuts to growing a successful business, let alone manage one in the long run. It’s definitely challenging and you’ll run into plenty of roadblocks along the way. However, one of the best ways to learn is to experience things for yourself and figure out what works for your business and what doesn’t. Last but not least, be sure to pick a reliable website host for your site; like those from hostingfoundry.com to ensure your site’s success. Hopefully, the guide above has useful advice to guide you along the way and equip you with the right tools to get started!
Founder Dinis Guarda
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