18 Website Localization Best Practices (2024)
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18 Website Localization Best Practices (2024)

Mihajlo Ivanovic
Mihajlo Ivanovic
Listicles
14 mins
15 Dec
2023
Table of content
Table of Contents

As the digital economy continues to grow in 2024, businesses are no longer confined by geographic boundaries. Website localization allows companies to tap into new markets by making their products and services accessible and appealing to people in different regions.

Localization goes beyond mere translation. It involves adapting the website’s content, design, and functionality to meet local audiences' cultural, linguistic, and usability expectations. This tailored approach significantly enhances the user experience. This fosters a sense of familiarity and trust among users.

Benefits of Website Localization

Before we delve into the actual practices for website localization, take a look at some of the benefits that they bring to the table. 

  • Increased market reach — Website localization enables businesses to reach and engage with a broader international audience by catering to their specific language and cultural preferences.
  • Enhanced user experience — Localizing a website ensures content resonates with the local audience, making it more relevant, understandable, and user-friendly.
  • Higher conversion rates — By speaking the local language and addressing regional nuances, localized websites often see higher engagement and conversion rates.
  • Competitive advantage — Businesses that invest in localization set themselves apart from competitors who do not, offering a more tailored experience to international customers.
  • Improved SEO — Localization includes optimizing content for local search engines, which can lead to better search rankings and increased organic traffic in targeted regions.
  • Cultural sensitivity and relevance — Tailoring content to respect cultural norms and values builds trust and credibility with the local audience.
  • Regulatory compliance — Localizing a website helps ensure that it meets the legal and regulatory requirements of different countries, avoiding potential legal issues.
  • Brand loyalty and trust — By localizing content, businesses show respect and commitment to their international customers, fostering trust and loyalty.
  • Optimized mobile experience — Localization also involves adapting the website for regional mobile usage patterns, providing an optimal experience on preferred devices.
  • Local market insights — The process of localization can provide valuable insights into local market trends and consumer behaviors, guiding more informed business decisions.

Best Practices for Website Localization

By applying some of the following practices when localizing your site, you should be able to 

1 . Understanding Your Audience

Before doing anything related to localization, it’s important to research the potential markets and decide which audiences would bring the most value to your business. Next, researching the audiences' habits, aesthetic preferences, and many other important factors is important for setting the cornerstone of localization.

For example, a website targeting Japanese customers might feature a design that aligns with Japanese aesthetics and content that addresses local customs.

2. Language Translation

Translating your site into the target language is the most important part of localization. Nowadays, services such as Weglot and Webflow Localization offer machine translations, creating a language site variation in an instant. 

For instance, an e-commerce site entering the Spanish market could translate its product descriptions and user interface into Spanish, considering regional dialects.

In reality, however, you should hire a language professional to check your copy in their language and ensure that nothing gets lost in translation.

3. Local SEO Strategies

Local SEO is an important branch of search engine optimization, and it includes various things, such as:

  • Google My Business optimization — Ensuring accurate and complete business details on your Google My Business listing.
  • Local keywords — Incorporating relevant local keywords and phrases into your website's content.
  • Localized content — Creating content that caters to local audiences, including local news or events.
  • Online reviews and ratings — Encouraging customer reviews and responding to them professionally.
  • Local backlinks — Acquiring backlinks from other local businesses or organizations.
  • NAP consistency — Maintaining consistent business name, address, and phone number across all online platforms.
  • Local directory listings — Listing your business in relevant local directories.
  • Mobile optimization — Ensuring your website is optimized for mobile users.
  • Schema markup for local SEO — Using structured data to help search engines understand your business details.
  • Social media presence — Engaging with the local community via social media to promote your business.

A business expanding to Germany, for instance, might incorporate popular German keywords and local link-building strategies.

4. Cultural Adaptation

Adapting content to align with the cultural values and norms of a local audience can prevent misunderstandings and build trust.

Here are some of the things to consider when doing cultural adaptation.

  • Research local customs — Understand and integrate local customs, traditions, and norms into your website to show cultural awareness and respect.
  • Use appropriate language — Employ culturally appropriate language, idioms, and colloquialisms to make the content relatable and understandable for the local audience.
  • Adapt visuals — Tailor visuals, including colors, images, and design layout, to align with local preferences and cultural sensitivities.
  • Consider local holidays and events — Incorporate references to local holidays, events, and cultural milestones relevant to the target audience.
  • Be mindful of cultural taboos — Avoid content, symbols, or references that may be considered offensive or insensitive in the target culture.

A fashion retailer, for instance, might feature region-specific clothing styles on its Middle Eastern website to resonate with local fashion trends.

5. Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Ensuring a website meets the legal and regulatory standards of each target country can prevent legal issues and build credibility. 

Here are some tips to consider here:

  • Research local laws — Stay informed about the legal requirements specific to each country you're targeting, such as data privacy laws and consumer protection regulations.
  • Consult legal experts — Engage with local legal experts to ensure your website complies with all regional laws and regulations.
  • Update privacy policies — Tailor your privacy policy and terms of service to meet the legal standards of each region, particularly regarding data collection and usage.
  • Monitor changes in legislation — Regularly monitor for any changes in local laws to ensure ongoing compliance.
  • Display compliance certifications — Where applicable, display certifications or badges that indicate compliance with local standards, enhancing user trust.

A streaming service, for example, might adapt its content licensing agreements according to the laws of each country it operates in.

6. User Interface and User Experience

Designing a user-friendly interface that caters to the preferences of a local audience can enhance usability and satisfaction. Designers should be familiar with the local design preferences and adjust the interface accordingly.

For example, a Chinese version of a website might use larger text and brighter colors, reflecting popular design trends in China.

7. Currency and Payment Options

Offering local currency and preferred payment methods can significantly improve the shopping experience and increase sales. Nobody likes doing the math if they need to pay in a different currency.

An online store in Europe might offer transactions in Euros and include payment options like PayPal and SEPA.

8. Local Customer Support

Providing customer support in the local language and during local business hours shows commitment to customer service. Here are some tips that can help you here:

  • Hire local support staff — Employ native-speaking customer support representatives for more authentic service.
  • Localize support hours — Adjust support hours to align with the local time zone for better availability.
  • Use localized scripts — Develop culturally tailored support scripts for region-specific queries.
  • Multilingual support channels — Provide customer support through various channels in the local language.
  • Cultural sensitivity training — Train staff in cultural sensitivity to improve communication with local customers.

A tech company, for instance, might offer 24/7 support in French for its customers in France.

9. Social Media Integration

Integrating with popular local social media platforms can enhance engagement and brand presence. Here’s what you should do:

  • Identify key platforms — Research and identify the most popular social media platforms in the target region to focus your efforts where they're most effective.
  • Tailor content for local audience — Create content that resonates with the local culture, including language, trends, and humor.
  • Engage in local conversations — Actively participate in local discussions, events, and trends to show your brand's involvement in the community.
  • Utilize local hashtags — Incorporate region-specific hashtags to increase your content's visibility and reach within the local audience.
  • Schedule posts for local time zones — Time your social media posts according to the local time zone to maximize engagement.

A brand in Russia, for example, could integrate its website with VKontakte, the largest Russian social networking service.

10. Mobile Optimization

Optimizing a website for mobile devices popular in a particular region ensures a seamless user experience.

Some of the tips to consider here are:

  • Prioritize responsive design — Ensure your website automatically adjusts to fit the screen sizes of popular mobile devices in the target region.
  • Optimize for local mobile usage — Understand and cater to the most common mobile usage patterns and device preferences in the region.
  • Improve loading speed — Optimize images and scripts to ensure quick loading times on mobile devices, which is crucial for regions with slower internet speeds.
  • Simplify navigation — Design a mobile-friendly navigation system that's easy to use on smaller screens, with clear, touch-friendly menus and buttons.
  • Test on regional devices — Regularly test your website's performance and display on the most widely used mobile devices in the target region for compatibility and user experience.

In India, for example, a website might be optimized for Android devices, which are widely used there.

11. Content Management Systems

Using a CMS that supports multilingual content and easy adaptation to different regions can streamline the localization process. It’s important to use your CMS to keep all language versions of your content updated and aligned, ensuring changes and new information are accurately reflected across all languages. Of course, a good CMS should also allow you to change some content in one locale without having to change it to all others, if you don’t want to. This gives you complete control over the localization strategy.

A multinational corporation, for instance, might use Webflow’s CMS in combination with Webflow localization to manage its global websites.

12. Quality Assurance and Testing

Testing everything you applied as part of your website localization initiative is important to ensure it works well and brings in results.

  • Accuracy testing — Verifying the correctness of translations and cultural relevance of the content.
  • Functionality testing — Ensuring all website features, like links and forms, work properly in the localized version.
  • Cultural appropriateness — Checking that the content is suitable and respectful of local cultural norms and values.
  • UI/UX testing — Assessing the user interface and experience for ease of use and appeal to the local audience.
  • Compatibility testing — Testing the website on popular local devices and browsers for optimal performance.

For example, a Korean version of a website could be tested for correct language use and local browser compatibility.

13. Collaboration with Local Experts

Working with local marketing experts or cultural consultants can provide valuable insights and make localization efforts more effective.

  • Integrate local insights into strategy — Use the insights from these experts to tailor your marketing and content strategies to the local audience.
  • Regular consultations — Maintain regular communication with local experts to stay updated on any cultural shifts or new market trends.
  • Leverage local networks — Utilize the networks and connections of local experts for partnerships, outreach, or promotional activities.

An American company expanding to Brazil might collaborate with Brazilian marketing experts for local insights.

14. Multimedia and Graphic Localization

Adapting visual and multimedia content to reflect local cultures and preferences can make a website more appealing. For instance, if you have a video in English on your site, it would be a good idea to translate it to 

A travel agency’s website, for instance, might use images of popular tourist spots in Italy when targeting Italian customers.

15. Accessibility and Inclusivity

Ensuring a website is accessible to all, including those with disabilities, shows inclusivity and can expand the audience base. The good news is that many web design and development agencies already incorporate these practices into their work, and Google often lets you know if your site is not accessible.

Here are some of things to pay attention to:

  • Implement alt text for images — Provide descriptive alt text for all images, ensuring screen readers can convey the content to visually impaired users. Do this in all languages that you’re localizing your content for.
  • Use readable fonts and colors — Choose fonts and color contrasts that are easy to read, catering to users with visual impairments.
  • Keyboard navigation — Ensure your website can be navigated using a keyboard alone, aiding users with motor disabilities.
  • Provide closed captions and transcripts — Include closed captions for videos and transcripts for audio content, preferably in the languages you’re covering, assisting users who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Regular accessibility audits — Conduct regular audits of your website to identify and fix accessibility issues, maintaining an inclusive experience for all users.

For instance, a UK-based website might include features like screen reader compatibility and alternative text for images in the UK English version.

16. Marketing and Promotion

Tailoring marketing and promotional strategies to fit local markets can increase the effectiveness of advertising efforts. It’s important to research and understand the preferences, habits, and interests of consumers in your target market to tailor your marketing strategies effectively.

An online retailer in Australia might run local ad campaigns during Australian holidays and events.

17. Continuous Improvement and Updating

Regularly updating the website to reflect current local trends, preferences, and technological advancements keeps it relevant and competitive.

Here are some tips: 

  • Monitor local trends — Stay informed about emerging trends and preferences in your target market to keep your content current and relevant.
  • Engage with your audience — Regularly interact with your local audience through surveys or social media to gather feedback and understand their evolving needs.
  • Adopt new technologies — Stay abreast of and integrate new technological advancements that could improve the website's functionality and appeal to the local market.
  • Schedule regular reviews — Set a routine schedule for reviewing and updating your website to ensure it consistently aligns with local trends and technological changes.

A Canadian website might continuously update its language usage to reflect evolving English and French usage in Canada.

18. Analytics and Performance Monitoring

Monitoring website performance and user behavior in each locale can provide insights for optimization. 

  • Utilize analytics tools — Implement robust analytics tools to track user behavior, such as page views, bounce rates, and conversion rates, specific to each locale. For example, if you’re using Webflow’s localization feature, using Webflow analytics app, such as Data Goat, should streamline tracking performance.
  • Segment data by location — Segment your data to analyze the performance and user interactions in each specific locale, allowing for targeted optimizations.
  • Monitor local SEO performance — Keep track of your website's search engine ranking in different locales and adjust your SEO strategies accordingly.
  • Analyze user feedback — Collect and analyze feedback from local users for insights into their needs and preferences.
  • Conduct A/B testing — Regularly perform A/B testing on various elements of your website in different locales to determine the most effective strategies and designs.

For instance, a U.S. company could use Google Analytics to track how American users interact with its website and make necessary adjustments.

Webflow Localization as a Tool To Reach Audiences Worldwide

Webflow offers a powerful platform for website localization, enabling businesses to reach global audiences effectively. With its user-friendly interface, Webflow simplifies the process of creating and managing multilingual websites. It allows for easy integration of local languages, cultural adaptations, and region-specific content, ensuring that websites resonate with diverse audiences. 

Additionally, Webflow supports responsive design, which is crucial for mobile optimization in different regions. Its compatibility with various analytics tools aids in monitoring and improving localized site performance. By leveraging Webflow for localization, businesses can enhance user experience, comply with local SEO strategies, and adapt to cultural nuances, thereby expanding their international presence and engagement.

If you’re interested in using Webflow localization and need experts’ help in reaching global audiences, feel free to get in touch with Flow Ninja.

Mihajlo Ivanovic

Mihajlo Ivanovic

Mihajlo is the one who replaces Lorem Ipsum texts with the actual copy - an SEO and content expert at Flow Ninja. He has 10+ years of experience as a content writer for various industries. He also plays bass occasionally.

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