How to Make Your US Spanish Website Impossible to Ignore

How to Make Your US Spanish Website Impossible to Ignore

So you’ve launched a localized website for Spanish speakers in the US and you’ve wisely included a link in the header, as shown here from the Chevrolet website:


Yet you’re still not sure that all Spanish speakers are aware of this new website. What more can you do?

You can use language identification to make the new site virtually impossible to miss.

What Is Language Identification?

Language identification (also known as language negotiation) is a process by which the server reads the locale setting of the web browser request, something like “fr-CA,” which stands for French/Canada. Most often, the locale setting of a web browser is aligned with the setting of the operating system, and this goes for smartphones as well.

Shown here is the language settings menu on Google Chrome (located under Preferences/Advanced Settings). Notice how English (United States) is at the top of the list of languages — this is the first language requested when the web browser requests a web page. Spanish-speaking web users are most likely (based on their operating system) to have a Spanish-language setting at the top of this list.


Make Localized Content Impossible to Miss with a Language Gateway

Just because you’ve launched a localized website does not mean that users will find it. A language overlay ensures that they become aware of it.

And, just because you’ve detected a language setting does not mean you have to force users to use one language; you can let the users decide for themselves.

Shown here is the overlay used on the Verizon Wireless website:


And below is the Sears website overlay:


Language negotiation is far from a perfect technology, so it’s best to ask users to confirm their setting. Equally important is the data you’ll gather from their language selection.

You may be wondering if this overlay won’t Annoy English speakers. But there’s no cause for worry: Web users without a Spanish-language browser won’t see this overlay because their browser settings won’t trigger the overlay.

And Don’t Forget a Language Link in the Header

If you do implement this approach for your Spanish website, it’s vital that you provide a visual global gateway in the header so users can easily change language settings at any time. Shown here is the Spanish-language link in the Kia header:



The language overlay is an excellent way to direct traffic to your newly localized website, while leaving users in control of which language they prefer. And, because so few companies currently use this overlay, it’s a great way to set yourself apart from your competitors.

About John Yunker

John Yunker, co-founder of Byte Level Research (, consults with many of the world’s leading global companies, providing web globalization training and benchmark services. He has authored ten annual editions of The Web Globalization Report, an analysis of the world’s best global websites. He is author of The Art of the Global Gateway, The Savvy Client’s Guide to Translation Agencies, and Beyond Borders: Web Globalization Strategies.


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