One of the biggest keys to a successful global expansion is having a multilingual website that targets the demographics you want to reach. This goal seems simple enough, right? Although it’s easy to think a no-frills translation of pre-existing content is all that is required to help your business reach new customers, this rudimentary approach simply cannot deliver the conversions necessary for your global expansion to be a success.
However, businesses with market penetration strategies looking to make deliberate and effective debuts in international markets can make their multilingual websites work harder for them and tally up faster conversions and greater market presence. The process may not be as fast as simple translation, but the following key steps will guarantee a high-converting multilingual website:
1. Invest in Market-Specific SEO to Identify Market-Specific Keywords with the Most Reach
Though two words may have the same definition in two languages, this does not mean they have the same usage, popularity, and most importantly, searchability. For instance, both “book” and “tome” mean roughly the same thing in English, but the former sounds far more natural than the latter, and only a native speaker would know the difference. Identifying which words are prevalent in a given language and how they can be used to drive keyword-specific searches in your target market is crucial if you want your multilingual website to succeed. If users can’t find your site via local search engines with popular keywords, it is impossible to even get the conversion process started.
Search Engine Watch describes multilingual keywords as “the vital link between what people are searching for and what is on your website” and advises those looking to boost their global site’s visibility to employ a translation agency or local professional with cultural insight and language skills to help identify keywords that will resonate with local audiences.
2. Ensure Standards and Best Practices Are Upheld in All Territories
Though you may not be involved in the day-to-day affairs of your multilingual web presence, it is important that all the same standards and best practices that are used to ensure quality for your home market are upheld for all websites across every territory.
This means link checks, browser compatibility fixes, and other quality assurance checks must be routinely performed for all multilingual sites prior to launch, during the initial rollout, and on a rolling schedule on an as-needed basis. Upholding these standards will ensure all visitors to your website have a high-quality experience and can access the information they need to learn about your brand and eventually convert. This is especially crucial, because websites that load slowly due to outdated browser compatabilities or other issues can lose customers at an alarming rate. KISSmetrics recently reported on a study that found every second of loading time costs e-commerce businesses an average of 1 percent of lost revenue as consumers lose interest and patience. Upholding standards across all territories ensures you don’t miss out on this capital.
3. Prioritize a High-Quality Translation Performed by Expert Translators
Above all, the quality of your translation will determine the success or failure of your international web presence. Machine translation must be avoided at all costs. Translators who know your business and specialize in your content should be used to translate not only words, but also the spirit of your brand across the regions you are trying to reach.
Beyond simple product and brand knowledge, these expert translators should be engaged in dialogue with representatives from your company so that updates are pushed through in the same voice consumers in the region have come to expect and trust. By keeping the tone of your website consistent, consumers will develop trust with your brand and conversions will come more easily.
Though using enterprise translation software in a platform is more expensive than using a quick and imprecise machine translation, investing in this type of high-quality multilingual website translation can pay dividends, especially since it enables you to reach consumers in familiar ways, using words that are easily searchable, and ensures consumers can find your business in new markets.
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