Why Website Localization is Important for Going Global

Pollion Team

If you’re preparing to take your business website to a global audience, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. Remember, your company website will be like a first meeting. Site users, who are potential customers, will form their first impression of your website.

Just like meeting someone in person for the first time, visitors to your site will come away with an impression of your company. You’ll want to make sure they come away with the very best impression possible.

What is Website Localization? 

Localization of your website includes translation, but also much more than that. This is a process that also includes making the site culturally correct including images, colors, etc.

The process of localization includes targeting keywords in the languages used on the site through multilingual SEO. Additionally, it involves conducting localization testing to ensure functional and linguistic accuracy, while also verifying correct language usage.

Related Post: Why Professional Localization Matters?

Language Translation the Right Way

Though it’s spoken widely, English is not the native language for most people in the world. Research has shown that site visitors will prefer to read the content on your site in their language. Consequently, it’s essential to ensure that the company conveys its message accurately, even after translation.

Some companies choose to utilize Google to translate their content; however, this is a mistake. Why? While the language may be translated in a way that may be understood, it may also contain many mistakes. These mistakes may make the site look unprofessional and as if the company doesn’t truly care for its customers. That’s not an impression you want your company to leave with site visitors.

Using the services of a professional translation company can help you translate and localize your website content into other languages while retaining the meaning and your company’s branding.

Website Localization

Market Penetration Requires More Than Translating

To truly reach your target audience, it will be necessary to do more than just translate your site’s content. You intend to penetrate a new market and to do that you’ll need to touch your audience in a manner consistent with their language and culture.

Website localization also includes taking into account the culture and preferences of each country you want to reach. Not only do you need to consider such things as measurements and currencies, but you’ll need to adapt images, colours, graphics, and possibly even page layout to accommodate the target audience.

The goal of localizing your company website is to reach the target audience through their own culture and language. The site’s content needs to be translated correctly and needs to come across as culturally correct for each country you plan to touch.

Website Localization Process

Successfully localizing a website involves much more than just translating text word-for-word into another language. It’s a complex process that requires input from many different stakeholders.
Here are the main phases I’ve found effective for localizing websites based on my experience:

  1. Prepare Your Website for Localization
    Choose a CMS that supports multilingual content so it’s easy to manage translations. WordPress and Drupal are popular flexible options.
    Remove any obstacles to translation through a process called internationalization. This includes ensuring your site can support different languages and local formats for dates, times, currencies, etc.
  2. Do Market Research to Choose Target Countries
    Analyze your existing web traffic and sales data to identify where demand exists. Use tools like Google Analytics and Semrush to gather market insights.
    Prioritize 1-2 initial markets with the most potential. Localizing your site for every market at once is overly complex.
  3. Build Your Localization Team
    Hire native translators, developers, QA staff, project managers, and in-country reviewers fluent in your target markets.
    Make sure team members can collaborate smoothly across geographies and time zones.
  4. Create Localized Content
    Don’t just translate text verbatim. Adapt your messaging to resonate based on local culture, humour, references, etc.
    Transcreate your content to sound natural in the target language.
  5. Localize Site Design and Functionality
    Consider differences in layout, image selection, and colour palette.
    Ensure your site can handle local currencies, date formats, right-to-left text, etc.
    Make your site easily navigable for users in different countries.
  6. Thoroughly Test Before Launching
    Rigorously check for linguistic errors, formatting issues, broken links, usability problems, etc.
    Identify and fix any technical glitches on localized site versions.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

When localizing a website, certain common pitfalls can hinder the process, turning it into valuable learning experiences. Here are some key mistakes to avoid:

  • Relying on Free Online Translation Tools: Machine translation can be useful for getting the gist of foreign content. But subtle nuances are often lost or misinterpreted. Invest in professional human translation for localization.
  • Failing to Internationalize Before Translating: Retrofitting multilingual support is hugely complex. Remove translation obstacles upfront through careful internationalization planning.
  • Only Doing Surface-Level Translation: Effective localization requires reworking messaging, not just word-for-word translation. Failure to transcribe content can make it seem unnatural.
  • Using Unqualified Freelancers: Quality varies hugely between translators. Work with experienced linguists and cross-functional teams that understand your brand voice and local nuances.
  • Neglecting Locale-Specific SEO: Don’t just translate keywords. Do extensive local keyword research to optimize pages for each market.
  • Launching Without Sufficient QA: Always thoroughly test localized sites before launch. Proofread content meticulously and fix technical problems before going live globally.
  • Forgetting About Ongoing Maintenance: Continuously update translations as source content changes. Don’t let new languages fall out of date as your site evolves. Plan for ongoing localization needs.

How does website localization differ from simple translation?

While translation focuses primarily on converting content from one language to another, website localization goes beyond mere language conversion. Localization involves adapting a website to cater to the cultural, functional, and linguistic preferences of a target market. This includes changes in currency, date formats, cultural references, colour schemes, and even the overall design to resonate with the local audience. Put, localization ensures that a website feels native to its viewers, regardless of their geographical or cultural background.

How does website localization impact user experience and engagement?

Website localization plays a pivotal role in enhancing user experience. When a user interacts with a website tailored to their language and cultural nuances, they find it more trustworthy and user-friendly. This tailored experience can lead to increased engagement, lower bounce rates, and a higher likelihood of conversions. A localized website signals to users that the brand values and understands its international audience, leading to a stronger emotional connection and brand loyalty.

Can website localization affect search engine optimization (SEO) and online visibility?

Absolutely! Proper website localization can significantly boost a brand’s SEO in the target region. Search engines prioritize content that’s relevant and valuable to users. Businesses can rank higher in local search engine results by localizing content, meta tags, URLs, and even alt texts for images. Moreover, using hreflang tags ensures that search engines display the correct language version to users. Thus, website localization not only improves user experience but also optimizes online visibility in different regions.


In conclusion, website localization is crucial for businesses seeking to expand their reach to a global audience. Localization involves more than just translating website content, it requires adapting the website to meet the cultural and linguistic requirements of the target audience. This includes elements such as images, colours, graphics, and page layout. Utilizing professional translation services can ensure that the website content is accurately translated and culturally relevant. Ultimately, website localization is essential for building a positive brand image, connecting with the target audience, and increasing conversions in global markets.

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Tags: localization global website