It’s no secret that websites play an essential role in the B2B sales cycle, from driving leads and delivering compelling user experiences to converting those leads into sales opportunities. For many companies, a multilingual website is essential for accessing new markets and generating additional revenue streams. However, developing a multilingual website isn’t as easy as just copying and pasting existing web content into a translation tool.
To offer up some web development insights to the marketing community, I co-hosted “Boosting Your International Revenue” with Peter Argondizzo of Argo Translation where we discussed how to implement translation best practices to generate real business results. Below are some of the key takeaways from our discussion. You can also access the full recording of the webinar here.
Selecting the Right CMS
Your content management system (CMS) allows you to create, manage and modify content on your website. When selecting the right CMS for your company’s multilingual website, it’s important to be clear about your immediate and long-term marketing goals so you can implement a CMS that will enable each of them. Below are a few things to consider during the CMS selection process to ensure your organization generates a return on the investment:
- Budget – First, you’ll need to consider your budget, including the costs of implementation, support and innovation as your company evolves. When thinking about the costs incurred post-implementation, your budget may help you decide between an open-source CMS, one that’s available to the general public, and a closed-source CMS, a proprietary platform that’s distributed under a licensing agreement. For example, if you choose an open-source platform, it may be free to make modifications, but you may incur additional charges for added services or future integrations which could negate the cost savings on the front end.
- Plugins and Connectors – Choose a CMS that is compatible with your current or desired plugins and ensure you’re able to connect to your preferred translation partner via API or connector. This is an especially important consideration if you’re deciding between a traditional or headless CMS. A headless CMS is a great option if you have a text-heavy site or need content to be distributed quickly to multiple channels as the platform allows you to publish content via APIs.
- Translation Capabilities – Select a CMS that enables you to easily pull and push web content automatically between you and your translation partner or platform. Translation accuracy is critical to successfully launching and maintaining an international presence, so be sure to consider the translation accuracy of plugins like WPML and treat the initial translation as a first draft.
- Marketing Automation Needs – If your CMS is an important piece of your marketing automation workflow, it’s important that the platform integrates with your preferred marketing automation tools. Remember that as you lead your international customers through the marketing funnel via automation, you should aim to speak to them throughout the customer journey with messaging that’s personalized and in the native language that brought them to your site in the first place.
International SEO Tips
Having the structural capability for international selling isn’t enough to close deals. To generate revenue, you must effectively engage the audience you’re trying to reach. That’s where international SEO comes in.
Know Your Audience
The majority of web users live outside of North America and many of them speak languages other than English. The quality of your translation, localization and international SEO strategy will determine whether you win their business, so make sure you know your audience’s language, slang, concerns and preferred search platforms. Accurate translation should apply to all pages so remember to be thorough and consistent across your site. For example, having a mix of the native language and English across pages creates an ineffective user experience.
Ensure Quality Translation
Improving your international SEO relies heavily on the quality of your website’s translated content. Your content needs to be compelling and engaging to the audience you are trying to reach, so consider how your brand value can be authentically represented to your international audience. Keep in mind that effective, quality translation extends beyond literal interpretations. Strive for achieving correct syntax, connotation and consistency throughout your translated content.
Different audiences will search for your business in different ways, so you’ll need to anticipate the keywords and phrases that are most likely to be used by your international audience. After conducting research and compiling your list of keywords and phrases, integrate them throughout your web content and remember to use them in your metadata. If you find you’re already getting traffic from international markets to your native website, research their audience behavior so you can begin targeting them intentionally on your international site.
Use Country-Code Top Level Domains
Using country-specific domains is probably the most effective way of optimizing a website for an international audience by making sure it gets found by the right people. As you plan to expand your business internationally, consider purchasing country-specific domains for each region in which you plan to operate. If you’re targeting a shortlist of countries, opt to buy a country-code top-level domain, which will deliver the most impactful geo-targeting signal to search engines. Taking this step also builds trust and makes it clear to site visitors that your products or services are available to them and it will be easy to navigate your site.
Act on Metrics
Digging into analytics allows you to uncover who your audience is, what their needs are and what content resonates with them. Use an analytics platform like Google Analytics to help you discover where your viewers are coming from, as well as the top-performing pages that may be the most compelling or relevant to your international audience. Based on these insights, invest in the areas where you can earn incremental engagement and revenue and iterate your content and website architecture as needed. Remember, you’re making an investment in your multilingual website, so track and monitor its performance on an ongoing basis to ensure you’re successful in the long run.
High-quality and conversion-oriented web development and translation services are the keys to success for brands looking to access global markets. Ready to get started? Find out how we helped Miller Heiman Group successfully launch a new global website in six languages here, or get in touch with our web experts today.