Step 4. Website Content - Localize & Internationalize

Companies seeking foreign audiences with their websites will want to either localize or internationalize their site, or provide a mixture of both processes. Forrester Research notes that "visitors linger twice as long [on international sites] as they do at English-only URLs; business buyers are three times more likely to buy if addressed in their own language; and customer services costs drop when instructions are displayed in the user's language."

Localization consists of adapting one’s website to meet the linguistic, cultural, and commercial requirements of a targeted market. Internationalizing a firm’s website enables the company to be multilingual and be sensitive to cultural conventions without the need for extensive redesign. Localization or internationalization must be part of the online exporter’s corporate strategy for website and business development. Features that should be considered include:

  • language
  • cultural nuance, such as differences in color association and symbols
  • payment preferences
  • pricing in the appropriate currency
  • web metrics and visitor reports
  • regular maintenance and updating

More information on localization and internationalization can be found at the website for the Localization Industry Standards Association, www.lisa.org or the Globalization and Localization Association, www.gala-global.org. TechCom Manager’s June 2009 newsletter also provides a helpful article entitled, “Web Site Globalization's Hidden Secrets.”

Step 5: Execute Orders