28 Feb 2018

How to attract more international visitors to your website

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social media localization

With so many distractions in the online and offline world, how can you keep your international users on your website for longer than 2 seconds?

Is attractive design, mobile accessibility and fast load time enough to make your business stand out?

Not really.

Especially if you want to extend your international presence and attract more visitors from your target markets.

Below you can see three must-have items to add to your website when your business goes global.


1. Include all relevant languages, but do it wisely


To be able to engage with your international users, you’ll have to provide them with content in their language. English is not enough, unless you target only English speaking regions. But even then you’ll need to adapt your website to every variation of English, and create e.g. different pages for your British, Australian or American visitors.

Your website has to be available in the language of your target market to take the first steps on the new territory.

However, to truly gain trust and loyalty of your target audience you’ll need to go beyond the language level and think about cultural adaptation. It’s much more than just changing pictures, contact data, symbols or colours of your original website.

Adapting your website to another culture means also redesigning it in the way that would strike the right note with your users. What matters here are the buying habits, the way your potential customers take decisions or interact with brands. 

For some language versions you’ll need to add more information to reduce uncertainty of the first-time visitors, for other languages you’ll need to rephrase your texts to make them more flowery or more simple.

That’s why a thorough research of your target visitors and extensive cultural knowledge are the key factors to creating an effective multilingual website.


2. Simplify the language choice


Before adding new language versions to your website think about the way your users will access the content in their language. Will you change the landing page? Add an extra menu item with a language icon? How will you display the available languages?

The best strategy here is to include a little globe icon on the upper right side of your webiste that indicates language selections. Once the users click on it, they will be able to see all available languages or regions.

Another option is to create a language/region selection page as a landing page and make sure that cookies will remember the user’s selection if they open the website again. Being forced to choose the preferred website version upon every visit can be very discouraging and time-consuming. So make sure your users have to do it only once.

Now, it’s easy to go wrong in the language selection menu.

First of all, avoid the use of flags for country symbols and list all languages/regions in their local language. For example, don’t display simply “English, French, German”, but “English, Français, Deutsch”.

Remember also to mention the country or region, as many languages are spoken in several regions, and in some countries there is more than one official language (e.g. Canada, Switzerland).


3. Offer support in the language of your target users


Once your website is adjusted to the culture of your target market and available in all relevant languages, you have to make sure your users can actually communicate with you or find solutions to their problems in their language.


Make sure your FAQ section is available on all website versions in the local language and check if you can localise any other support functions. If you’re using chatbots for quick communication, ensure this feature is in the language of your visitors. Otherwise it won’t come in handy at all.


Finally, think about post-sales support or local support numbers to convert your random visitors to regular customers and create an image of a professional and trustworthy brand.


Every single item of your website matters, especially if you want to take your business on the global adventure. To make sure your website encourages your international visitors to do business with you, remember about cultural adaptation, intuitive language selection and an on-going support in the language of your target market.


Are you ready to take your website where your potential cusotmers are?


About the author: Dorota Pawlak
Dorota helps businesses, organisations and individuals to communicate successfully across cultures in the online and offline world. She is an entrepreneur and a qualified translator specialising in IT and localisation of websites, games and software.

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