Quick tips for launching a multilingual website

When launching a multilingual website, there are lots of things it’s important to get right. Paying attention to these factors can make the difference between success and failure of your website, so it’s worth spending some time on before your launch.

Here are a few of the main things you need to consider before you publish your multilingual site:

Visitor Language selection

Decide how you want to indicate the languages available on your website – there are several ways to enable visitors to choose the language of preference, including flags, text links and a dropdown list.

Are your images suitable?

Make sure that any images used on your site are culturally appropriate to the market you are targeting. This includes localising any text they may include as well as selecting images that will appeal to your audience.

Localise selected content

Select key information to localise and create a microsite based around this. A fixed amount of pages will keep costs down while providing enough content to capture the interest of potential customers.

Focus on core products

Offer a limited range of your best-selling products or core services in new markets to replicate domestic success overseas. You can build up a wider range once you know what will sell in each particular country.

Add content gradually

Search Engines favour sites that appear to grow in a natural, organic way. By adding pages to your international sites gradually over time, you’ll show that you are a legitimate business expanding internationally, rather than an organisation that suddenly arrives somewhat suspiciously.

Consider contact options

You’ll need to add a prefix to the dialling code for international customers, e.g. +44 for UK.
Let customers know if your staff can (or can’t) speak their language. This all helps to set their expectations and avoid any disappointments.

Measure results

Use web analytics to gauge interest and engagement in each priority market, then focus investment on those that demonstrate the best growth potential.

In short: start smaller and build up the localised content on your website over time. Monitor its progress as you would any new investment, but be prepared to be patient – miracles don’t happen overnight.

For more advice on localising your website, take a look at our knowledge pages.