If your business website is currently only visible in one language, you are missing out HUGE opportunities! As long as your business is able to adapt to sales and orders from foreign markets, adopting an international approach to your digital marketing strategy should be something right at the forefront of your marketing plan over the coming 12 months.
A recent study has shown that half of Fortune 500 companies have NOT translated their website into other languages, suggesting that even those right at the top of the business ladder are being slow to take this innovative, yet almost essential approach. Yes, it can be a little daunting to think on the prospect of receiving and fulfilling inquiries and orders from across the globe, but the internet enables this for the right businesses, and a strategic international approach can allow revenues to grow significantly in a relatively short period of time. As such, we caught up with Liam from Identify Web Design to have a chat on the right approach to launching an international digital strategy.
There's a little more to an international Digital Marketing Strategy than just translating your website, however as with most marketing approaches in 2015, that’s where it all begins, and the first (and most important) stage is to ensure that your site is accessible in the native language of your target markets. Whether that’s a handful of different markets and languages or a considerable number, the approach remains the same; you need to have a dedicated language-specific version of your website if you want to succeed in a territory.
The Best Approach - ccTLD vs Subdirectories
The bottom line is that if you want to expand into new territories, you NEED a well-translated version of your site in the native language of each of these territories. This isn’t an it would be nice to have, but a MUST HAVE, without which you’ll struggle to generate any sort of traction in other countries. When it comes to online behavior, it’s important to portray trust and by offering a translation in the first-language of your visitors.
To answer a common question; FORGET GOOGLE TRANSLATE. From an SEO perspective, Google will not index dynamic content generated by this widget, and for this purpose, it’s as good as useless for SEO. You need to have dedicated language-specific versions of your site, however this also leads to the debate as to whether you should go down the route of separate ccTLD’s (country-code top level domains) or whether you should choose to keep everything under one roof and launch language-versions on sub-domains or in sub-directories. As far as we’re concerned, it should be a sub-directory route every time, however according to Matinée Multilingual’s recent article, "Launching A Multilingual Website – ccTLD or One Main Domain?", they look at this common debate in a little more detail.
If you're lucky enough that your website has been developed in WordPress; you’re in luck as you’ll find a brilliant plugin called 'WPML' (WordPress Multilingual), which will do much of the hard work for you, so long as you’ve had a manual translation put together of your site.
At the end of the day, far few businesses are adopting an international approach to Digital Marketing and this is nothing other than lost opportunities. Don’t be the one who falls behind, start planning your entry into new territories and begin crafting your strategy to turn your business into one of the main international players in your industry.
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