Are you planning to go global? Want to attract more traffic and customers globally?
Going global is essential for any startup, and it’s now easier than ever to do so. But why should you internationalise?
Why go global with your startup?
Entrepreneur highlighted an intriguing study by Forrester which says visitors spend twice as long on websites that are in their native language.
What was also revealed by research from IDC is that people are 4X times more likely to convert when a company speaks their language.
So by going global, you have a broader market to address and through localisation – the potential to convert a good portion of that traffic too.
But if you think it’s only a question of translating your current website into the language of the country you’re aiming to target. You’re wrong.
You’ll want to think carefully about the countries you want to target and how you’re going to support them. There’s a lot to it, including SEO aspects that you need to think about.
Here I’ll go through what you need to consider before you take the jump into going global, so you’re set up for success on the international stage.
1. Choosing Your Language
The obvious first step here is to decide what languages and regions you want to target. Here you’ll want to look at your conversions and website data to ensure the highest ROI.
Here we’ll turn to your Audience Report in Google Analytics and check out what languages your website visitors are speaking based on their browser settings. Just click the Geo Report on the left-hand side and pick Language from the dropdown menu to get the data.
Be on the lookout for languages that are converting traffic above average. So if you see higher than average conversions coming from people who speak Portuguese, this would be an indicator to think about localising for Portugal and Brazil.
2. Local Currencies During Checkout
Localising your checkout process often gets ignored, even though it can be an effective way of increasing conversions.
A survey by ANEC showed 66.4% of EU online shoppers purchase goods from a company in a different EU country – with only 10% doing so regularly. The survey also highlighted that until respondents received their order confirmation, they didn’t know they were buying from a company abroad.
The results from above, suggests that consumers are more likely to regularly shop from a company based in another country if the shopping experience is localised. This means that if you’re a French company selling to the UK and Norway – you’ll want to have your customers to be able to complete their purchases using their local currency, i.e. Sterling and Norwegian Krones.
By delivering a 100% localised experience, you’ll also reduce the number of chargebacks. This often occurs when people look at the price, but not the currency. Once they see a different amount debited from their account due to the currency exchange rate, they might issue a chargeback.
Luckily most payment service providers offer multiple currencies which can be added easily to your website.
3. Domain Structure For URLs
So you’ve decided which languages you want to add, but now you need to think about how to structure your URLs. These are the three most common ways to do this:
- Sub-domain: se.companyname.com
- Sub-directory: companyname.com/se
- Country coded top-level domain: companyname.se
For the easiest and fastest setup, go for sub-directories.
Sub-domains and top-level domains would require additional resources, especially in the SEO department. For instance, each domain that is country coded is considered a separate website by Google. So you will need to invest a whole lot more in local SEO, like link building to ensure you’re ranking organically for the regions you’re targeting.
4. Understanding The Culture
Translating content is just one aspect of going global. Understanding the culture and nuances is the other. You wouldn’t want to come across as insensitive or rude, which is why it’s best to consult a native speaker before publishing any translations.
For instance, in Germany, you have two different ways of addressing the person you’re speaking. One is with the casual “du”, which translates to “you” – and the other is formal with “Sie”.
How you decide to address your existing and potential customers is up to you. However, if we look at two companies in the fintech space, you’ll find that consumer bank N26 uses the informal “du”. Whereas Stripe, an online payments startup focused on business clients uses the formal “Sie” in their communication.
5. Maintaining Your Global Presence
While getting your whole website translated is a major step to going global. You’ll need to think about how you’re going to handle your updates.
You’ll most likely add new features to your product or add new items to your online shop. In both cases, you’ll adapt the content to highlight these additions. This, of course, will need to be translated into the languages you’ve added during this process.
Of course, it’s easier if you’ve got a native speaker already working for you. But for languages where you lack internal resources – you may want to consider using an agency or a freelancer to handle your translations.
Here are few places to check out and compare quotes:
It’s always an exciting time when you decide to expand to other countries as there’s a massive opportunity for growth. Nevertheless, track your analytics and your performance to see what needs to be optimised.
What challenges have you faced when expanding internationally?