The Importance of Multi-Regional and Multilingual Sites in 2022
Brent PetersonApril 19, 2022
If you want to grow your business, expanding into international markets is one of the best ways to increase your revenue, establish your brand as an industry leader, and build a global customer base. With modern technologies now easier to access than ever, even small business owners can successfully build multilingual and multi-regional sites to reach their audience, no matter where they might be.
Multi-regional vs. multilingual
The terms multi-regional and multilingual are often used interchangeably, but they have slightly different meanings. A multi-regional website specifically targets users in certain countries. For example, a seller that ships to Canada and the U.S. will have slightly different versions of the website depending on the user’s location.
A multilingual website, on the other hand, offers content in more than one language. A Mexico-based seller, for instance, may offer an English translation for customers who don’t speak Spanish.
It is possible for sites to be both multi-regional and multilingual, such as Amazon. The company has unique URLs for dozens of countries around the globe while also offering language translations to best meet customer needs.
Benefits for eCommerce merchants
The benefits of a multi-regional or multilingual website far outweigh the challenges that can arise from doing cross-border commerce. A well-organized and streamlined site can help sellers:
- Reach a larger customer base
- Improve the overall customer experience
- Create more personalized, user-centric shopping journeys
- Increase sales and revenue
- Boost online visibility and brand awareness
- Stay ahead of their competitors
Website management tips
Cross-border commerce is only effective as long as you’re able to understand the needs, wants, and preferences of your target base in different regions. If you’re planning to launch your website in another country or translating the language of your site for non-English speaking visitors, here are some key things to keep in mind:
1. Giver users the option to change the page language
If you have more than one language version of a page, it’s a good idea to add links to the other versions of your site so people can choose whichever language they prefer. In general, try to avoid automatic redirections based on visitors’ detected language. This might make it more difficult for search engines and potential customers to view all of your available content.
2. Use language-specific URLs
To make it easy for people in other regions to find your site, use localized terms or an IDN (Internationalized Domain Name) in the URL. Google also strongly recommends using UTF-8 encoding in all of your URLs.
3. Optimize for international SEO rankings
Optimizing your site for SEO in one language can be challenging, so multi-regional and multilingual site owners have to take extra steps to make sure that search engines are able to find all versions of their content. Along with maintaining an organized site structure and creating unique schema for different regions, here are some other important tasks to do to improve SEO around the globe:
- Make sure to translate content in a way that retains the original meaning. In other words, don’t rely solely on machine translations!
- Structure URLs properly and use relevant characters from other languages as needed.
- Use hreflang tags to indicate alternative versions of your pages to Google.
- Research long-tail keywords in other languages.
- Thoroughly test any extensions and plugins that offer multilingual features.
4. Ensure that translations are accurate
Machine translations can be convenient for updating things like basic product descriptions for your website, but when it comes to more complex, nuanced topics, getting a professional translator will be your best bet. Multilingual speakers will be able to effectively translate your messages to maintain the same tone, context, and details for native speakers.
5. Localize more than language
In addition to localizing language on your sites, keep in mind that there are other slight variations amongst various regions, such as:
- Date formatting (month/day/year vs. day/month/year)
- Measurements (metric vs. imperial)
- Currency types
- Payment preferences
- Privacy regulations
Solutions from BigCommerce
Although it’s possible to create separate sites for each region or country you do business in, BigCommerce makes it easy to manage several websites from a single dashboard. BigCommerce uses a multi-store approach, allowing merchants to manage and edit several categories efficiently and accurately.
BigCommerce can effortlessly manage international commerce transactions with its innovative solutions, such as:
- Advanced SEO functionalities
- Headless designs
- Hundreds of apps, extensions, and integrations to customize your store
- Compatibility with numerous payment providers
- Localized pricing and conversion tools
If you’re looking to enhance and expand your eCommerce business, get in touch with a Wagento professional to start building your own customized solution!
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