Rolling out a host of localized websites for dozens of target countries is a smart business move for anyone involved in e-commerce (considering that two-thirds of those online are not native English-speakers, and that more than 70 percent of online consumers hesitate to make a purchase online unless they can read about the product in their native language).
However, it can also be an expensive undertaking, what with the costs of designing, translating, hosting, and updating 10, 20, 30, or even 40 individual websites in a range of languages.
There are ways you can reduce your total outlay and increase your ROI, however.
Let's say you want to target 30 different countries, which means 30 different websites, each in a different language or language variant. Instead of creating 30 comprehensive localized websites for each country, test the waters in uncharted markets by creating microsites that feature your main pages (e.g., home, products, about, and contact). If you get enough interest from a particular market, you can then translate the whole site for that language.
By utilizing sub-domains off your main site, rather than buying and hosting a domain in every country, you can save a significant amount. You can still achieve the same "local" effect by geotargeting each subdomain using the Google Webmaster tool, so your site will appear in local search results.
3. Save on Translation With Duplication
Duplicate content in the same language will see you penalized by Google, but if you use the same copy in different languages across all your foreign language websites, then you can save costs by simply translating or "transcreating" your original content, without having to copy write unique content for each new language.
Keep your original content straightforward and colloquialism-free to allow for simple and thus cheaper translations -- you should then double-check your translated content to ensure your keywords are correctly localized. For duplicate content in the same language, say between your English sites for the UK, U.S., and Canada, you may want to make some tweaks to the content to ensure that it isn't identically duplicated across all sites.
4. PEMT for Low-Value Content
You can also save more on translation, and open up a whole new host of information to multilingual visitors, by using post-edited machine translation for low-value, high quantity content like comments, wikis, or user reviews, which aren't business-critical and don't require perfect accuracy.
5. Beat the Competition in Foreign Markets
The beauty of Internet marketing in languages other than English is that it's less exploited and therefore much easier to get a higher ranking for your optimized sites, and in turn a better ROI.
Internet marketer Enrique Serrano has worked in online marketing for the Spanish and UK markets, and he believes the current window of opportunity for online marketers in Spain could be called the "modern Spanish gold rush."
"Working with websites written in English and in Spanish, I've found that the Spanish Internet market provides less users -- but much less competition," Serrano says. "On top of that, the competition for pages written in Spanish seems easier to beat, as many of them don't even care much about search engine optimization and other online marketing strategies. All that makes achieving good search engine rankings in Spanish easier."
With less keyword competition in languages other than English, you should see your rankings and traffic improve much faster for your foreign language websites -- which will save you more money in the long run.
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