In today's interconnected world, businesses are increasingly looking to expand their horizons and tap into international markets. As a web agency, your role is pivotal in helping clients navigate expansion challenges while maintaining a strong online presence.
Being a digital Webflow agency, Flow Ninja has had experience working with clients aiming globally. We’ve streamlined the entire process for clients using a range of third-party tools, mainly Weglot.
In this article, we will delve into five crucial tips we rely on to support our clients' global expansion and how Weglot helps us in the process.
Here’s a quick overview:
Adding multilingual content
- Geotargeting and localization
- International SEO
- Staying compliant
- Ensuring responsiveness and cross-border accessibility
Let’s dive in.
1. Add Multilingual Website Content
Businesses that maintain an online presence internationally should translate their websites into the markets they want to expand into. After identifying the languages, implementing translated content becomes imperative, and that’s where Weglot comes in.
We’ve been relying on Weglot as a Webflow agency for various international clients. Implementing a language switcher that allows users to seamlessly navigate between languages, ensuring their journey on the website remains smooth is one part of the website translation process that Weglot allows us to do automatically.
Adding multiple languages has helped our clients so far in the following ways:
Enhanced user experience – Improving user satisfaction.
- Cultural sensitivity – Adapting to local culture.
- SEO boost – Improving search engine rankings.
- Legal compliance – Meeting regional language requirements.
- User trust – Building credibility with diverse audiences.
- User retention – Keeping users engaged.
- E-commerce impact – Increasing online sales.
- Accessibility – Serving non-native speakers.
Weglot works effortlessly with Webflow to detect, translate, and then display the content of the site under language subdirectories or subdomains, depending on the URL structure you wish to have.
Another key benefit when it comes to web design is that Weglot allows us to easily change the style of the automatically added language switcher. Worth noting here is the importance of respecting the brand guidelines of your client to ensure the language switcher is in keeping with the rest of the web design.
When it comes to the translation aspect of a multilingual website, we recommend our clients work with a language professional on any important and highly visible pages on their site. Weglot automatically detects and translates all the content of a site instantly using a first layer of machine translation, and then having a human check and verify those translations gives our clients maximum impact on traffic and conversion.
Adding human editors for post-edits has been streamlined by Weglot. Still, as a web agency, you can take on the task of implementing these edits or educating the clients on using Weglot and letting them do this alone.
Ideally, you should go with the first option. Sometimes, clients aren’t as tech-savvy and might make occasional oversights, resulting in mistakes in translated content.
Finally, you should pay attention to the visual content of your website. Having images or videos in a specific language would require adding a translated version of this content to your multilingual pages.
Let’s say an image on your client’s site features a picture of a person and their quote. Weglot doesn’t detect content within an image. Therefore you’d need to provide a translated version of this media file which can easily be replaced on your translated page via your Weglot Dashboard.
Best practice would be, of course, to avoid having images with words in the first place, but in certain cases this is unavoidable. Keep track of such images and replace them with their translated variants through Weglot.
For videos, the answer is to implement subtitles for every language or remake videos entirely using another language.
2. Consider Geotargeting and Localization
Geotargeting and localization are strategies that involve tailoring pricing, promotions, and product suggestions for different geographical locations. This approach not only enhances user engagement but also increases the likelihood of conversion.
Here’s what you should pay attention to if you’re helping a client with this.
Audience research – Understand your target audience and their preferences. Consider factors such as language, cultural nuances, and regional preferences.
- Geotargeting technology – Implement geotargeting technology to determine a user's location. This can be based on IP addresses, GPS data, or user input. Ensure that your geotargeting technology is accurate and up to date. Weglot takes care of this, and Flow Ninja has been actively using the auto-switch feature, which automatically provides the version of the site-based browser preferences.
- International UX and UI – Ensure that navigation and usability are intuitive for users from different locations. The standard example here is the Arabic language, where the entire structure of the site is right-to-left. The good news is that Weglot can do this automatically, mirroring your site to accommodate it to Arabic speakers.
- Currencies and pricing – If you sell products or services, display prices in the local currency and consider regional pricing strategies.
- Local support and customer service – If feasible, offer customer support and contact options in your target audience's language(s).
- Monitoring and analytics – Helping a client go international only matters if they start meeting those geo-specific KPIs. As a web agency, you should assist them in monitoring and analyzing the progress.
3. Research SEO and International SERP Rankings
If you think about it, your client’s multilingual site will rank in all languages it’s translated into, which could have a huge business impact if done correctly. This includes paying attention to the SEO of their site and its variations. Here are some tips to consider.
Researching relevant keywords – For each target region, it's essential to conduct thorough keyword research to identify the most relevant and high-traffic keywords. Understand the local language variations, synonyms, and colloquial terms that users in different regions may use when searching. A useful Weglot feature is the Glossary where you can set rules such as “Always translate” a particular keyword for a certain language pair. This streamlines the translation process while ensuring that all keywords are utilized correctly.
- Adding hreflang tags – Hreflang tags are added in the head of a web page HTML to tell Google which sites are the alternatives in another language. That way, Google will not see it as a duplicate. Weglot adds hreflang tags automatically.
- Researching competition in different languages — Analyze the competitive landscape for your client’s industry in each target region, as it will not be the same everywhere. Identify competitors and study their SEO strategies. Understanding competition can help you find opportunities to differentiate and optimize your client’s website.
- Taking other search engines into the global expansion SEO plan – While Google is the dominant search engine globally, other search engines like Bing (Microsoft), Baidu (China), Yandex (Russia), and others have significant user bases in specific regions. Adapt your SEO strategy to include optimization for these regional search engines if your target audience uses them.
- Backlink strategies – Build region-specific backlinks from authoritative websites in each target region. Collaborate with local influencers and industry publications to gain exposure and credibility.
4. Stay Compliant with Data Privacy Regulations
As stated by the UN, 71% of countries have imposed some kind of data protection regulation. The most popular one is the European GDPR, which has been making waves ever since it was created.
Some companies that decided to go global took the easy way out by simply banning EU netizens from accessing their sites.
But that’s not the way to go. Ensuring compliance with data privacy laws is not only a legal obligation but also a way to build trust with your users. Here are a few key reasons why compliance is important:
Legal consequences – Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines and legal actions. For example, under GDPR, fines can severely affect an organization’s budget.
- Reputation and trust – Being compliant demonstrates that your business takes data privacy seriously. This can enhance your reputation and build trust among users who are increasingly concerned about how their data is handled.
- Global expansion – To successfully expand into new markets, adhering to local data privacy regulations is imperative. Ignoring these laws can be a significant barrier to entry.
Here are some tips to help your client as a web agency stay compliant with GDPR when expanding globally:
- Understand GDPR's extraterritorial scope – Make sure your client understands that GDPR applies not only to businesses based in the EU but also to those outside the EU that process EU residents' data. After all, it’s important to acknowledge that being compliant with GDPR probably means you’re compliant with regulations in other countries, GDPR being the most stringent one. Still, you should check local regulations in all countries where your client is expanding.
- Comprehensive GDPR Training – Educate your client's team about GDPR, emphasizing the importance of data protection and privacy. Ensure they understand how it impacts their web development and design processes. You should have a legal professional on board for this.
- Data minimization – Encourage your clients to practice data minimization in their designs. Collect and store only user data for the intended purpose, reducing the risk of GDPR violations.
- Privacy by design – Integrate privacy considerations into the design process. Ensure that data protection features and principles are embedded in websites and applications' architecture and user interface.
- User consent – Implement clear and user-friendly consent mechanisms in the designs. Users should have the ability to provide informed consent for data collection and processing easily.
- Privacy notices – Assist your client in creating transparent and concise privacy notices that are accessible to users. Clearly communicate how data is collected, used, and protected on their websites or applications.
- Data security in design – Make data security an integral part of web designs. Incorporate encryption, access controls, and security protocols to protect user data from breaches.
- International data transfers – When designing websites or applications that involve international data transfers, consider GDPR-compliant mechanisms such as Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) or Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs).
- Third-party integrations – Be cautious when integrating third-party services or tools into designs. Verify that these services are GDPR-compliant and consider user data privacy when selecting them.
- Cookie consent – Design user-friendly cookie consent banners and mechanisms that comply with GDPR requirements, giving users the option to choose their level of cookie acceptance.
- Data mapping – Help your client map the data flow within their web applications, identifying potential risks and areas where user data is processed.
- Regular audits – Design with compliance in mind and conduct regular audits of websites and applications to ensure continued adherence to GDPR.
- Stay updated – Keep on top of GDPR updates and evolving interpretations to ensure ongoing compliance as regulations may change.
- Documentation – Assist your client in maintaining thorough documentation of their design and development processes, which can be crucial in demonstrating compliance.
5. Ensure Responsiveness and Cross-Border Accessibility
Finally, ensure that your website is accessible to users across the globe, regardless of their location, device, or connection speed.
- Responsive design – Prioritize responsive design that adapts seamlessly to various devices and screen sizes.
- Fast loading times – Optimize your website for fast loading times, as slow websites can deter users and affect your search engine rankings.
- Mobile user experience – Given the prevalence of mobile devices, ensure an exceptional mobile user experience.
A Quick Recap: Help Clients Have a Better Global Impact
Positioned as a Webflow partner, Flow Ninja helps its clients not only design and develop their sites but also provide ongoing support, even if it means providing assistance and consultations for businesses that want to expand their online presence to international markets. That’s why we decided to share some of the practices we have implemented in-house to help our clients, and it all comes down to this:
- Ensuring that the content is translated and properly used
- Making the most of geolocation and localization practices
- Taking into account the best SEO practices for multilingual sites
- Staying compliant with data protection laws
- Ensuring responsiveness and accessibility