Content is one of the most important and powerful aspect of a website, which a site owner can have. Good content drives traffic, attracts new audiences, and converts well, but only when they are well optimized. However, it is also a huge task for a big site to effectively manage the growing number of content elements. It is even harder, if your website deals with multiple languages and countries. The localization itself can get pretty expensive, too. The good news is that there are some ways to ease the content management nightmares, and to reduce your localization costs.
Avoid the duplicate work while meeting the local needs
While this is a common practice, I don’t recommend creating one site (your home country site), and push it out globally after the localization. Sure it’s the easiest way, but it won’t take into account any local specific needs and trends into the consideration. Therefore, these “mass localized” sites won’t perform well. However, it doesn’t mean that you need to repeat the content production work, or even the localization work for each country. You can manage the process more efficiently by identifying the common content and required unique content for each market. Once you have this matrix, you can customize some content for each country while minimizing the duplicate content production work.
Once you know which content elements are common and which assets are unique to each local market, mark the pods or content blocks for local specific content on each webpage template. All other content on the page would be the same across all countries with the same language.
For example, if you are creating pages for upcoming events, use the same database, but push local event to the top of the list so that the US audience will see US events on US site, and Australian audience will see the event information for Australia on the Australian site.
Save the localization cost
We all would like to reduce the localization cost. The key is to reduce it smartly. Did you know that English is spoken in more than 40 countries and Spanish is spoken in more than 30 countries? Other languages such as Arabic, Chinese, German, and French are also spoken in multiple countries. As the languages evolve, there are more differences in how people speak in the same language among countries. The differences may be in words they use, spelling of the words, accent, and even some phrases are different. For example, there are many differences between the English language spoken in England and USA. The word “football” means two different sports. “Trousers” are called “pants” in US. The word “color” is spelled “colour” in UK and other English speaking countries.
How can we reduce the localization cost? We can do that by focusing on these different words, spellings, and phrases. At the beginning of the localization project, create a glossary of words in the base language (i.e. American English). Then, create columns for each language and country. Enter country specific words and spelling in the columns. You can either ask the localization agency to use the glossary to create different versions of the same language, or have them localize the content once, and do “search & replace” those unique ones by yourself.
By translating languages spoken in multiple countries such as English, French, Spanish, German, and Chinese once, and localizing for each country by placing local unique words, you can reduce considerable amount of the localization cost, and the production time.
Always in control
When a large number of people get involved in the content design and creation, it’s easy to lose a control of who is creating what content for which country. Where are those content actually placed on site? Is it permanent content, or only for a specific campaign for a limited time? Placing the guidelines and standards for the content, and most importantly, enforcing it corporate wide including all international sites can avoid a big part of the most common content management nightmares.
See below for some of the information that you should standardize in the content guidelines:
- Templates for local only content
- Directory, where the local content is placed
- End of life content handling for campaign pages and products
- Types of content each local team is permitted to create
- Localization process for the countries using the same language
- Localization process for the countries use multiple languages
The better you prepare, the easier and more efficient your content management and localization process becomes. Good content organization will also help you, when you need to migrate your site to a different CMS or domain in future.
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