5 points you should consider before starting a multi-language website

Last modified on Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Great you have a successful business in your domestic market and want to expand abroad. Or maybe you have a killer business idea and want to roll out in several languages simultaneously.

Here are the major points to consider before going international with your website.

Budget wisely for your multilingual site

1. Budget – few successful businesses are actually built on a shoestring!

Running a business in a second language is usually more cost effective than just one language, but you still need to budget in for the extra cost – which can be substantial. As a ball park figure you will need at least 50-70% extra for your second language.

Reusing the same website structure; translating material rather than creating from scratch; and reusing the same graphics - all offer savings when setting up a second language.

Mother tongue native speakers and marketeers

2. Do you have native mother tongue writers and marketers?

Be honest, you have a massively better chance of international success if your website is translated by a mother tongue speaker with knowledge and understanding of the local market.

You need a native mother tongue speaker to:

  • Translate your website
  • Blog on a continual basis
  • Interpret and translate your marketing for the local language and culture. Many successful marketing campaigns I have seen in England would tank for example in Italy (and vice versa). Tastes are just different.
  • Liaise with clients. Do you have a fluent speaker to answer calls, email and orders from your new markets.
Are your prices competitive abroad?

3. Are you competitive abroad?

Are the prices of you products and services competitive? To succeed you will have to offer a better price-quality ratio than your international competitors.

What about the standard of service you provide? Compared to domestic competitors you probably already have extra costs and longer delivery times due to shipping - so how you are going to have to go that extra mile (or kilometer) to beat them?

You must know your new international competitors

4. You must know your major competitors inside out

Just like you know and monitor domestic competitors, you must track your international competitors. In particular:

- Who are your major competitors?
- What do they do particularly well?
- Where can you improve on what they are doing?

Can you provide Multilingual Support?

5. Can you provide Multilingual Support?

To run a successful business in any country you need to build your reputation. You’re the newbie competing against established business with a loyal customer following.

Will you be able to provide support in your new languages – answer phones, emails, handle complaints and provide technical support?

Next steps – build your multilingual website

Et voila! There you have it – the most important considerations to make starting your multi-language website.

» The surprising benefits of adding a language to your website

Above all, take your time to assess the market you are entering – Do you have the resources to compete? Once you are ready to make the move, make sure you get professional help from a team of multilingual web experts.

» The complete guide to multi language websites
» .COM or .COUNTRY – how to a pick the best domain for your website

Mike Fitzpatrick

Mike Fitzpatrick is the founder and web developer at Jeyjoo web design. He works with both individuals and companies to grow their businesses online.
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