¿Habla español? Even if you don’t, wouldn’t it be fantastic if your corporate website did? Imagine your brand selling itself in flawless Spanish to over 365 million hispanohablantes on the internet. Picture how translating your new website into Spanish can help you connect with new customers.
As the third most popular language of digital surfers, just behind English and Chinese, the language of Frida, Shakira and Isabel Allende can take you places your English website has never gone before.
What’s more — localizing your web presence for Spanish-speakers can be as easy as uno, dos, tres. Follow these five basic tips to get started.
Tip #1 — Choose the Right Spanish for Your Market
Universal Spanish is certainly an option for your new Spanish website, and it can effectively enable you to reach a broad audience. But if you have specific markets in mind for your products, such as Argentina, Mexico or Spain, the most effective thing you can do is to use the “flavor” of Spanish appropriate to each country on your website.
Granted, this attention to detail requires more time, but tranquilo — a professional translation company will give you the option of localizing your site into Latin American, Mexican and European Spanish. These three flavors cover your bases. Your Spanish translation partner will make certain that you say Usted, Vos or Tú (three different ways of saying “you”) in the right context, and they’ll recast your business-critical content using the appropriate cultural cues for your target countries.
Tip #2 — Plan Your SEO Strategy Early On
We can’t talk about websites without mentioning “SEO” (search engine optimization) at least a few times. It’s vital to follow international SEO best practices when you launch your website in a new country or region.
Allow yourself to aim high when it comes to claiming territory for your brand in international search space — and do so from the outset. Your new Spanish website(s) will fare better if you optimize them for search while you’re having them translated. Here are a few strategic moves that will give you an immediate edge in the Spanish-speaking digital arena:
- Lock in a local domain, such as .ar for Argentina or .es for Spain. Search engines give preference to sites with local, top-level domain extensions (ccTLDs = country code top level domains). Consider this an investment in your future page rankings.
- Pick the right keywords for each locale. Careful keyword selection is vital to your Spanish website’s visibility and viability. Instead of translating your English keywords, you’ll find it pays to research the most common search terms for your specific markets. These words and phrases will be the building blocks of your new translated websites and should be seeded throughout titles, descriptions and content.
- Build local links. Intensive link building is just that — intense — but it gets results. The path of least resistance may be for you to work with an in-country marketing partner who’s familiar with local content sites and can help with Spanish link building.
Tip #3 — Pare Down Your Pages (for Translation)
Good news — you stand to save mucho dinero on your website translation efforts if you handpick the pages you want to translate in advance, while eliminating those that are less relevant for your new customers.
For example, one option is to create a microsite featuring a product or two that a specific audience, say, your Colombian market, would especially appreciate. If you’d prefer to go full throttle with your website adaptation and localize your main site, carry out a content audit to determine which sections of your website are less appropriate for international audiences. That way, if you don’t think you can add multilingual blogging to your agenda this year, you can choose to remove your blog from the to-translate list.
Tip #4 — Polish Your Marketing Assets Through Transcreation
All marketing copy is not created equal. This is especially true for translated marketing copy. Without the elbow grease of an expert marketing translator, your snappiest copy will lose its punch in Spanish.
So what’s the antidote to weak marketing translations? A dose of transcreation. This is the technique of re-creating copy, whether a slogan, tagline, article, etc., in another language using creative license and local flair, while still expressing the core idea of the original.
Spanish transcreation is what brings your content to life and gives it polish. But who can take on this task for you? A professional translation agency specializing in marketing translation can. They’ll add an extra quality-driven step to the marketing translation process, reworking your copy so that it resonates with your Spanish-speaking customers.
Tip #5 — Fully Localize Your Mobile Version
A mobile version of your website is a must. The mantra for you here is simplicity, focus and usability. A mobile site that hasn’t been completely localized can be confusing or offer incomplete information. Keep it simple, focus on what your Spanish-speaking customers want, make the user interface friendly, and you’ll be off to a great start.
Connect With Spanish-speaking Markets With Spanish Website Localization
The website you create for Spanish-speaking audiences is key in attracting and keeping their attention. To learn more about building and managing a website in a new language, download our Insider’s Guide to Creating a Multilingual Website.
This article, written by Ora Solomon, was originally published by Women2.0 in June, 2012.