Website Localization: The Ultimate Guide For Startups Looking To Scale In 2024

In a digital age of limitless opportunities, website localization has transformed from a choice to a vital strategy for startups eyeing global growth. As we approach 2024, tailoring content to resonate with diverse audiences worldwide is paramount. This guide decodes website localization for startups, emphasizing its significance in today's digital landscape and offering actionable tips for those seeking international success. Delve into expert insights to craft localized web experiences that not only speak to your audience's language but also embody their cultural preferences, fostering inclusivity and boosting user engagement. Explore the ultimate 2024 guide to website localization, empowering startups to connect with a global audience more effectively than ever.

By the end of this article, you'll know info and answers to the following:

  • What is localization
  • Is localisation the same as translating?
  • What is a locale?
  • Why localise?
  • How to decide whether you need localisation and or not?
  • Using data to work out whether localisation could be worth the investment
  • ‍


What is localization?

Localisation goes beyond the mere translation of text from one language to another. It’s an extensive process of adapting a product, content, or website to meet the cultural, linguistic, and technical requirements of a specific target market or locale.

This means not only changing the language but also modifying content to fit cultural sensibilities, local currencies, date formats, and even visual elements to resonate with the intended audience.

Through localisation, a brand can communicate more effectively with its global audience, ensuring that the message is not only understood but also culturally relevant and engaging.


Is localisation the same as translating?

Look a this English version of the Starbucks website vs the Japanese version below - not just a straight translation but a localization job (Source:Β NNgroup)

Localisation and translation are often mistakenly used interchangeably, but they serve distinct purposes in the world of global communication.

Translation is the process of converting text from one language to another, focusing primarily on language accuracy.

The Japanese version of the same website (Source:Β NNgroup)

However, localisation encompasses translation while also making adjustments for cultural nuances, idioms, and other locale-specific elements that are not directly tied to the language itself. In essence, while translation ensures the message can be understood in another language, localisation ensures that it feels natural and engaging to the target audience, respecting their cultural contexts and preferences.


What is a locale?

In essence, a locale refers to a specific language or a combination of a language and regional variant β€” for example, Mandarin as spoken in Beijing β€” chosen for your website to cater precisely to the linguistic and cultural preferences of a targeted audience.


Why localise?

By localizing, you are opening yourself up to a global audience (Source: OneSky)

1) Boost engagement and conversions on the website

Let's say you have a client that has an international product or service. To encourage purchases, it will be crucial for website users to comprehend your content in their own language. Speaking in a way that resonates with your audience is vital for establishing trust and increasing sales.

2) Boost traffic to the website

Localising a website significantly enhances its visibility and appeal to international markets. Search engines like Google favor content that aligns with the searcher's language and cultural context. This means that a website that is properly localised, including its metadata and SEO strategies, is more likely to rank higher in search results in different regions. Consequently, this improved search engine ranking drives more traffic to the website from international audiences seeking information or products in their native language. By catering to a wider range of linguistic groups, businesses expand their reach and potential customer base, ultimately increasing their global presence and website traffic.

3) Build loyalty with a global audience

90% of online shoppers choose to use thier native language if it's available on a website (Source:Β OneSky)

Localizing your website or product is essential for accessing global markets and engaging a wider audience effectively. It goes beyond language; it involves acknowledging and respecting cultural subtleties and preferences. A well-localized product establishes trust, familiarity, and loyalty.

Marketers are huge fans of geo-targeting content rather than globally shared english content because of how much more enagaged an audience:

Imagine how this would influence brand relevancy and customer loyalty on your website.

4) Enhance the user experience

Localizing your product can significantly enhance user experience by making it more intuitive and inclusive. By changing the UI for different locales, you can significantly increase engagement and conversions. By bridging the cultural gap through localization, you can effectively transform global visitors into loyal users.


How to decide whether you need localisation and or not?

We have written an in depth article about this here, but below is a quick overview:

Clients Who Need Localization

Clients operating in global or multicultural markets need localization to cater to diverse audiences. This includes businesses targeting non-English speaking countries or regions with significant linguistic diversity. E-commerce sites, international brands, and digital services aiming for a global reach should prioritize localization to enhance user experience, comply with local regulations, and optimize for regional search engines.

eg. A Swiss hotel resort chain that wants American, English, French, German speaking tourists to visit their resort

Clients Who May Not Require Localization

Local businesses that serve a homogeneous, monolingual customer base might not require localization immediately. For instance, a small, region-specific service provider or retailer focusing exclusively on a local market with little to no international traffic can prioritize other aspects of website optimization. However, even these clients should consider future expansion possibilities that could necessitate localization. Google My Business may suffice for their current needs.

eg. A plumber located in Aberystwyth, Wales (a stunning little place if you have never visited) just needs local business in a place that is very english speaking so would not need a website that has localisation


Using data to work out whether localisation could be worth the investment

To determine if localization could be a worthwhile investment, Google Analytics offers invaluable insights into your website's traffic and user engagement. Start by analyzing:

1) Geolocation Report

The report will help to identify the countries and regions from which your site attracts visitors. This data helps pinpoint potential markets where localization might enhance user experience and engagement.

2) Language Report

Assess the Language report to understand the primary languages of your audience. If there's a significant portion of users with a different primary language than your website's current one, this signals a strong case for localization.

3) Behaviours and Conversion Rates

By examining behavior and conversion rates by region and language can reveal how effectively your site engages with non-primary language speakers.

Low engagement or conversion rates in regions with a different primary language indicate that users may struggle to connect with your content, thus highlighting the need for localization.

By leveraging this data-driven approach, businesses can make informed decisions on whether the investment in localization could potentially yield a significant return by improving user experience and increasing global reach.


How to do SEO strategy to ensure your localised website is a success

We use a tool called Clicks which we highly recommend

Setting up a successful SEO strategy for your localized website involves a multi-faceted approach, ensuring that the website not only reaches its target audience but also ranks well on local search engines. Here are essential steps to consider:

  1. Research and Use Local Keywords: Conduct thorough keyword research to identify how people in the target locale search for the client's products or services. Use local language and slang where appropriate to match local search habits.
  2. Optimize for Local Search: Ensure that your website is optimized for local search engines. This includes setting up local business listings, using region-specific tags, and including the business's local address and phone number on the website.
  3. Create Locally Relevant Content: Develop content that resonates with the local audience. This could involve creating blog posts on local events, trends, or issues related to your client's industry. The content must reflect local culture and interests.
  4. Leverage Social Media: Utilize social media platforms popular in the target region to promote your client's localized website. Engage with the local community through these platforms to increase visibility and drive traffic to the website.
  5. Technical SEO: Implement technical SEO best practices, such as optimizing site speed, ensuring the website is mobile-friendly, and applying hreflang tags for multi-language sites to tell search engines which version of a page to show based on the user’s language and region.
  6. Monitor and Adjust: Use analytics tools to monitor the localized website's performance. Pay close attention to traffic sources, user behavior, and conversion rates. Use this data to continually refine and optimize the SEO strategy for better performance.

By following these steps, you can set up an SEO strategy that not only improves your localized website's visibility but also enhances user engagement and conversion rates in the target market.


How do you actually do website localisation for your own website?

There are a number of different tools out there. Lokalise, Weglot and, if you're on a Webflow site, there is the native localization feature in Webflow. You will need to determine which tool is best for yuo but since Webflow is our bread and butter, we'll guide you through how we use Webflow localisation for client sites.


How do you set up Webflow localisation?

1) Assign Primary Locale

  • Let's start by assigning our primary locale.
  • In the designer, I have a site set up for a fictional financial company in English. Design first and then localize your site
  • The first version of the site is the primary locale, with new locales inheriting its content by default.
  • Go to settings, then localization. Choose English, United States as the primary locale. No need to change other settings. Save to assign the primary locale.

2) Add a secondary locale

  • Add a secondary locale for whatever country eg Spain
  • Select Spanish from the drop-down list or search for it
  • Set up the sub-directory for the new locale
  • The URL structure will be different from the primary locale
  • Default sub-directory is /is for Iceland
  • Do not enable publishing until ready
  • Save changes to create the secondary locale

3) Localize the static images and translate alt text

  • Translate text in secondary locale to Spanish
  • Replace English text with Icelandic by typing "clic"
  • Right-click to translate to Spanish for efficiency
  • Select body in Navigator, right-click to translate all text on the page
  • First-pass translation may not be perfect
  • Right-click to reset to original text if needed
  • Modify paragraph text for improvement
  • Secondary locale changes don't affect primary locale
  • Localized elements in secondary locale won't inherit from primary
  • Reset and translate again to carry over changes from primary to secondary
  • Translate text and change images for localization
  • Replace images with local currency (Euro) by double-clicking and selecting the new image in the assets panel
  • Enhance accessibility by translating alt text for images
  • Utilize the globe icon in the assets panel to automatically translate alt text to Icelandic
  • Changes to images and alt text apply only to the specific locale, leaving the primary English version unchanged

4)Localise page settings

  • Localized text and images in secondary locale
  • Important to localize page settings for SEO optimization
  • Go to home page settings in pages
  • Localize content into Spanish
  • Translate page name or use globe icon for automatic translation
  • Identify localized fields with blue labels
  • Translate meta description into Icelandic
  • Update open graph image with localized version
  • Save settings and confirm all updates
  • Site will now display in Icelandic when accessed or shared in Spain

5) Publish both

  • To publish a locale, ensure publishing to the subdirectory is enabled
  • Access localization settings and open the Icelandic locale
  • Enable publishing for the Icelandic locale
  • Save the locale and settings
  • Publish to make the site available in both locales
  • Accessing the site with /is in the URL displays the Icelandic version


  • Assigned primary locale
  • Added and set up Spanish as secondary locale
  • Manually translated text and used built-in translation
  • Localized images, alt text, SEO, and open graph
  • Published site in English and Icelandic

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How much does localisation cost

+$9 per locale/mo


  • Available as an add-on to Basic, CMS, and Business Site plans.
  • Add up to 3 locales
  • Machine-powered translation
  • CMS localization
  • Static page localization
  • Localized SEO

Who is this for?

Ideal for small sites aiming to reach a global audience efficiently and affordably.

ADVANCED +$29 per locale/mo


  • Available as an add-on to Basic, CMS, and Business Site plans.
  • Add up to 5 locales
  • Machine-powered translation
  • CMS localization
  • Static page localization
  • Localized SEO
  • Asset localization
  • Localized URLs
  • Automatic visitor routing

Who is this for?

Tailored for businesses seeking to build professional, fully localized sites.

ENTERPRISE - Contact Webflow


  • Custom number of locales
  • Machine-powered translation
  • CMS localization
  • Static page localization
  • Localized SEO
  • Asset localization
  • Localized URLs
  • Automatic visitor routing
  • Style localization
  • Customizable element visibility
  • Enterprise scale
  • Fully integrated with Webflow Enterprise

Who is this for?

For organizations aiming to scale their operations on a global scale.


Is Webflow localisation worth it?

There are people in the Webflow community that argue that the cost of localisation is too expensive but for the potential gains for clients to add localisation and the absurdly easy implementation of localisation using Webflow, we offer it to clients when it is required. Here’s more reasons why:

  • Ideal for businesses needing a seamless solution for multi-lingual websites
  • Native integration for a cohesive workflow without third-party plugins
  • Better performance, fewer compatibility issues, and improved user experience
  • Robust design and customization capabilities for brand consistency
  • Simplifies launching and updating localized sites for a dynamic global web presence.


Localisation Checklist

  • Language and Dialects: Ensure translation accuracy not just for the primary language but also for regional dialects.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Review content for cultural references, idioms, and expressions to ensure they resonate locally without causing offense.‍
  • Legal Requirements: Check for any local laws that might impact your content or business practice in the new market.‍
  • Currency and Payment Methods: Adapt your platform to accept local currency and popular payment methods.
  • Date and Time Formats: Align your content with local conventions for dates, times, and numeric formats.‍
  • Units of Measurement: Convert measurements to the local system (metric or imperial, as appropriate).‍
  • Website and App Interface: Adapt the UI/UX design to meet the expectations of the local audience.‍
  • Customer Support: Provide support in the local language and consider time zone differences for live services.‍
  • Social Media Integration: Utilize popular local social media platforms for engagement and support.‍
  • SEO and Keywords: Research and implement locally relevant keywords for better visibility in local search engines.‍
  • The Journey Ahead: Encouraging words to share with your client as they consider this exciting (and slightly daunting) adventure.



In conclusion, localisation extends far beyond mere translation to encompass the adaptation of a website's content, design, and SEO strategy to resonate with a specific regional audience. This tailor-made approach ensures that the content is culturally and linguistically appropriate, enhancing user engagement and accessibility.

While localisation and translation are distinct, they work hand in hand within the process of making a website appealing to global markets. The choice between traditional localisation solutions and Webflow localisation often comes down to the specific needs of your project, with Webflow offering intuitive and efficient tools for seamless localisation.

Setting up Webflow localisation involves a clear understanding of your audience, a strategic plan for SEO, and a keen eye on performance analytics. The cost of localisation can vary, but the return on investment in terms of reaching a wider, more engaged audience can significantly outweigh initial expenses.

Ultimately, deciding on whether Webflow localisation is worth it depends on your project's goals, your audience's needs, and your budget. With the right approach and execution, localisation can be a game-changer in ensuring your client's online success in new markets. Remember to keep your final tips in mind; assess your client's readiness for localisation carefully, leverage Webflow's features effectively, and always stay focused on providing the best possible experience for the end-user.


Check out more info on Webflow localization:

  1. Webflow Localization Official Page: The go-to starting point, offering a detailed overview of the feature and tips on implementation.
  2. Webflow Localization Documentation: Webflow University regularly updates articles on localization and other features, serving as a valuable resource for staying informed.
  3. Webflow Localization Best Practices: Caroline Ren (Senior Product Marketing Manager) and Brett Domeny (Senior Product Manager) share top tips for site localization and provide insights into Webflow Localization, the all-in-one solution for global site presence.

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