The decision to offer your services or products to a global audience is one that cannot be taken lightly.
Consumers’ mindsets, behaviors, and preferences may differ from region to region, so it requires a lot of work to create a universally accepted brand, product, and website that will attract and satisfy consumers regardless of where they are located.
Once you have a viable product and brand to share with the rest of the world, it’s time to sell it. So, how do you do that?
Translating your website is the first—and most important—step. Optimizing your site for search with translated keywords is the next.
Once your content is in place and your solutions are ready for sale, you may want to consider giving a go at geotargeting.
In this primer on geotargeting, I am going to discuss what it is, why your international business needs it, and provide you with some tips and tools for using it on your WordPress website.
An Introduction to Geotargeting
In sum, geotargeting is a way for websites to serve specific content to visitors based on their IP address or GPS location.
For websites with geographic-specific content or with completely different subdomains containing translated versions of the main site, geotargeting will come in handy.
It ensures that the right people see the right content on your site. It also helps the search engines know which regional audience to send your way.
Geoblocking, on the other hand, is a way for websites to prohibit access to users (or to select content) based on their geographic location.
While that might not seem relevant to a website trying to expand its global footprint, geoblocking can actually prove to be helpful in funneling the right traffic to your site.
For one, geoblocking helps block entire regions or specific IP addresses known for malicious spam activity, so it’s great for keeping your site safe if you’ve previously experienced security breaches.
It also helps block irrelevant traffic if you’re not set up to serve all consumers around the globe.
By blocking out the countries that you can’t accommodate at this time, you can in turn keep your server free to deliver high-speed content to the visitors that you can.
There is a lot of work involved in getting your site ready to move from serving a local audience to serving a global audience.
Luckily enough, WordPress has a number of third-party integrations that will simplify and streamline the process of geotargeting.
4 Plugins for Implementing Geotargeting on Your WordPress Website
WordPress plugins can be a major lifesaver when it comes to making complicated changes and optimizations on a website.
There’s no need to do much (or any) coding and the technical assistance of a developer usually isn’t required.
The same applies to the following list of geotargeting plugins. Simply activate these on your site and customize based on your business’s geographic preferences.
Plugin #1: Google Analytics
Everyone is already familiar with Google Analytics for its ability to provide drilled-down insights into web traffic.
But did you know that you can find out more about who your audience really is and where they’re viewing your website from around the world? (Hint: it’s under Audience > Geo.)
If Google Analytics is not yet set up for your website or on your dashboard for easy viewing, use the Google Analytics plugin.
That way, you can instantly pull up your Geo user stats without having to ever leave WordPress.
While this isn’t specifically a geotargeting plugin, it will help you better assess where your strongest sources of traffic come from and spot any changes in trends.
By keeping all your geography-related data and controls in one place, you can better streamline all geotargeting efforts.
Plugin #2: GeoTargeting Lite/Pro
For a good introduction to WordPress geotargeting capabilities, the free GeoTargeting Lite plugin from the WordPress repository is a good place to start.
For more advanced functionality, try the premium upgrade GeoTargeting Pro from Timersys.
Regardless of your budget or current geotargeting needs, you’ll undoubtedly find these plugins to be helpful in your mastery over your site’s traffic. Here are some of the features and functionality you’ll get with each of these:
Use shortcodes to designate which pages of content are shown to visitors from specific countries.
Add geotargeting functionality to popups, so localized deals and messages are delivered only to relevant users.
Comes with all of Lite’s functionality.
Add geotargeting to widgets, navigational menus, and individual products.
Include a country dropdown menu on your site so users can easily find their country’s version.
Get super granular by targeting users based on country, state, and even city.
Create and save commonly targeted regions for easier geotargeting assignments.
Detection of the user’s real IP address.
Create redirects so that visitors from specific regions go to the right version of your website.
Plugin #3: Icegram Geotargeting
Once your site’s geotargeting capabilities are up and running, you can then start to think about how to use geotargeting specifically to generate leads.
If you’re not already familiar with Icegram, it is an all-in-one lead generation plugin for WordPress.
In addition to providing ways to deliver attention-grabbing messages to visitors, it also includes a premium geotargeting feature.
Icegram’s Geotargeting add-on works the same way traditional geotargeting does: it targets users based on their location. However, rather than focus on directing users to the correct localized pages, this plugin’s goal is to deliver dynamic messages to users based on where they’re located.
This means you can provide region-specific deals, personalized humor, local testimonials, and more to different geographic subsets of visitors.
Plugin #4: IP Geo Block
The last of the plugins you should check out if you’re interested in geotargeting is IP Geo Block.
As I mentioned earlier, geoblocking isn’t always about blocking spammers from hitting your website. While that is one of the use cases, geoblocking does also come in handy when you want to optimize your server’s loading speed.
For anyone who doesn’t want to compromise their site speed by attracting visitors from a region that you can’t offer services to, you’ll want a geoblocking plugin like this one.
Bonus: Webmaster Tools
Most search engines provide users with a set of webmaster tools. These tools are meant to give developers and other webmasters access to tools needed to improve search results (e.g. sitemap submissions, crawl issues, mobile friendly tests, etc.)
Both Google and Bing provide assistance in geotargeting, so before doing any on-site work, be sure set these up.
Opening your business up to a global audience is a big deal. That’s why it would be a shame to let all that hard work building your WordPress site go to waste.
Work with a reliable translation expert like ICanLocalize to ensure that your site is prepared to reach any visitor from around the globe.
The more work you do to create a convenient and personalized experience for your visitors—especially by translating your content and serving up geographic-specific messaging through geotargeting—the better received your site will be overall.