Localizing with headless CMS

10 things to consider when choosing a localization-ready CMS

Going global no longer remains the preserve of the largest corporations with offices worldwide. Nowadays, organizations of all sizes are likely to serve customers from multiple countries and every corner of the planet. However, it’s not practical, or commercially sensible, to target every customer with the exact same offering, especially if they live in different parts of the world.

There are a multitude of things you need to take into consideration to do it right. Also, when moving from creating content in one language and market to producing content for multiple languages and markets, you will likely need a headless CMS to help you. In this article, we’ll explore what a localization-ready CMS is and some of the things to look for when choosing one. 

The what and why of a localization-ready CMS

CMS localization is the process of configuring your CMS to target new international markets with additional language versions of your site. This involves translating your content and configuring the system to correctly display that content. Most content management systems come localization ready or can gain this functionality by adding a plugin.

They provide the support that your organization requires to truly become a global entity. With cultural and linguistic differences that vary from country to country and region to region, a localization-ready CMS is pivotal. But how do you know if you’re selecting the right one?

10 things to consider when choosing a localization-ready CMS

There are a few considerations you should take into account before choosing a CMS to aid your localization efforts.


From your initial setup, you should be able to set the admin interface to languages other than standard English. This way, team members who speak different languages or those in departments around the globe can perform tasks in the CMS without worrying about mistranslating something and creating problems.

Quick translations

A CMS that enables you to translate content to a different language, provided the content structure remains the same is ideal for localization campaigns. This allows you to create content once and then have it translated instantly. For example, you can create content for your website in English, and field-level translations will allow you to translate it to Spanish, German, French, Japanese, or any other language you require.

A great example of this is how Storyblok combines with Lokalise to improve the translation experience. The integration between the two platforms enables you to translate content for multiple use cases, including websites, eCommerce, and mobile apps. It also helps speed up translations with continuous translations and provides further extensions for in-context editing so that team members can see translations in real-time.

Multilingual content management 

While basic translations are necessary, localization isn’t only about language. Ideally, your localization-ready CMS will enable you to not just duplicate content and translate it, but also customize content for each folder so that it can be truly localized and adjusted by language, region, or market. 

Again, integrating Lokalise makes this process even easier by enabling you to centralize your content localization so that teams can better organize their workflows to complement each other.

API integrations

One of the benefits of a headless CMS is that you can extend the platform’s functionality by using APIs. With REST and GraphQL APIs, you can connect additional systems to assist with your localization efforts. This means that if one of our features isn’t sufficient for the job, developers can easily integrate another platform that fits the purpose. 

Marketing-friendly interface

A localization-ready CMS shouldn’t let you create content for your website alone. Marketers must be able to create content once and publish it to any device they want. 

Built-in CDN

Not every CMS has this feature, but with a built-in content delivery network (CDN) you can deliver content quickly to any region in the world, ensuring that your content is always available no matter where your audience resides. 

Map of content delivery networks

User permissions

User permissions should be fully customizable based on content, folders, and assets. This allows you to implement folder restrictions so that your local editors can only access specific components and certain content assets. This ensures that a multicultural marketing strategy remains consistent, and editors in one region aren’t getting in the way of those in another.

Content governance

Workflows and content governance enable you to manage your content production environment. With proper governance, you can ensure the quality of localization campaigns, where one incorrect change could lead to a cultural mishap. You can also have separate releases of content for different regions. Content can be scheduled to go live in different regions, giving editors more time to work in different time zones without worrying about breaching content embargos. 

Omnichannel support & personalization

For international audiences, localization is also critical for omnichannel setups. A localization-ready CMS provides APIs to help deliver content to various channels, it also enables you to localize that content. Some regions might prefer to use one channel much more than another. For example, mobile content is very popular in the Chinese market, as are applications such as WeChat. In other regions, this isn’t always the case. 

A/B testing

Just because one piece of content works well in one region doesn’t mean it will work well in every region or market. That’s why it’s important that marketers can A/B test different campaigns to see what resonates with a particular audience. A localization-ready CMS should make sure it’s possible to test different versions to see which one provides the most impact or conversions. 

Storyblok localization features in action

Storyblok provides several features that make it the perfect localization-ready CMS for your business. From folder-level translations to API integrations, a built-in CDN, and an integration with Lokalise, Storyblok is great for businesses, whether they are a mid-sized organization or a large enterprise. But what is possible with those localization features?

Education First was able to build a full global site that spanned over 9000 pages with a whopping 54 language variations. New pages can be generated quickly, thanks to Storyblok, with a complete multilingual site being developed in less than two months, almost 3 times as fast as before. 

Storyblok also enabled Panini to move from a PHP-based setup to one powered by JavaScript, providing additional flexibility and more accessible frameworks for developers to build frontend interfaces. Editors can also manage content easily to oversee Panini’s assortment of global sites in various languages. 

Lokalise + Storyblok

Discover how Lokalise + Storyblok can help your business become localization-ready.  More info

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