Did you ever consider make your site or blog bilingual or multilingual? There are definite advantages to it, but it might not be the right move for every webmaster or every site. You need to weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision before jumping right in. Today we’ll take a look at what you need to know in order to make the best choice for your needs and long term goals.
Once you ask yourself the question as to whether or not you should you have various language versions available on your website, you are ready to begin. Until that question arises in your mind, you don’t need to worry about it. While the biggest search engines in the world are based in English speaking countries, you have to remember that when it comes to your audience, the World Wide Web is really worldwide.
A fact that many webmasters ignore is that only 6 to 8% of the world’s population speak or reads English. Although many webmasters don’t consider this fact and may even be believe that the entire world understands, speaks, writes or uses English in some form or the other -or that automatic translating systems on their browsers are adequate. The fact is, if you are only using English, you are limiting your options to a certain degree. Not always, but in enough cases that you have to at least consider branching out at some point.
What are some potential downsides to staying English only? By keeping your website solely in English you are severely limiting your website’s potential. Only around 25% of people use English on the internet, and many businesses today are of global nature with products shipped worldwide and services offered across the borders. That means 75% of the users out there on the web aren’t even thinking of looking for you. When you limit your website to English, you are limiting the total number of international users accessing your website or ordering your service. But wait – there are apps and services like Google Translator and Babelfish – they can solve the problem! Not so fast!
Though your websites can be viewed in other languages using Google translator tool and other similar tools, not many internet users will take the trouble to do that. Even if they do, the translations are not always all that accurate. Sometimes they are terribly wrong. It’s just easier to use websites that are already available in their mother tongue. Let’s face it – people want instant results and they want the information they seek to be as accurate as possible. Translators just don’t work all that well.
Furthermore, most users will be more comfortable with a local service provider or at least a service provider who shows them that they can communicate in their local language. Ask yourself if that is true of you. If it is, then you can definitely understand how your potential audience is thinking as well.
You can easily increase your website’s traffic by launching your websites in all the major languages of the world. (You don’t have to launch all of them at once; you can do it in phases.) of course, it is not merely enough to launch websites in the other languages; you must also take care of multilingual SEO. That in and of itself can be very expensive and very time consuming and the added expense will be ongoing, but it is necessary to compete globally.