Photo credit: Miroslav Petrasko
The internet has brought the world closer together.
Many years ago, a small company in the United States would not have had much opportunity to do business with somebody in Australia. Now, through the power of the internet, everything has changed for the better.
As a web business owner, you understand the importance of search engine optimization. You want potential customers to find your website when searching for keywords related to your business.
Easy enough, right? Maybe in the past, but today there is more competition than ever before.
While you primary goal may be to optimize your website for those who speak English, you don’t want to miss out on another opportunity: optimizing your web property for those who speak a different language.
How to Decide If Localization Is Right for You
Whether or not you should spend the time and money to optimize for non-English speakers is based on a variety of factors.
Above all else, answer this question: could you increase sales and profits by attracting consumers who speak another language? If you answer yes to this question, you should at least consider what goes into optimizing your site for other languages.
There is nothing wrong with avoiding this either. For instance, if you run a small business in an English speaking country with no plans of expansion, you may want to continue to spend your resources on the same optimization strategies you have been employing.
There are two basic steps you can take to get started:
- Add localized versions of your site based on the languages you feel will generate the most new opportunities.
- Create country and language-specific content as a means of attracting clicks from non-English speaking countries.
First things first: you need to decide which languages you are going to optimize your site for. This is an important decision, so don’t guess and hope for the best. Instead, take these tips into consideration:
- Take a closer look at where your customers come from, and then use that data to make an educated guess as to which language they speak.
- Dive into the finer details of your traffic stats. For example, if you use Google Analytics, you will be able to see where your traffic is coming from along with many other geo-specific details.
How to Solve the Language Problem
“But I don’t speak the language!” I hear you say. This is a problem. Nobody can tell you it isn’t. But as with any problem, there are several solutions.
Could you hire a freelance writer who is fluent in both English and another language? Could you use a website translation tool for the simpler parts of your website? Nobody is saying you have to learn every language in order to provide this content on your website. What you do need is a solution to this potential problem.
It may take some time to provide visitors of every language with a targeted website, but in the long run it will pay off.
3 Powerful Benefits of Optimizing Your Site for Non-English Speakers
At this point, you are probably thinking one of two things:
- There is no point in optimizing my website for non-English speaking visitors.
- This is something I should have considered a long time ago.
If you fit into the second group, you don’t want to stop reading now. As you learn more about the benefits of making this change to your web business, your excitement will continue to grow.
Here are three of the biggest benefits:
1. Less competition. Let’s face it: most companies only optimize their website for English speaking visitors. This is the natural starting point, but it doesn’t have to be where you stop.
Did you know there is much less competition for visitors who speak another language? By optimizing your site for these people, you may find your traffic going through the roof sooner than you ever thought possible.
A buyer is a buyer no matter what language they speak. Keep that in mind.
2. A leg up on your competitors. If you translate your site to other languages, would your company stand out in your industry? Imagine what this could do for your business. Imagine what people would think when they see this functionality within your website.
This will slot you above the competition in the eyes of the consumers, while also giving your website and company the appearance of being “global,” even if this is not the case.
3. More traffic, plain and simple. If you only target English speaking consumers, you are probably leaving a lot of money on the table. Is that something you want to continue to do?
Take a closer look at these stats:
- There are 365 million people in the world who speak English
- There are 387 million people in the world who speak Spanish
- There are 935 million people in the world who speak Mandarin
- There are 204 million people in the world who speak Portuguese
- There are 160 million people in the world who speak Russian
While these numbers are only estimates, you are probably getting the point. If you move beyond English speaking visitors and begin to consider other languages, you could open up your business and website to millions upon millions of fresh buyers.
Yes, it’s going to take time to optimize your website for non-English speakers. Yes, it is going to take money to make this change. And yes, you are going to run into challenges along the way.
This may not be the right move for your business, but if you like the idea of opening the door to additional prospects it is something you have to at least consider. Even if it takes you several months (or longer) to complete this project, when everything is said and done, you will be in a position to receive clicks from consumers who speak a variety of languages.
Are you looking to localize your website for non-English speakers? Please share your thoughts in the comments.