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Language Important For Reaching International Audiences

Even though I don’t usually accept guest posts, and I get asked by a lot of people if they can do a guest post on this blog, I’ve made an exception for this one. Why? Because it wasn’t your typical post about SEO, keyword research or blogging tips and tricks. Nope, it was all about the importance of language when it comes to blogging. I touched on this subject a couple of years ago when asked the question, Do Yo KNow Your Niche’s Language.So, when Christian approached me with this particular post I decided to make an exception. I accepted it because I felt it covered a very important subject, one that I feel is somewhat lacking online. So, without further ado I give you….

How to Blog for International Audiences

Want to grow your blog readership? Then listen up. There’s a whole world of potential readers for you out there. The Internet is being transformed at a rapid pace. Look south: Brazil is the world’s second largest country on Twitter  (by number of accounts) and 58.5 million Brazilians have Facebook accounts. Or east: last year Asia already represented 44.8% of global web users. Chinese is now close behind English as the Internet’s top language, with the languages of tech-savvy nations such as Japan, Korea and the Arab countries all in the top 10. It’s time for bloggers to stop limiting ourselves to ‘people like us’. Not only does this mean including other languages, it also has an effect on what we blog about and how we present it.

Identify Your Audience

The first step is to narrow down your market, and narrow it down you must. You can hone in on your target audience by demographic and niche interests, for example craft-loving women, or young male gamers. From here you can research the international markets that look most promising. Is your blog’s topic something that would do well in India, for example, or does the local culture and economy make it irrelevant? Ask these kinds of questions for each potential market. This research will give you an idea as to which languages and regions you will need to include in your strategy. If there’s too much home-grown competition in a region or if it’s unlikely you’ll find an audience there, focus your efforts on markets that offer better results.

Use the Right Keywords

Keywords are the way to let non-English speakers know your blog exists and is relevant to them. Translate your tried and trusted English keywords, and then use a keyword research tool to check that these terms are actually being searched for by speakers of that language. There could be better alternatives. Native speaker input is often invaluable here to be sure your keywords have the right meaning and are the best choice.

Impress with Your Translation

Which of these bloggers gives the right impression to speakers of other languages: the one who refuses to use any language but English; the one who has sloppy translations that confuse readers; or the one whose translations are polished and read naturally to the target audience, without being too formal or inappropriate? I think the answer’s clear. This isn’t just about being grammatically correct or using a dictionary. Hitting the right note is important. You wouldn’t use the same style of language to an Asian 20-something male music-lover as you would to his cookery-loving grandmother. If you want to fit in, you need to know what level of formality to adopt and what the local buzz-words are for your niche.

Be Interesting… Everywhere!

Do your readers in South America or the Middle East want to read about your Thanksgiving plans or the gossip about some minor celebrity from a national TV show? Now that you’ve gone to the trouble of translating and optimizing for overseas readers, give them some content they can care about. That might mean using a global trending tool such as Trendsmap for Twitter or the Trends Dashboard on YouTube. Participating on regional social media can also give you insights into what interests your overseas readers.

Make Connections via Social Media

Speaking of social media, it pays to have a presence on major sites in each key language for your blog. Resist the urge to tweet or post in multiple languages though. This will only confuse and annoy your network. All of the major social media players cater to international users and languages, and you are more likely to make valuable connections overseas by breaking out of your English-language bubble. For your major foreign-language markets, also take a look at new social networks emerging there. For instance, in Japan if you are not using Line you are already behind the times! Asian social media fans also enjoy image-heavy sites such as Pinterest and Instagram.

Design for Global Users

Korean Coke Site

The benefit of translating your blog is that you can also localize the different versions to suit cultural preferences. There can be a marked east-west split here. Asians, for instance, equate a busy, complex site with rich content and would find a minimalist Western style lacking. Culturally, bright colors and cute themes will perform better across Asia than in Europe or North America. Have a look at McDonalds’ German site with lots of clean white space and text. On the other hand, McDonalds China is a riot of colour, with animations embedded on the swedish coke site languagelanding page and less text information for its visitors. The same can be said about Coca Cola’s Swedish site, simplistic design and only two further pages to choose from. Coca Cola Korea has plenty of images and a video ready to play, quite the opposite approach but does the job in Asia. After all this work, you need to know overseas users can view your blog the way you designed it. In the east, you are far more likely to come across old versions of Internet Explorer as the browser of choice, alongside local equivalents such as Maxthon. At the same time, high usage of mobile devices means you need to be mobile-friendly too. Identify and test for the browsers used by your target readers in order to reach as many of them as possible.

Article by , the Managing Director of Lingo24, Inc.. Follow Lingo24, Inc. on Twitter.

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Peter Pelliccia

I'm an Aussie blogger who loves to blog and share everything that I've learned on my blogging journey, including blogging tips and ways to blog for money. I am also trying to make my way on YouTube. You can follow my progress by subscribing to My Bonzer Channel.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Great post. We need to know pay attention to the languages, local customs, people living habbit etc. when attracting internation audience. I totally agree everything you said. :thumbup_tb:

    1. It certainly is important if you’re hoping to capture the attention of the particular your targeting. Different customs and ideals will require a different tact.
      Sire recently posted…Chinese Laundry Sexy Sal Friday Funnies #70My Profile

    2. Thanks Jane! I’m glad you liked the post. Interacting with your foreign audience from different parts of the world in their own language and culture really pays off.

  2. I agree Christian, it is very important to focus on the need of the hour. It would be a waste of time and opportunity to work after a market which is already stuffed with enough competition. And talking about including new languages in your website or blog, yes would be a very smart move.

    1. It’s more than just including a new language. You also need to know how they think and what sort of things move them. The way you approach a Japanese audience could be entirely different from the way you approach an American one,
      Sire recently posted…Proof That Passive Income ExistsMy Profile

    2. The days of only having English on your website are gone, now more than ever you need to offer your visitors a few more options to choose from. As Sire said, it’s also extremely important to go beyond a new language, you need to find out what their interests are and how you can better offer what they want.

  3. As an effect of globalization businesses continue to expand beyond international boundaries too. And all businesses have websites today for the convenience of customers. Introducing international languages in a website would take the business to a new audience.

  4. Thanks so much for the great information! I found it especially interesting about the different corporations providing different websites targeted towards the different cultures in different countries. I’ve never noticed that before. I found it very interesting looking at the different McDonald’s sites. Thanks again!
    Kaylie Schwartz recently posted…Which Hiddenbed desk-bed is right for you?My Profile

    1. Glad you liked the article Kaylie! You can see the same thing with other corporations. If you take a look at Sony and Nokia’s websites for USA and Japan the differences are very clear.

  5. Twitter:
    It is a great way to reach wide audience and actually reduce bounce rate, though I personally haven’t seen regular blogs that have incorporated multi-language structure and probably only large corporations have that kind of blogs written in different languages.
    Carl recently posted…What To Look For With Website Development CompaniesMy Profile

    1. Some of my blogs use a plugin that allows people to translate the contents into their language. But when I write the posts I target the English speaking audience. It may not be suited to their needs but at least they can read it, to an extent anyway.
      Sire recently posted…IMSC PingFresh Review Does It WorkMy Profile

  6. Hi christian. What do you mean about “Design for Global Users”?
    I think all of people understanding the designed web pages.

    1. They probably understand it but it may not encourage them to buy whereas one that is designed for a particular country may have more of a positive result.
      Sire recently posted…Sexy Sals Blonde Genie And The Blonde ManMy Profile

    2. Tailoring your website to the audience’s preferences has a greater chance of encouraging them to stick around and try your products. People place far more confidence in you if you’re speaking their own language.

  7. Hi!
    I have an idea. How about writing blog articles in 5 major world languages? – English, Chinese, Spanish, German and French. I mean one article with a button to see the translated content into one’s native language. The visitors will get interesting information, you’ll get more traffic :)

    1. That would be something! The only thing here that might not work is if the original post is targeted towards only one culture. Writing a post in English about an American TV channel for example might not be interesting enough for people in France, China or Germany.

  8. Twitter:
    It is always an important aspect to identify the audience first and next to write for them.Further, we should optimize the posts with right keywords to help the audience reach our article via search engines.

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