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Why should you make your website multi-language?
Broaden your audienceThe world has thousands of languages, and different people have their own mother tongue. However, plenty of business owners today still seem to assume that everyone is fluent in English, and that English is enough for their websites. But according to statistics by Statista, although English has the largest share of users, it’s spoken by only a little over 25% of users worldwide. Chinese is second at just under 20%, and China itself is the country with the largest share of internet users, with 52.2%.
Take advantage of new markets with new opportunitiesLarge portions of the populations of developed nations like the UK (81.7%) and the US (78.2%) are already internet users. That means there is less chance for growth in these markets. However, many emerging economies across the world are still catching up, so they boast a larger opportunity for growth. In China, for example, only 38.4% of their 1.4 billion people use the internet. The same can be said for large parts of the Middle East and Africa. That means that there is tremendous potential in these markets to grow an audience. In these areas, it’s also almost certain that the competition will be less fierce, for now.
Convert more visitors into customersJust think how much more comfortable and at ease you would feel doing business with someone if you could communicate freely with him or her. Then, superimpose that on the 70+% of internet users who don’t speak English as their first language. Would you buy from a site if you understood none of its content? Probably not. It would also be harder to trust a site with poor translations that seemed unprofessional.
Make your customers feel at homeMaking customers feel as if you cared that their needs were looked after has never been bad from a business perspective. The same can be said for your online customers. Engaging with your audience and making them feel comfortable will build customer loyalty and encourage them to return to you. It’s more economical and profitable to retain customers than to get new ones — fortunately, a multi-language site will help you do both.
Get ahead of the packThe massive contradiction is that despite around 70% of internet users not using English as their first language, 80% of website content is available only in English. So if you make your site multi-language right now, you’re already in the top 10% And if you want to get serious by implementing quality translations and multiple languages, you’ll easily get into the top 5%.
Carve out an international image for your brandHaving a multi-language site and ensuring that other languages are represented adequately will make your business look more professional, polished, and give it an international image. That will boost your reputation among new and existing customers and make them take you seriously.
SEO optimizationThe English version of Google is not always the search engine of choice in every country. Other countries likely rely on the language-specific version that’s relevant to them, or an entirely different search engine that caters to their language. A good example is China, with a number of Chinese search engines like Baidu and Sogou.
For your website designIf you’re serious about making your page multi-language, it’s important that you incorporate it in your design process. Some languages don’t read from left to right like English, and sometimes they occupy more space or less space to say the same thing. This will affect your website design, and it’s important that you cater to any such languages.
How to make your website multi-languageIt’s clear that a multi-language website is hugely important. But now you might wonder how you can actually go about making one. As more and more people are realizing how crucial it is, tools are improving and expanding. Here are the most common options:
- Find a great multi-language website builder: When it comes to making your site multi-language, all website builders definitely are not equal. Builders like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace are renowned for great multi-language tools and guides. However, each has their own process to go about doing it, with varying levels of complexity.
- Embed the Google Translate widget: Most builders allow you to embed a Google Translate widget directly. This will give your site the Google pop-up box that asks users if they want the site to be translated by Google. This is a very convenient option, but the tool isn’t always accurate.
- Human translator: For now, you can’t do better than a skilled human translator. However, you would need to hire a translator for each language, and that could get expensive. Also, you would still need to incorporate the translated content onto your pages somehow.