by Monique Craig
It's clear that over the last two decades, the internet has grown to become a truly global phenomenon, making communication easier than ever. The first step for all businesses that want to tap into that potential of the web is building a multilingual website. From expanding their client base to cheap marketing of their products on a global scale, businesses can only gain on providing various language options of their website. Here are some good reasons on why multilingual websites are so important.
This is probably the most significant reason to consider. For a very long time since its conception, the internet was dominated by English-speaking users. Today, the situation is radically different. It's very likely that soon we'll see English becoming the language of a web minority – pushed away from its spot by Chinese, Mandarin, Spanish or Arabic.
It's smart to reach out to emerging markets – by translating their website into various languages, businesses will be on their way to build loyal user communities that will only grow in strength. Addressing countries with no defined user patterns or site/users relationships might seem risky, but the costs of translation are nothing compared to the potential benefits of tapping into that expanding audience.
Making a purchase on a website in a foreign language is often confusing for the customer. Businesses should strive to provide the best user experience possible – and a large part of this effort is translating the website into many alternatives.
Most internet users prefer to search for information on a website in their own language, as one survey conducted in Europe found out. You can only imagine what a user feels when confronted with spending their money through a foreign website. Frankly, not many of them will be willing to trust something they don't understand.
Translating a website is like adding a layer of comfort, security and trust. It's a sign of respect for other languages and cultures, showing that business owners don't ignore customers from other countries.
All this naturally leads to a considerable increase in sales – adding one more language version of a website can increase sales by potentially a 100%. When it comes to improving sales with such a small investment, there's no better strategy than translating a website into various languages.
There are various methods for spreading the awareness of a brand, product or service on foreign markets, but none of them is more cost-effective than translating all communications into the local language.
This is not just about finance – it's also about building a certain image of the brand, creating relationships with new clients and adding a prestigious international touch to the company. Business owners shouldn't assume that their product will automatically rock the local market because of its value as 'foreign' – they should speak the same language, gain the trust of consumers and create a strong international brand.
Translating a website into various languages is a smart step for boosting its SEO. A multilingual website will always be placed higher in search results once customers search for products or services in their own language.
This offers a real competitive advantage for businesses that make their sales exclusively via the web. Reaching as many customers as possible, they will also ensure that their content is relevant to search engines.
Multilingual websites are today a standard on the online market. Business owners realize that the web allows to address audiences that were completely out of their reach before the internet. Smart ones will make the most from this opportunity by offering multilingual versions of their website, designed to cater to the needs of their diverse consumer groups.
Monique Craig is an Australian blogger and marketing specialist who works for Oneflare, an online marketplace which connects customers with local service providers. She’s interested in learning opportunities linked to languages and networking.