According to a recent study available on statista.com, only 25.9% of internet users consider English to be their first language. That means that nearly three-fourths of the global internet audience interacts on a daily basis with the world around them in a language other than English. And while many of these individuals are proficient in English, the language that speaks to their mind most profoundly is something else. Consequently, if you want your website to reach deeply into the lives of your audience, a multilingual website is critical – for a host of reasons.
Create a Digital Connection
First and foremost, providing your website information in the native language of your audience shows that you respect them and care for them. Rather than expecting them to do the work of trying to engage with your English text, you demonstrate to them that you’re willing to do the work so that they can easily connect with you.
A related benefit of a multilingual website is the reputation and trust you build as a brand. When a Chinese speaker finds you and sees the efforts you’ve made to communicate to them in their native language, they will be very quick to share you with others in their spheres of influence. And in our world of “six degrees of separation” and digital connection, your good reputation and trustworthiness can spread like wildfire deeply into each community where you make the effort to speak their language.
From a practical standpoint, a multilingual website – especially one with well-developed Global or Local SEO content – is absolutely necessary if you want your target audience to find you. After all, a native Spanish speaker is quite naturally going to default to Spanish when they use search engines to look for information. So, if your website isn’t available in Spanish, you won’t even show up on their “search results” and again, your chance to connect with them has been lost to the well-developed multilingual website that does show up in those results.
Expand Your Web Presence
Do the math – every time you add a new language to your website, you expand your web presence. Based on this same statista.com research a Chinese version of your website reaches 19.4% of all internet users, and a Spanish version reaches another 7.9%. So, if the English version of your website reaches 25.9% of all internet users, adding just Chinese and Spanish more than doubles the reach of your website and your potential market… undoubtedly worth the small amount of time and resources required.
For these and many other reasons, investing a bit of energy to make your website multilingual is well worth the effort. It will enable you to show your current audience that you care, and expand your reach deep into new communities as well.