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Do your site analytics show that you have visitors from all over the world? If so, you may want to consider the advantages of multilingual websites. In some cases, offering content in multiple languages can improve your website traffic and engagement. After all, featuring content in your readers’ native languages will likely enhance the user experience. About one in five people worldwide speak English, according to Unbabel, but an estimated 55.5 percent of all web content is published in English.
Multilingual sites are websites that provide some or all web content in more than one language, such as English, Mandarin, and French. One prominent example is the European Union’s site europa.eu, which is fully published in 24 languages. Also notably, the United Nations website offers full content in six languages.
Some government agencies or NGOs have regulatory obligations to provide content in multiple languages. However, most businesses and bloggers who offer a multilingual site do so by choice. The main use cases for providing localized content for an international or multilingual audience include the following:
- International visitors: Do your website analytics show that many of your visitors have foreign IP addresses? WordPress.com features like Google Analytics — available with the Business and Pro plans — can reveal your site visitors’ countries of origin and other demographics.
- Global visitor behavior: If your business currently sells products or services to an international client base, use analytics to observe the conversion rates of international customers. Does your site have a high number of visitors from France, Spain, or other countries who tend to make purchases? These insights can guide a multilingual site strategy.
- Global business goals: If your customer base is currently domestic or English-speaking, multilingual websites can strengthen a strategy for international expansion.
There are numerous benefits of multilingual sites. Creating a website that offers content in multiple languages is a relatively low-cost way to pursue global business expansion and instantly grow your potential audience. Here are five specific benefits of a multilingual website:
1. Stronger engagement
Seventy-two percent of web users say they spend most or all of their time online using websites that publish content in their native language, according to Unbabel. Further, 56 percent of consumers believe the ability to read content in their native language is more important than price when researching companies online.
2. Higher sales
If your business is actively trying to increase your customer base in international markets, you may experience a sharp boost in sales or lead generation. According to TranslateMedia, localized website content results in 70 percent higher lead conversion rates.
3. Stronger SEO
When a website offers content in more than one language, it will rank higher in search among non-English search users. Within three weeks, marketer Neil Patel saw 47 percent higher website traffic from search engines when he provided content translated into 82 languages.
4. Better brand awareness
Multilingual sites can immediately boost sales, but they can also offer less measurable benefits. Your organization is likely to experience better global brand recognition and positive brand reputation among non-English speakers.
Multilingual websites aren’t the right option for every business or blogger. However, if you already have a strong international audience or are hoping to increase sales and engagement among non-native English speakers, it might be a great option for you. Learn more here about how to enhance your user experience for a global audience.