In today’s dynamic world, change is the only constant. What worked amazingly well in the past may turn out to be an absolute dud in the present. This holds even truer when technology is involved.
A few decades back, the internet was all about the English language. During the 90s, nearly 80 percent of the web pages were in English. However, online statistics have taken a somersault and so have the tactics and the styles to exploit this medium.
The super exponential rise in the number of internet users from a mere 16 million in 1995 to nearly 4 billion today has challenged the undisputed domination of the English language on the online platform.
Hence, it is likely that businesses, which have managed to do well with just an English website in the past, might not be able to replicate the same success now.
This blog is about 4 major reasons why sticking to the English language may limit your business opportunities, your customer base, and impede your future growth.
Dwindling Number of English Users
It would be no exaggeration to say that during the initial years of its inception, the internet was accessible primarily to English-speaking users. However, that monopoly is broken now, with the number of English web pages coming down from 80 to 50 percent.
Though the percentage of English-speaking users is still the largest, the ratio of those who prefer other languages is also catching up fast. Chinese, for example, is now supposedly ranked second among the top ten languages on the internet. Chinese-speaking users now comprise around one-fifth of the total number of users, and their English counterparts are just one notch above at one fourth.
Besides, Arabic and Japanese have grown by a phenomenal 8616% and 3434% respectively from 2000 to 2018.
The extrapolation of the current data indicates that in the coming years, other languages may eventually leave English behind. Hence, diversifying the languages is important to cater to the ever-rising, non-English-speaking user base.
Native Language Strikes a Chord
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” (Nelson Mandela)
Though the above quote is enough to make readers appreciate the effect and the impact of a native language, the compelling statistics associated with the benefits of using native language will drive home the point more convincingly.
More than 73 percent of users today are not browsing in English and close to 72 percent spend most of their time on sites that are in their own languages. Interestingly, 56 percent believe that price is less important while making a purchase, compared to the ease of reading the description of products and services in their own language.
Further more, 46 percent of users say they never purchase a product if it is not available in their language.
Numerous SEO Benefits
“The best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google search results.” The sentence may sound a bit melodramatic, yet it is true to the core, as nobody ever goes there.
The impeccable use of keywords, along with some other factors, ensures you a place in the first page of search results. However, the obvious crunch of keywords in the English language because of overuse is sure to give you tough competition among others.
Translating content into native languages arms you with an all new arsenal of keywords that can be exploited strategically to claim the top position.
Wider Reach to Potential Customers
Globalization has resulted in rapid transfer of people from one country to another. It has also led to people of different ethnicities, languages and cultures to live side by side in major cities across the globe.
Hence, if a business goes for an English-only website, even a local business in the United Kingdom, it will struggle to connect with a whopping 5.5 million potential customers, as these many people do not have English as their native language. Germany’s case is even stronger, with 15 million of its population comprising immigrants and their descendants.
Same is the case with nearly every country, including India, where only 30 percent of the population from an astounding 1.3 billion knows English.
A staggering 42 percent of all online users are situated in Asia. As none of the 50 countries in this continent is English-speaking originally. Global businesses cannot afford to ignore diversifying their website language and missing out on tapping into such a huge chunk of their potential customers.