Making your blog friendly to a multi-lingual audience

What I found most useful about the World Travel Market in November, were the free seminars I attended on subjects that were relevant to my blog. If you couldn’t make it to London, don’t worry, the seminars are now available on line through video, audio and powerpoint presentations here.

The one I’d like to share with you is the seminar entitled from Brochures to Multilingual SEO, which covered some things you should consider if you are trying to optimise your website for a multilingual audience. Do watch the videos, especially the one by Greig Holbrook from Oban Multilingual.

Here are the key points I took from the seminar;

– 70% of Internet users worldwide don’t speak English.

– Google is not the leading search engine in every country, for instance in China the leading search engine is Baidu and in Russia it’s Yandex. In a recent international survey of travel internet users, 99% of those surveyed booked their holidays on line but only 30% used Google.

– To optimise your website or blog for an international audience, it’s not enough to just translate key words or phrases – you should try and find what are the most widely used key search phrases for your market.

– Local search engines favour local domain names and by the end of 2008, non-English script domain names will also be available.

– Numbers, colours and words have different significance in different cultures – would you fancy licking a Spanish lollipop called Bum, or drinking a Japanese Isotonic drink named Sweat? Worth considering when thinking up some wierd or wacky name for your blog.

– Even websites that attempt to have information in more than one language fail when, a few clicks in, the information reverts to English – worth considering if you are choosing a booking system for your hotel.

Here are some tips for your blog

– Add a translation widget prominently to your sidebar. As you can see, I use the Yahoo Babelfish widget but others are available by Google or as a plug-in for your self-hosted WordPress blog. Go on – check out the widget in my sidebar and see how it works.

– If you are are bi-lingual, why not use more than one langage on your blog? – you may double your audience at a stroke. Check out this Spanish/English post from Collazo Projects or Chocolate & Zucchini  based in Paris which has an English and French version. Even if that’s a bit too much, you could always make an effort to translate the introductory paragraph of each post into the language where you are based or writing about. Maybe Spanish readers would also be interested in that recommendation of the fantastic restaurant you found in the backstreets of Valencia.

– When setting up tags for your post, try to include the obvious key words in appropriate languages, for instance Sardegna as well as Sardinia, La Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias as well as City of Arts and Sciences.

– If you operate in a country other than UK or US, for instance if you have an expat blog, you should find out which search engine is most popular locally and what you need to do to be optimised for it.

As travels bloggers we must welcome readers from all over the world!

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Project Planning for my WordPress blog
Some tips to keep readers on your blog

Back to My Blogging Journey Home

Thanks for the photo from noticlj on Flickr

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