If you have Google Analytics on your blog you’ve probably seen that little map that highlights the areas of the world to show where your visitors are coming in from. It’s also interesting to dig a little deeper and look at the links people are using to get to your blog. Look even closer and you might be surprised to see that you have visitors using a translation link. Now that little light bulb is blinking over your head – Can you make money by blogging for international audiences?
To find out if you already have international visitors, go to your Google Analytics account and view your traffic sources. Look for referral links that look something like this: translate . Google . Co . Th / referral. That means someone has passed your blog post through the Google Translator so they could read it in their native language. If you see that type of link a lot, you might want to consider blogging for a much broader audience. Instead of thinking ‘America’, why not think about taking over the world?!
There’s really nothing special you need to do to make your blog accessible for people all over the world. If you’re on the Internet they can find you. They may be in a country that blocks or restricts access but that’s not something you can control.
But accessibility is just one area of concern. If you’re going to start marketing to an international audience then you really need to be concerned about what the see once they arrive on your blog. Things like blog design, navigation and layout, and most important – your content.
Designing your blog for international audiences
There are still a lot of areas in the world where Internet access is iffy. It’s important to remember that a large portion of the global audience is still using dial-up access, which means their load times are slower. They’ll have a hard time getting your message if you’re using Flash and video to deliver it and super-large, bandwidth sucking graphics are a definite no-no.
Remember, too, that they it may be difficult for them to translate mp3 audio files and the audio portions of your videos. If you’re not going to translate this content yourself before you put it on your blog, then you need to make it as easy as possible for the reader to translate it himself.
Use standard icons and text for navigation
Most users, no matter where they live, will recognize the standard Twitter and Facebook and RSS icons and similar images you’ll use on your blog. They’ll also understand terminology like ‘click here‘ or ‘follow me‘, and words like ‘categories‘ and such. Try to avoid using non-standard icons that even people in your own country would have to look at twice to figure out what they mean. And avoid using slang navigation terminology like, ‘Check it out, dude!‘
And here’s another tip: Make your anchor text links blue. Blue is the industry standard go-to color for links. When people see blue they automatically know it’s a link. If you want to get even more specific, use Blue #0044cc. When the folks at Bing were designing the site, they found that shade of blue increased their click rate by almost a million clicks.
One final word of caution on your blog design: Be careful about using offensive graphics. You’ll be marketing to a world wide audience and you’ll now have to deal with a lot more definitions of the word ‘offensive’. That’s not to say you have to set up a vanilla-flavored blog. But do spend a little considering the effects of your graphics and colors and the over all theme.
Translating your text content
Of course the most important part of your blog is the content, and apparently your readers are already loving it. The question is, should you translate it for them or let them take care of that themselves?
Personally, I’d write in my own native language and let the reader handle the translation. For one thing, unless your traffic is extremely targeted, even restricted, there’s always going to be someone reading it who doesn’t speak the language. The only solution is to either re-write you content in a variety of languages (time consuming and/or expensive) or let the reader handle the translating. The Google Translate tool is available to everyone, it’s free to use, and it does a very good job.
However, there are a few things you’ll need to consider if you want to make money blogging for international audiences. Even a seasoned professional will have trouble translating slang terminology, industry specific terms and words that are language or dialect specific. If you know you’re writing for an international audience, be careful how you word your content so they can get the full meaning.