Having a successful blog is no easy feat. There are millions of blogs out there on almost any topic you can think of. One way to stand out from the competition and increase your readership is to attract an international audience.
Here are some steps to creating a blog with global appeal.
You don’t necessarily have to change your content to make it more relevant to a foreign audience. Yes, writing about topics that are popular in France or Japan might increase your readers there.
But many people are fascinated by other cultures and like to read about subjects that seem exotic to them. Blogs about life on a Texas ranch or shopping in New York attract followers in countries as far away as Finland or Japan.
If you’re blogging on a particular subject, e.g. fashion, books, or crafts, then you’ll be able to relate to your readers and provide a fresh perspective. For example, many Swedish women like to read about the latest products and treatments on US beauty blogs, even if they’re not yet available abroad.
If you find a niche and create an engaging and interesting blog, you have the potential to attract a wider, international audience.
2. Engage with your readers
Don’t neglect your readers from other countries.
For example, if you blog about handmade crafts, you might decide to have a free “giveaway” to attract more readers. If possible, try to make this available to your international readers as well. You could even design competition or giveaway for a specific country.
And if you’re recommending products, why not include a website where they can be ordered from overseas?
It’s all very well having engaging content and giveaways, but what if you’re still not attracting international interest?
If you really want to reach out to people around the world then consider translating your content into their local language. You’ll be able to attract and interact with readers who are more comfortable in their native language.
It might be tempting to use free tools such as Google Translate, but they’re far from ideal. At best, they produce over-literal sentences, and at worst, a garbled text that will only confuse readers! For fluent results, use a professional, native-speaking, translator.
4. Cultural pitfalls
There are certain pitfalls to avoid when translating your blog. Watch out for images that could cause offense in another culture. For example, a fashion blog featuring models in bikinis would be inappropriate in a conservative Middle Eastern country.
Remember that humor usually doesn’t translate well. That doesn’t mean avoid it entirely, but use it with caution. For example, jokes about religion are unacceptable in some cultures, while self-deprecating humor or irony might simply get lost in translation.
It’s also worth thinking about your color choices when translating your blog or website. Colors have different connotations in other countries – for example, purple is the color of mourning in some Asian cultures. Green is sometimes called the “forbidden colors” in Indonesia – and is obviously best avoided for this country!
5. Avoid colloquialisms
Your blog isn’t going to translate well if you are using slang or colloquialisms. It runs the risk of alienating international readers.
You don’t need to remove every local expression, but try to make sure your language is in tune with a wider audience.
You can use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to increase your readership in foreign countries. Choosing the right keywords is the starting point. The most popular keywords in another country won’t necessarily be direct translations of your English ones.
For example, many Italians tend to use English search terms. A little research using Google Adwords or similar tools will help you find the best choices for your target audience.
7. Local search engines
When researching your international keywords, remember that Google isn’t the market leader in every country.
It’s worth finding out the individual quirks of the main search engines in your chosen country. For example, Yahoo! Japan prefers a higher density of keywords per page than Google.
8. Promote your blog
Social media can be an effective platform for promoting your blog. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all have users throughout the world.
9. Local bloggers
Interact with popular local bloggers in different countries that are blogging on your topics. This could lead them to link your blog in theirs, helping send more readers your way.
Furthermore, a link from a top-ranking blog is golden in SEO terms. Leave comments on popular foreign blogs, make contact with the bloggers and make them aware of your blog.