In one of my previous blog posts, I mentioned how to start blogging and some ideas for what to write. So, imagine you’ve decided which platform and subject to publish your blog on – fantastic! Now comes the difficult question: Should I Blog in English or my Native Language??
That depends on two factors: the language of your audience – the readers you want to reach – and your language skills in that language if it is not your first language.
Should I Blog in English or my Native Language?
English is only perceived as the most spoken language because most people learn it as a second language. You can start a successful blog with a small but captive audience in any language you want. And nothing is wrong with it! Always consider who you will be writing to.
Advantages of Blogging in Two Or More Languages
To Boost Your Traffic
The most obvious reason is that blogging in a second language exposes your blog to an entirely new market. This means you’ll get more traffic, sales, followers, and so on.
Having Less Competition
The English-speaking travel blogging market is highly competitive, and if you truly want to stand out from the crowd, you must be very niche-oriented and create some very unique content.
Because the blogging market in other languages is less saturated, ranking on the first page of Google is always easier.
While the number of Spanish, French, German, and Italian travel bloggers is growing, if you come from a country with few bloggers, such as Iran, becoming the blogger of reference in your country should be much easier as long as you are consistent and create valuable content for them.
To Foster A More Active Community
Readers in your home country are more likely to be interested than others.
Because you share the same language and cultural background, they will feel closer to you and possibly more accessible, so the number of questions, meet-up requests, social media comments, and so on are always higher.
This type of involvement can lead to numerous new business opportunities.
Obtaining More Media Attention
One of the most significant benefits of blogging in your native language is that it makes it easier to be featured in local media.
You are more familiar with your local newspapers and magazines than anyone else, and contacting journalists and authors will always be easier.
Sure, a local newspaper may not be as reputable as the New York Times, but don’t dismiss it. Featuring some local media outlets is a good way to start, so they’re an excellent way to boost your SEO.
The same is true for travel bloggers. Competing with top travel bloggers from your home country will always be easier than with English-speaking ones.
Identifying the best product or service for your target audience
Some of the people’s biggest challenges with affiliate marketing sales is that their readership is so diverse that it is difficult to find the right service that meets the needs of everyone.
Furthermore, dealing with a local company facilitates communication (and payment). In addition to signing up for local affiliate programs, having a bilingual blog can help you optimize sales for more generic affiliate services.
For example, there has always been an ongoing debate about which hotel search engine is the most effective. Booking.com to HotelsCombined to Agoda, and so on. Choosing the right hotel booking page highly depends on your audience, which can be difficult to determine depending on where they come from.
However, if you blog in your native language, you will already know which one works best in your home country. You can then use one affiliate to promote your English content and another to promote your native content.
Disadvantages of Blogging in Two Or More Languages
It Requires Time.
The most significant disadvantage of blogging in two languages is it takes a long time.
And if you believe that you only need to translate, you are mistaken because numerous tasks must be completed twice:
- SEO optimization of your articles
- Making captions and ALT descriptions for your images
- Adding new information to old articles
- Managing your social media
- Newsletter Creation
It doesn’t take twice as long because when you translate it into another language, the article’s structure is already there, and you don’t need to do any additional research.
Furthermore, many tasks don’t need to be done twice, such as technical work or photo editing.
Translation Is The Most Unpleasant Task.
Translating is not only time-consuming but also the blogging task many writers despise the most. They dislike it, but it will depend on the individual.
There is no Travel Blogging Community.
From link building to social media threads, there are countless Facebook groups and communities for English bloggers that can help you grow your blog.
There may be some small communities in other languages, but they may not be as helpful. Even in Spanish, a language spoken worldwide, the link-building community is small and inactive.
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Tips for Blogging in English for Non-Native Speakers
Remove your native accent.
Accents are speech patterns that you pick up from your native tongue. They are most familiar to us in the form of sound, but they can also be found in writing.
You’ll be eager to get rid of them.
Read and listen to English as much as possible, absorbing English rhythms and speech patterns through osmosis.
Develop an understanding of the specific challenges that writers in your own language face. Study English texts written by native speakers of your own language—anything will do, such as airport and public transportation announcements. Tourism brochures can also be very helpful.
Always think to yourself, “Is this good?” And if not, why not? Where could I have done better?
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Always write your posts, even drafts, in English first. Resist the urge to write exposés in your native language.
Unless you are an exceptional translator, any such draft will always reveal its origins. Good technical translators do not “translate” but rather ask themselves how a native speaker would have conveyed the same message in the target language.
Do not overextend yourself.
Maintain simplicity. Do not intend to create literature. Don’t try to impress your readers with your command of the English language.
Consider yourself as someone who has just gotten a pair of ice skates and is still learning. For the time being, the goal is to get from one side of the rink to the other safely. Leave the triple Lutz for another time.
Perfection may always elude you.
Writing good English is not something that you can or cannot do. There is no single point in time when you can say, “That’s it; now I can write.”
That is not how things work: learning is always gradual. The more you write, the better you’ll get, but there’s no guarantee you’ll ever reach the level where readers could mistake your copy for something they’d read in the New York Times.
Even if you do, there may be odd phrases that your American or English readers will misunderstand. I’m afraid that’s part of the game. Accept it and move on.
Know how the English language works.
English is a conversational language with a level playing field. Like any language, it allows the speaker to provide information about himself (for example, by saying “loo” rather than “toilet”: the old U vs. non-U use of speech), but its primary goal is always to communicate as clearly and concisely as possible.
If you’re thinking, “Isn’t that the first purpose of any language?” you’ve obviously never read anything written by a German academic. In other words, while some languages are primarily intended to communicate the speaker’s status, English is not one of them.
So keep things simple. Do not brag or intimidate. Make things simple for your reader. Use the most commonly used word, the one that the majority of readers will understand. A convoluted style is considered affected and impolite in English. As a general rule, use the Anglo-Saxon word rather than the “French” word. Say “begin” rather than “commence.”
Write in a conversational tone. Assume you’re explaining something to someone at a pub table. Do not use your blog as a pulpit or a lecture hall podium. Do not adopt a “me-speak-you-listen” style. This may be the acceptable language of academic discourse in some countries. People in Anglo-Saxon countries will pay you the same attention as they do to the ranting nutter in the park.
And don’t forget that small jokes are always appreciated, especially if you invite your readers to laugh at you. A few self-deprecating remarks here and there can go a long way.
People fluent in several languages may be able to write in any of them.
You write in the language of your audience if you are fluent in more than one language.
If you are learning a second language, writing down what you want to say in your native language and then translating it, possibly changing things here and there, can help you say what you know in the second language.
If you are somewhere in the middle, forcing yourself to write in your second language can be an excellent exercise to avoid using your first as a crutch, but you must have enough fluency in the language to not lose your train of thought as you write.
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