This guest post is by Stephanie Hetu of StephanieHetu.com.
Most of us international bloggers learned pretty much everything we know in English, just because the community of bloggers is there, huge, active, and available. We don’t have to search very far to learn all sorts of little tips and tricks to make our blogs more appealing, to write better content, to interact better, etc.
So we should all blog in English shouldn’t we? The market is huge! Nahhh it is often much easier to blog in our own native language because the words flow better, we know the local expressions, and we know what makes people laugh (or not!).
Personally, I discovered the Web in 1999, learned everything I could in English (and still do every day), started my online business in English, and left my day job in 2003. But then I decided to take a 180-degree turn and build an online presence in French, and it works very well.
The decision to do it was not an easy one, but I don’t regret it for a second! And today I help entrepreneurs make the same decision when it is to their advantage.
Starting, growing, and monetizing a blog in another language than English is not for everyone, so I have compiled a list of five questions you can ask yourself before you make the decision.
1. Do you speak the language?
I know, this sounds like a really dumb question, but it is important! Sometimes, bloggers want to start a blog in another language just because they think it will be easy to get lots of trafic (SEO is usually easier in other languages). But often it’s a bad idea!
Why? Because if you decide to start a blog in French when you don’t speak French, you will be faced with these problems:
- Customer service: How will you manage the emails you receive from the blog asking you questions? They will be in a language you can’t read … not easy!
- Comments management: How will you decide if a comment is a good one to publish on your blog or not if you can’t read and understand it?
- Quality of content: Same problem here: how will you write good-quality posts if you don’t speak the language? I know some bloggers use an automatic translator, but that is not the way to go for long-term profit!
There is a workaround: to outsource everything. But what’s the point when you are just starting out? Especially if it’s your first blog, you want to learn all the ropes of building, promoting and monetizing it, so you don’t want to outsource work you don’t even know how to do in the first place!
2. Is there a market?
Even though starting a blog in another language is often a very good idea because there is less competition, it does not guarantee success! You still need to do some research to see if there is a market for the subject you want to talk about on your blog.
The nice thing is that some tools that work great for research in English also work in every single other language out there! For example, you can use the Google Keyword Tool External to research your niche and select a specific language and a specific country. This way you get an idea of the demand for your subject in your own local market.
3. Will you be able to monetize your blog?
Next, you need to look at monetizing options. This is important because being in a smaller market with no competition is great, but if there are no affiliate programs to help you monetize your blog, you’ll have to think of something else to make money!
First, look for affiliate program in your own language, because they are easy to use on a blog to make money. But do not despair if there are not many good quality affiliate programs—it does not mean you can’t monetize your blog!
If affiliate marketing is not an option, you can always turn to selling advertising space, adding Adsense to your blog, and (my favorite) selling your own products/infoproducts on the site.
4. Will you be able to find JV partners to grow your audience faster?
One way to build an audience faster for your blog is to create joint ventures with other bloggers by writing quality posts that will be published on other blogs in your niche as a guest author. To be able to do that, there must already be some influential blogs in your niche!
Even though it would not personally stop me from starting a blog in a specific niche, if there are no other blogs in the same niche or in the same market you can guest post to, it could take longer to build traffic and authority for your blog.
5. Are you in a niche where you can leverage the fact that you speak English?
If the answer is yes, than it could be a very lucrative idea to start a blog in another language!
Let me explain.
If you are blogging in a niche where there is a huge time gap in knowledge between the English-speaking market and your other language, you have a real advantage: you can learn everything in English before everyone else, and then look like a hero by teaching it in another language and be the first one to do it.
What will you choose?
Blogging in another language can be fun and lucrative, if you are in the right market or the right niche. If you have been blogging in English and you wish to take advantage of the fact that you speak another language to build blogs on the same subject, why not?
Just make sure you understand the situation and you could be on your way to adding new income streams to your online blogging business!
Stephanie Hetu has been blogging in French since 2003, helping small businesses grow their online presence using blogs, email lists, infoproducts and social networks through her own “Internet Success System”. You can reach her at http://www.StephanieHetu.com or follow her on Twitter (@stephaniehetu) and Facebook.