All Articles Having A Website In Spanish Is Essential For Online Success By Joshua Burk Why Every U.S. Business Should Have a Website in Spanish Having a website in Spanish may seem unnecessary given the international language for business is English. Historically, several online resources were available only in English. English-speaking countries were the primary user base for online activities, as secondary user groups often spoke English as a second language. Today, many businesses online are shifting away from this mentality. More multilingual resources are available online than ever before, and companies are starting to understand how much multilingual content can improve their websites. Why is Spanish Important? Spanish is the second largest language in terms of native speakers and the fourth most spoken language in the world, with over 540 million speakers. While many of these people speak at least some English, most people are far more comfortable accessing content and doing business in their native tongue. As a result, companies that refuse to adapt are losing a significant market share as these customers seek out Spanish-speaking competitors. The top sources of Spanish-speaking users come from these countries: Mexico Colombia Argentina Spain United States There are also countless more from other South American countries. The number of Spanish speakers is on the rise. Over 20 million people currently study Spanish as a second language. In addition, Spanish content is the third most numerous on the internet behind English and Chinese, which is of particular note for American businesses, where 13 percent of the population are native Spanish speakers. Demographics of Spanish Speakers in America Spanish is second only to English in the United States, and so businesses of all kinds have a strong incentive to provide service and content in Spanish. Any company that doesn’t have a website in Spanish is alienating a huge part of its potential customer base. While many businesses recognize this fact, especially in areas with higher percentages of Spanish speakers, many fail to incorporate an effective bilingual website. The acceptance of Spanish within the United States has been steadily increasing for decades. The following states all provide official documents in both English and Spanish: Arizona California Florida New Mexico Texas When even the government has come to terms with Spanish in the United States, your business can’t afford to overlook proving a website in Spanish. Native Spanish speakers have a wide variety of backgrounds in the United States. Many native-born U.S. citizens have learned Spanish from their 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd generation immigrant parents. Essential Spanish-speaking immigrants in the United States include Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Central American nations, South American nations, and traditional colonial Spain. Purchasing power The purchasing power of Spanish-speaking people in the United States has been rapidly increasing through continued immigration and improvements in access to quality jobs among Hispanic communities. If Latinos in the U.S. were their own country, they’d be the eighth largest GDP globally with the purchasing power of $1.7 Billion. This boils down to one simple fact: this demographic is growing and cannot be ignored. Having a bilingual website will be essential for your business to compete in this growing market. Companies want to make money, and they do so by reaching more customers. So if you’re still asking, “Why is Spanish important?” at this point, you’ve fallen behind the trend and need to start providing a bilingual website as soon as possible. Minimal Online Competition Holding off a few more years before setting up a website in Spanish could be disastrous for your business, but if you start today, you’ll have a competitive edge. Connecting with a Spanish-speaking audience through a bilingual website will make your target audience more likely to procure your specific services over those of your competitors. Providing content, services, and help in Spanish lets you build a relationship with Spanish-speaking customers. They will consider your business to be friendlier and more reliable. In addition, there’s no question whether these customers will be more comfortable conducting trade in their native language. A Spanish website is your best bet to differentiate yourself from your competitors and build trust within the market. How Long Does It Take to Learn Spanish? If you want to handle your Spanish website on your own, you’re going to have to learn Spanish. But, of course, many U.S. citizens already speak Spanish as a second language. Those who don’t must consider many factors when asking, “How long does it take to learn Spanish?” It will be different for everyone, and you won’t know where you stand until you get started. The one thing you can be sure of is that it will take longer if you start tomorrow instead of today. Depends on Age Age is one of the most significant factors in determining how well someone can learn a new language. Children are great at learning languages; they tend to pick their first one up by listening to and interacting with their parents. This ability seems to stick with them during their school years. That is why so many schools have second language classes to take advantage of this situation while they still can. As people age, the ability to learn languages to full fluency seems to drop off. There’s no clear cut-off, but most adults struggle to learn a new language. Many tools are available, including apps, courses, and more, that try to help adults learn new languages, but many of these tools fall short. It’s by no means impossible for an adult to learn a new language. In fact, it happens all the time. You just need to understand that you’re in for a challenging process when you start. Depends on How Much Time You Have Learning any new language takes time. It’s a long-term process, but individual sessions each day should be long enough. Those who really want to know can immerse themselves in Spanish almost completely. They can conduct conversations with like-minded learners, listen to Spanish radio, or watch Spanish TV. This immersion will yield the best results, but it takes up hours of time that some people simply can’t afford to spare. It’s said that it would take about 480 hours to get a good grasp of Spanish. If you spend two hours each day learning Spanish, that’s going to be at least eight months. However, spending only an hour each day will take almost a year and a half. If you pay even less than an hour each day, it could take much longer. If You Can Afford Classes The trouble with the 480-hour estimate is that it assumes the person is also taking some kind of structured Spanish classes. Structured education will greatly impact how quickly you can learn a language. Lessons take up more time and money, which makes them out of reach of some people. Unfortunately, those who don’t have access are going to struggle to learn Spanish on their own. Even with all the different apps and free online resources, a self-taught learner will encounter many roadblocks without proper guidance. Worst of all, without careful oversight, people might not pick up on mistakes they are making, learn bad habits that they can never unlearn, or become habitually bad Spanish speakers. Building a Bilingual Website Without Speaking Spanish If learning Spanish isn’t for you — or if you don’t want to wait and potentially lose business while you’re still learning — there are many options for building a Spanish website. The effectiveness of these methods varies widely because many considerations go into making an excellent Spanish website. You need more than just a word-for-word literal translation. You need your content to be engaging to native Spanish speakers and to have some real flow. In addition to this, you need to employ proper Spanish search engine optimization. Simply translating keywords to Spanish from English won’t do it, as Spanish search engine rankings will have their keywords to identify and optimize. Automated Translation Automated translation is the worst option for Spanish websites. There are many services online — Google Translate most notably — that take the text and generates a translation. Thus, you can go from any language to any language. However, the content will often come out extremely garbled. Grammar will be clunky, vocabulary will be off, and you could even lose the meaning of your content completely. Many YouTube videos show the inaccuracies of Google Translate by having song lyrics translated multiple times then back into English. It’s pretty hilarious but also illustrates the point above. You can incorporate Google Translate directly into your website to allow for quick translation to any language, but you’ll still face the problem of unprofessional presentation. It’s hard to tell whether this option is better than not providing a Spanish website at all, but it’s clearly far below the other options. The main issue with this tactic is that it only shows the Spanish language on your site, but from an SEO perspective, your site won’t rank for Spanish words because the indexed site that you have is indexed in English. Professional Translation Having an actual person do a translation of your existing content is a step up from automated translation. A real person will be able to capture the nuance of the Spanish language and communicate in a fluid and fluent manner. As a result, you’ll have a much lower risk of losing the essential message of your website and have fewer miscommunications. Of course, any real live translator is going to charge for their services. Quality translations can be expensive, but reaching the Spanish-speaking audience could be well worth it for your business. Professional translations are excellent for many uses, but your website could stand to benefit from taking things a bit further. Spanish Website Design The best option is to hire a website design professional to create a full Spanish version of your website, using your existing English website as a starting point. This service delivers more than just translation. It fully optimizes your website for Spanish-speaking web traffic. A Spanish search engine strategy will drive Spanish-speaking users to your website, where they’ll find content specifically geared towards them. Spanish Search Engine Optimization Optimizing your Spanish website will entail a similar process to English search engine optimization with a few unique considerations. A simple translation is utterly inadequate for these purposes, so going with a professional SEO consultant is the best way to improve your business’s Spanish outreach. Regional Variations Across the United States, English variations don’t factor into search engine optimization all that much. The opposite is true for Spanish. You need to account for regional variations to get the best results given the number of countries from which Latinos immigrate. The vocabularies from different regions vary, and incorporating keywords from each is essential to bring in as much traffic as possible. For example, think of the English language in different countries. For the word “toilet,” here’s what you can expect: United States: Toilet England: Loo Australia: Dunny Now, the word “buzo” in Spanish is the same way. Here’s what it means in different countries: Mexico: Driver Argentina: Sweatshirt Chile: Sweatpants Guatemala: A talented person This complicates keyword research, so you really need a company that has specific experience handling Spanish website optimization. Developing an effective Spanish SEO strategy will mean carefully curating the keywords you choose to reach your target customers. Metadata Search engine optimization isn’t as simple as including keywords in the right quantities at suitable locations. Many other considerations shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re making a Spanish website. Metadata refers to all the behind-the-scenes content that affects search engine rankings, like the meta description, tags, and more. Optimizing Spanish metadata can be just as important as optimizing the customer-facing content on your website. This is why you need to find a company that specializes in SEO, not just a translator. A translator won’t understand the metadata optimization necessary to get your Spanish website ranking high in searches. Website Structure When you go to a major website, you’ll likely notice options to view the website in different languages. This is the kind of functionality you need to have on your website. You don’t just make another separate website with the same content in Spanish. Instead, you should incorporate multiple languages within a shared structure. Setting this up means planning out domains and your URL structure, something that is beyond most business owners. You need professional help to get this right, as there are a lot of different options. For example, some websites use subdirectories, while some use subdomains, and it’s not always immediately apparent which course will be suitable for your business. How to Get Help with Spanish Online Marketing You can’t ignore the benefits of setting up a Spanish website, and you should now understand that there’s a lot that is involved in doing so. Firetoss can help get your website up in Spanish run with quality translations and static content. In addition, our team of fluent Spanish speakers can implement Spanish SEO to improve your outreach to target a greater number of Spanish-speaking users. Contact us today to learn more about our Spanish website services.