Small business owners are constantly struggling to improve their website in order to grow their business. They are always trying new and complex ways to provide a better user-experience for their visitors, but often overlook a basic need that makes a tremendous difference: languages. This is understandable, since creating a proper multilingual website used to be quite expensive and time consuming, making it a challenge for small business owners.
The Bounce Rate is the first thing we measure when users get to a website. It measures the percentage of users who land on the website and leave immediately without visiting additional pages or performing any action (you can track bounce rate with Google Analytics). Obviously the lower the bounce rate, the better the website is doing. Although there may be different reasons for users to “bounce”, failing to understand the content or not feeling comfortable with the language is, predictably, one of the main causes for users abandoning a website immediately. Adding languages to the site can prevent that, especially when you can auto-detect the user’s preference,usually based on IP address or browser’s language, which serves the appropriate language immediately.
Time on Site
Once users are on the site we want to make sure that stay. The time on site is a very good indication of clear messaging, high usability and interesting content. Users that stay longer are more likely than not, enjoying their experience which often leads to conversions (leads, sales, etc). Failure to have their native language on your site can quickly frustrate or discourage them, making them immediately move on to a competitor. Thankfully, that was before the recent rise in services offering easy website translation specifically designed for small businesses, making localization attainable. If you want to expand you business, your number one priority should be adding languages to your website, as it is now easy, affordable and accessible.
Believe it or not, the vast majority of international users don’t visit websites in their language, and people who shop online are willing to pay a higher price for the same item or service if they receive information in their native language.
Going multilingual does much more, and here is a list of 5 KPIs that are vital to your site and that you can immediately improve by adding languages.
A crucial aspect of the web is user engagement. More and more websites rely on their users to comment, write reviews and endorsements, and create buzz by sharing content on social media. New users instinctively trust websites with high user engagement, and social proof has become one of the leading eCommerce tactics. I’m sure you have seen things like “15 friends recommend this item” or “Over 500 positive customer reviews”. This kind of social advertising is very powerful, but it relies on users.
Offering users their native language will make it easier for them to share and recommend you to their friends, who most of the time speak the same language. Research also shows that user engagement increases dramatically when users interact with a website in their native language.
This is by far the most important metric of all, because it means $$$$. We brought customers to our website, we kept them interested and engaged, but ultimately we want them to take action. Buy a product, contact us to request a price quote, or download an app. The conversion rate is the number that tells us how well we are doing at that. It measures the percentage of visitors turning into actual customers, and the higher this number, the more successful the website. Unless you are selling something absolutely vital your customers have a choice: they can buy from your competitors or decide not to buy at all.
If you want them to buy from your site you need to make sure their experience is the best possible. Users who don’t understand the language on your site will likely have unanswered questions, doubts, and a general sense of insecurity and mistrust. On the other hand, if they do, their experience becomes friendlier and more pleasant. It is a well-known fact that websites offering local languages to different users have a much higher conversion rate. This is the reason why the largest online retailers dedicate great attention and resources to localizing their websites properly.
Loyalty and Returning Customers
As we all know, acquiring visitors costs money and takes time and effort. The most profitable visitors/customers are the ones who keep returning to your site, as once they are in they keep generating revenues over time without any additional costs to you. There are many techniques to increase customer loyalty (newsletters, private sales, loyalty programs etc.) but on a general level the concept is very simple: if your customer had a pleasant experience he will come back for more. If not, it will be very difficult to bring him back, no matter how attractive the incentive.
As we discussed before, language is a key factor in determining the quality of this experience. Websites that offer visitors their native language enjoy a much higher customer loyalty, with users returning over time for more and more purchases. It’s the sense of comfort and belonging that a native language is able to create that does the trick. After all, as Nelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”