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Bloggers from Non English Speaking Backgrounds – Share Your Tips and Stories Here

Posted By Darren Rowse 17th of January 2010 Reader Questions 0 Comments

If you’re a blogger where English is not your first language – I’d love to get your participation in this discussion.

Recently I surveyed subscribers to my newsletter on the challenges that face them going into 2010. Quite a few of the responses to that question came from bloggers for whom English was not a first language.

The problems that this group of bloggers presented to me were numerous but two recurring challenges were:

  • Not knowing which language that they should blog in – should they blog in their own first language and have a smaller potential readership or blog in English where their readership could be larger but where they had challenges in writing as well?
  • Feeling isolated from other bloggers – a number reflected that at times they felt that they were not taken as seriously by bloggers in other parts of the world and found networking difficult.

As a blogger who speaks no other language but English I’m probably not the person to bring much wisdom to this topic – however I’d love to get the thoughts, experiences, tips and stories of bloggers who have been in this situation in comments below.

My hope is that this post will not only give bloggers struggling with these and other issues a place to tell of their challenges – but that some might also share how they approach the challenges and give some tips and advice for bloggers from a non English speaking background. I’d also love to hear stories of (and see examples of) your successes (and those of others) as I know that the blogosphere is alive and well in all corners of the globe.

If you’d like to share in your own language and/or English I’m happy for you to do so in any way that you feel comfortable.

I’m looking forward to reading what is shared below.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I’m native german and I’m blogging in german and english.

    First I started a german webmaster blog and then set up another english blog and now got a second english one …

    The biggest problem is, that you will have to wirte articles for all of them. Topics are nearly the same if the niche is the same but it’s way easier to succseede in another language then english.

    To rank good in most niches you will really have to invest a crapload of work which is easier if you are blogging in german, which doesn’t mean it’s not hard in german….

    the reason for me blogging in both languages is that I love the opportunities of the big english market but still want to have a feet on the local market

  2. Very interesting topic. I am from Denmark og speak danish. I have had a couple of blogs in my life and all have been en danish.

    Right now I am thinking about starting a new blog with a new topic and considering writing in English.

    So would like to hear if people have any experience in the transition from writing in your first language to writing in English?

  3. Hi,
    I’m Danish but I’ve chosen to blog in English because I find it much easier to write about technology related news and reviews in English. Most of my readers are also from the US or UK so it wasn’t really a difficult choice to make – and here in Denmark we are so lucky that almost everyone speaks English so it’s no problem for them to read my English blog posts.
    There is definitely more competition for your blog if you chose to write in English and I think you should think about what content you are going to have and then choose your segment to write to.
    I like the idea someone posted here on ProBlogger years ago, she stated that why not blog in both languages have every article in both language – this would be a lot of work but I like the idea.
    But I’m staying in English on my blog and I hope people think my English is good enough for the content.

  4. I´m blogging in my own language – Slovak, and I also have an English category with articles which could be interesting for foreigners.

  5. I’ve been blogging since ’07 in my spanish blog.

    The Spanish blogosphere is pretty big too, but still blogs like yours Darren don’t virtually exist.

    Why? Because the main issue we have in monetization. There are a few system that work with us, one of them is adsense. But you can forget about amazon comissions, Chikita, comissions of other blogger’s programs, etc.

    So no one really makes that much money to teach others. I tried, I wrote a blog about making mney and stuff. I had some visitors, but the affort was too much for too little.

    Now I focus my energy in my personal blog, that became a original humour blog. I’m pretty known in the Spanish blogosphere, and I even appeared in some newspapers :D

    I asked for advice in your forum. Thanks to that I created a page of my blog on Facebook that now has over 1.600 fans.

    So, I don’t make that much money (I just sold 2 spaces of 125×125 for 3 months for $100, and my blog has more than 3k unique visitors daily, that’s pretty much shows how poor we are :D) but I have fun :)

  6. Great post.

    English is not my first language, although, I think I can express myself in a understandable way in English.
    Lately, I made the decision to start a blog, the language choice was not that hard, my blog will be technical and in my opinion writing in English is primordial at that stage.
    But this doesn’t mean that I won’t be writing in my first or second (English is third) language.

    And yes, It is hard to write in your 3rd language, probably, easier when you speak code (technical blogs), it would be a challenge for me to blog about a “general” subject in English, not impossible but definitely hard.

    PS: if you read this comment, I’ll be happy to know what is your thinking about my English ;)

  7. Beeing a native German I started my blog 4 months ago – in German.
    The problem I have in the local market is the little number of potential reader in my niche (my estimation: 30K – 50K).
    When I see your 130K Feedburner subscribers, Darren, I know I cannot even reach this level theoretically.

    On the other hand there is less competion in the combination small markets/small niche.
    But we have take care to check if the potential market reaches a critical bottom line.

    Kind regards,

    ET-Tutorials – Elektrotechnik Online

  8. My first language is Russian. And English is not even the second but the third after German. My adventure in English speaking web started some 3-4 years ago when I signed up for blogger and had my first blog in English as I saw it as a platform to practice language. Now when I look back and reread the posts from there they make me smile as my level of language is way far from what it is now.
    After some time I figured out I am ready for making something serious and started an online magazine. Honestly I have not seen any problems with not having English as your native language. Many people do not even check about me and do not know I am Russian, maybe that is even for the best because if the knew they would have been more judging.
    For everyone whose first language is not English I would suggest not to be afraid of anything. You decide to write in English, do it. It is just that you have to work harder so that nobody would care what is the language you speak at home.
    People might feel isolated because they make themselves isolated or maybe have fears that they will be judged due to their nationality. In the long run it does not matter. Just be interesting and creative. And do not be afraid of making mistakes, Lots of English speaking people who were brought up in English speaking environment make mistakes as well. What you got to do is to learn from yours.
    It is tough to constantly give quality content in good English. If you can’t give good English, learn, research, study, search for advice, ask people to help you. They will not mind it. And important is to believe in yourself and to know that you can do it. Nothing is impossible if you work hard for it.

  9. Hi Darren !

    I’m a reader of your blog and a blogger myself. I’m the co-founder of a foundation which promotes international exchanges, better understanding between cultures and, of course, better knowledge of different languages.

    I blogged first in French, a century ago or so… It was a personal blog and i spoke about a lot of things which i was interested in.

    Now, I’m blogging for professional purposes and in two languages. In English, on our main blog http://linguafrancafoundation.org and in French on http://trouvetavoie.wordpress.com

    Actually, I would recommend to these non-English speaking bloggers to asks just two questions : what is your goal ? Who is your audience ?

    If you blog for people you want to make business with at a local or national level, please, blog in you own language. The point is to be understood, isn’t it ? Or else, how do you expect to build a community ?

    If you blog for an international audience, then chose English, definitely ! Unless you live in Asia : then it would be interesting to consider Mandarin Chinese instead…

    According to my experience, you can blog in English or in your own language as soon as :

    – your goals are clear;
    – people understand what you have to say;
    – you have REAL content : rich, interesting, colorful…
    – You know your readers and their needs and you answer to it.

    In any language, blogging is blogging and you have to respect the same rules.

    Of course, somebody writing in an obscure dialect from a remote place will never reach an audience of one million readers. But maybe, it answers to the need of a handful of local readers and everybody is happy with that.

    Networking can be a little more difficult, but what kind of network are you searching for ? If you want to network with people in the same field, they will find you and you will find them. Use social media. Go Facebook, Linked’In, Twitter, StumbleUpon and so on.

    For me, blogging has been a very positive activity for years and i meet very interesting people, online and alive, through this kind of communication.

    I wish everybody could too.


  10. I live in Austria and love to write about exhibitions and sights like castles and museums. Generally I write in German which works well. I am trying to write in English too as I would like to get in touch with much more people than only German spoken. But that isn’t that easy. People in nearly each country of the world learn English but it’s not the same English. So I am not able any more to make the plays of words I used to make in German. They simply don’t work in each country.

  11. @ Simon

    I recently started blogging in English for the first time.

    I would say that difficulty depends on level of one’s English skills, but one thing which is almost certain is that creating a post will take much more time and there will still be risk of errors, which you might not have spotted.

  12. By the way, there is a great plugin built by Automattic (WP creators) which helps with getting grammar and spelling right in your English posts. I use it and i’am very happy with it.


  13. Native Bulgarian speaker over here…I have been blogging for some time now and I have tried all kinds of techniques, methods and tactics.

    What I find working well from a blogging perspectie is sharing! Peopel think that they can not become bloggers because they do not have the talent. You have the talent naturally, th skils is what you have to develop if you want to become a blogger.

    If somebody has more talent than YOU, just make sure that you work hard enough to develop the skills needed to become as good a blogger this person is. It takes time, it takes patience and it takes the will to do good and help other.

    If you are not making other people’s lives better by blogging if you are not helping them than you are wasting yiur time. By making people’s lives easier you are actually making your own life easier.

    The first step to all that is by believing yourself! Start believing yourself…

  14. Hello Darren,

    well i started a few years ago with blogging and i found myself in a big dilemma because i was raised with several languages and i speak now 7 languages fluent. So the first issue i had to face was the decision in which language should i blog.

    It took me a while till i found a workflow that works for me because on top of the language problem i had audiences in different sizes which would love to hear me in their own language.

    My decision was that i cover different topics in different languages. So i started with a german and an english speaking blog. And step by step I added portuguese, spanish, italian, korean and so on.

    Today i find it amazing to be able to write in different languages because it gives me also the opportunity to post one post in several languages and without having a duplicate content problem.

    On the other hand i understand that it could be difficult to interact with other bloggers, specially the great names in the industry, but in the end it is like building a relationship with someone in real life. Most bloggers like to take and not to share. But that doesnt work. If i want someone to interact with me, first i have to think about what can i give/do to the other person, so that they can realize that i am an interesting person too.

    And i made a very funny observation too – sometimes its just enough to ask the big names. Most people think they will not respond to you, but my experience was that whenever i asked something the big names always responded – like you Darren.

    Today i feel i have more opportunities and more freedom by being able to blog in different languages. I also interact more on social media networks like Twitter or so in different languages. So for me it is more freedom now then it was in the beginning.

  15. I am an Indian and I blog in English. grammar problem might come, otherwise I am Ok with blogging in non native languages

  16. Hi Darren,

    Although I grew up in a house where both parents spoke perfect English, my native language is Urdu. Right now my daughter (currently 2.5 yrs) is growing up in a bilingual household as well and I find that while this has many advantages it has many disadvantages as well.

    I write for international clients who often demand a fluent, native speaker. The minute they see that I’m from Pakistan, they immediately become suspicious about my English proficiency. To that end I’ve found that apart from maintaining an English blog, writing for content sites like Suite101, I’ve recently put myself and my story on video.

    This single step has been life-changing! More and more people are now comfortable working with me as they can easily gauge my English fluency through my video. More than one potential client has told me that “We feel like we already know you” after watching my video.

    So my personal advice to bloggers (of any language) would be to develop the human connection to your readers – video or even audio makes it so much easier to do that.

    Second, blog for your audience – if your audience is English-speaking then blog in English. There’s not much point in trying to reach an international audience with a local/regional language.

    Hope this helps!

  17. Hi, I’m from Spain, and at the end of last year I was asking myself some of this questions too, primarily the “Not knowing which language I should blog in”. I even wrote a post about this.

    My personal blog is in Spanish as its visitors are close friends of mine, but in my projects blog I try hard to write in English, because this is the main language on the Internet.

    I suggest, to you non-English writers, to read “Writing English as a Second Language” by William Zinsser (http://bit.ly/4MqJMw) because it has really good advices.

    I will continue writing in English, in hopes to expand my blog’s audience.

    kudos for the blog!

  18. Hey Dareen ,
    I have been blogging for the last 9 months since I took your 31 day challenge. I am a native of India with my first language as Marathi .My first and foremost struggle that I went through is many comments on my English and grammar mistakes . This post definitely will help me meet those people who are from the same boat as me .
    Thanks for that.

  19. I am from Sri Lanka, and Sinhalese is my mother tongue. I am free from the 2 challenges you have mentioned in the article but I face 2 different ones as a Sri Lankan.

    1. I totally miss the Sri Lankan readers as my blog is in English. Even though WordPress is available in my native tongue it requires that readers download the font and install it into their computers before reading a blog in Sinhalese.

    2. I speak fluent English. But my writing style may not impress everyone. Therefore everyday I am trying to develop a style that most of my readers will find to be common. And I get some one else to edit my writings…

  20. I used wordpress as a CMS for my fan site for Stieg Larsson’s Millennium books, sallysfriends.net, so I hope I qualify to leave some input although my site is not a ‘real blog’ as such.

    Anyway, when I started I pretty soon had to face the question about language. I’m a Dane myself and Larsson is pretty big in Scandinavia, to put it mildly – having sold hundreds of thousands of copies of his books. But he also has a large emerging audience in both the UK and US and in the South of Europe. Especially the Italians and the Spanish have created some really big Facebook-groups for Millennium, with active participation.

    In the beginning I tried to write only in English and then put in a translator-tool. English is my best second language, so that came natural to me as a ‘safe bet’. Also, I knew, there would be a surge in interest – and potential new audiences – when the books (and films) hit the US. (And most of my traffic is from the US, I can see now – although that is probably also because I chose English from the outset.)

    I quickly removed the translator tool because I couldn’t get it to work with my wordpress-theme so that was the end of that little experiment. But I still had the problem of what to do about the Spanish and Italian fans (and also the Portuguese – there’s quite a large Brazilian Millennium site).

    In the end it was a compromise: I post news updates from my site, if relevant on the Spanish and Portuguese Facebook groups (and also the Scandinavian ones). I try to stick to Spanish when discussing Larsson-related stuff in the Spanish Facebook groups, and also to reply in Spanish if someone comments in Spanish on my main site. But my main blog/site-language has to be English. It’s the most ‘international’ language, like it or not, it’s where the largest new fan-audience is, and it’s the foreign language I’m most comfortable with.

    But there is obviously a price – not just as regards the Spanish and Italian fans, but I also have the feeling sometimes that I’m losing Scandinavian fans because of this choice. The traffic from Denmark/Norway/Sweden is not very good, compared to population, that much I can say … but I haven’t reflected any deeper on why this is so.

    My best advice to bloggers would be to blog in the language you are most comfortable with, because it gives you the widest range of expression and the least errors. And that way you can probably quicker get a loyal audience, even if it’s smaller.

    On the other hand: If you have good reasons for blogging in English (such as wanting a larger share of international traffic), but your English is not that good you should probably try to ally yourself with someone whose English proficiency is better and have him/her read your posts for corrections before publishing. I know this advice is terribly banal but it’s hard for me to see any way around it …

    Guess that was more than my two-cents … :-)

  21. I’m from Ulyanovsk, Russia. 2 years ago I made webmaster’s blog in Russian to take part in SEO competition “Первый нах” (pervyi nah) ;) . After this competition I began to write to this blog posts about search engine optimization, blogging, content management system (very many information about WordPress) and how to earn money (basically in Russian segment of Internet – RUnet).

    Also I have English version of blog (seo73.net, I have created it recently), but I speak English not well. I hope that blogging will help me to improve my English :) .

  22. Like many other here, grammar is the main problem for me. English is my third language. I blog in both Swahili and English (my third is my mother tongue i.e. ethnic), so you will find some posts in English and others in Kiswahili, we call it Swanglish or Sheng.

  23. I blog on language learning, especially on Japanese. My natives are both English and Polish, but I’ve chosen Polish and treat it as a niche for myself – Polish, English and Japanese grammar, prounanciation etc.are quite different, so having second language to master the third is quite a burden to most of Poles. The niche is not that big but sometimes we participate in Blog Matsuri (otherwise called as Blog Festivals), we handle translations, blog about quirky and geeky stuff from Japan, touch upon general laguage acquisition. It’s hard to be consistent, because sometimes on twitter or plurk I feel like I really miss a lot of readership, but both me and my fellow bloggers (I work in a team of 5 people currently) agreed that’s only fair in building a self-brand.

  24. Hi!

    Even when I write in Spanish in my blogs, I can also read other written in English and German.

    I just think this is a great advantage over those who only read/write in English since, as you point out, the blogosphere is alive and well in all corners of the globe and not only in English speaking countries you can find very good ideas and people to follow and discuss with.

    Regarding your first question, I would add: What if the english blogosphere opens itself to, without doubts, also incredible good blogs and sites in other languages? I’m 100% sure it will develop even more and more…

    Regarding the second aspect: I don’t put much attention to that. It is normal, they probably cannot understand every word I write and it doesn’t mean at all I cannot socialize with others.

    Should perhaps the “big ones” contract translators (computer guided or persons as well) to see beyond their boundaries?!

    Greetings from a cuban in Berlin!

  25. This is a topic which is really rarely discussed. My blog which discuss internet marketing in tourism is the biggest Finnish B2B travel blog. It has helped my business enourmously and made me well know within my target group.

    For me writing my blog in Finnish is the only option because it would be even harder for my readers to understand new things about internet marketing, if I would write in English. Besides that they use usually Finnish when they make searches. Ranking in Finnish is also much easier than it would be in English.

    The biggest challenge which I have faced is the networking with other professionals around the world. That was until microblogging servicies came.

    Nowadays I use twitter/ilkkakauppinen for my international networking. When using it I don’t have worry so much about language or rewrite my long posts in English. I do twittering only in English also because in Finland, my target group (tourism professionals) haven’t started using it yet in large numbers. And even if they have, they will be able to understand.

    So ones again, it’s all about your target group and targets.

  26. Darren, Your post brings up a good point that many multi-lingual bloggers deals with. That is, which language to blog in.

    My native language is Polish, but I speak English. I have set up my blog mostly in Polish with some English components.

    I think if I blog in English, which I could do I would allow my blog to be open to a wider range of viewers. However, if I stick to my native language, not only do I feel more comfortable with writing in this language, but it is makes my blog more niche.

    My personal blog is mostly about children. I think on the English web there are a lot more blogs than on the Polish web about this.

    Therefore, if I have a site that is half way set up and my content is good, I think I will have more readers.

    However, the bottom line is, it is all about user experience and value I can provide to my readers. In my native language I feel I write the best. I feel more comfortable with the Polish language, even if my reach is not as large.

    Now something I learned from you, that is asking questions to invoke a response: Here is my question:
    What if you could speak another language well enough to blog in, how would you approach this? Would use use this ‘talent’?

  27. Hola Darren,

    My mother tongue is Spanish and is the language I feel comfortable with for blogging, and it’s simple why: it’s the language I feel comfortable to get a connection with my readers.

    My blog is about our experience as latin american immigrants to Canada. It started as small, very personal blog in Blogger back in 2004. In 2007 I noticed how the blog was becoming special and known in our community and how visitors from all over latinamerica and spain were arriving more frequently. So I decided to take a new step and go towards the self hosted wordpress blog, started pushing the subscribers count, used AdWords campaigns, started reading about SEO and using it and now I have a little monster with over 2600 posts, almost 1600 subscribers, and an average of 1000 visitors a day. If you take into account that I’m part of a very small niche (latinamerican/spanish speaking people immigrating to Canada) this is a very important accomplishment. I’m pretty sure I’m the leader on this niche. These are the good news.

    Now, what are the problems I’m facing. Let’s start with how to dimension my niche… Am I at the top of what I can do? Or can I continue make my blog grow? Is 1000 a day all the visitors I can expect for my niche?

    As you well said, the lack of networking. The niche is made by dozens of fellow bloggers that we can catalog as “immigrants with blogs”, opposite to what I consider myself and a couple of more guys: “bloggers writing about immigration” It’s a pain in the back and any initiative involving networking is a real problem because you must constantly educate and push the support of other bloggers in your niche. Everything cost twice the effort always. You can feel you are on your own most of the time.

    Other problem: the subject of the blog makes it be read by dozens of guys with low, basic computer skills and no real need/interest for buying on line, new technologies and whatever you think you can use to make money online. They do not use twitter, they use facebook but not sure how to take advantage of that. Monetization IS a problem, if it weren’t for AdSense it’s hard to say what else can you do to get an earning with your blog. And I’m lucky to have a cheque every other month!

    Readers have a very low response to initiatives. Example: I wrote a blog about the labour market in Canada, tips on how to look for a job, etc. A very nice 72 pages eBook, profesionally edited. With around 1500 to 1600 readers I was only able to sell less than 50 in the first month and believe me I’m pushing the sales, I’m using an affiliate program…

    There are many other problems around my blog, but I will stop for now. I’m sorry Darren this comment is getting longer than expected, but I was expecting you to open this door to us (the non-english bloggers) for a long time.

    I really thank you for the opportunity and if you want me to go further in any details just let me know.

    Chau, gracias!

  28. I’m a Malaysian and my native languange is Malay.

    I blog mostly in English as it’s difficult to monetize blogs in my native languange.

  29. Hello, it´s a interesting topic.
    I am a blogger writing in Spanish as native language, the automatic translators make the best effort but the result is very poor; I paid a professional translator who got a big problem with words from a specific context but with different uses in countries like Spain, Mexico, Peru or Argentina. So, to go to English public, it´s most difficult and some times, after too many questions form my translator, now I take care with that personal context words.

  30. Well, I am an Indian. My native tongue is certainly not English but I don’t have much problems blogging in English.

  31. Hi to all,

    This is a really interesting topic and I’m anxious to see, what the outcome of this will be.

    I’m a german blogger and the language I use, is german. This is, because I feel more comfortable to write in this language. But I also get visitors from non-german speaking countries. So I decided to offer a translation button, giving them the opportunity, to read my articles in their language and being able to start or join a conversation.

    In my oppinion, being a german blogger almost means, to be a “wannabe-blogger”. I agree with the statement, that you’re not taken as seriously as an english speeking blogger. That makes me a little bit upset, because we – the german speaking bloggers – are also able to provide good valuable content.

    I think, there are more non-english bloggers, that try to join an english speaking community than the other way around. Since I started blogging, I never saw an english comment on a german blog? Why?

    PS: Sorry, I’m much better in speaking in english than in writing…

  32. I’m moroccan (arab) but living in Spain and Spanish is almost my mother-tongue. I’m running a small network of blogs, exclusively in Spanish. It’s better in my POV due to a variety of reasons:
    – Spanish is spoken not only in Spain but in all South America countries (excepting Brazil).
    – The blogging culture is being expanded in the spanish web, but not like in other countries.
    – Blogging in English is fine, but only native english speaking countries readers are potential googlers you might get. The rest of readers with other native languages make their searches first in their native languages (a small percentage of them tries the search en English, mainly when they run out of relevant results in their mother-tongue).

    My impression is that there is less competitors in the blogging business and more readers.

  33. One of the challenges I encounter as an “English as a second language blogger” is that well, English is my second language.

    I live and work in the States, so for me, there wasn’t a question whether I should blog in Spanish or English. However, I will admit that I’m self-conscious of the fact that I may not dominate the English language from a writing stand point that well and that may come across in my blog post.

    As a result, I feel I have to work extra hard to ensure my post doesn’t have grammatical errors or funky sentences. We obviously don’t have the benefit of always letting people know English is not one’s first language, so I fear that readers will dismiss my thoughts, ideas or general blog post if the post doesn’t read well.


  34. I live in Berlin, Germany and grew up bilingual (Dutch and German) but have always also been around English speaking people. I blog in English because I want to reach a bigger audience and because I always liked writing in English much better than in any other language. Sure, I make mistakes but my blog is not about grammar, it’s about being an artist and a creative entrepreneur.

  35. I had same blogs in a few languages and found it boring. My lesson I’ve learnt is if I want to write blogs in a few languages, all blogs should have different topics.

  36. Hi there,

    My name is Antonio and I publish my daily articles about Travelling and Life in Madrid, a city in Spain (if you wanna check it, URL is http://www.antoniotajuelo.com or you can click on the link in my name).

    However, from some weeks to now I have been thinking about a language switch for the blog. The city of Madrid receives thousands of visitors yearly and they may be interested in my posts, as they can learn about the city before they get here.

    I’m looking forward to read some advice in this topic. I’m really wondering what to do in the future!

  37. That’s really interesting! So, my native tongue is german and there 4 Website/Blogs I’m writing for more or less common. My posterous Account and one recently revitalized Weblog contains English language content only.

    My own recently fresh started Weblog and another Blog, where I’m blogging as a guest author, are in German language.

    Sure, to write in your native tongue is more easy, but I’m rising the challenge: blogging in english could improve my skills.

  38. Hi Darren,

    Well, you nailed it my friend, this is an interesting topic, to tell you the truth, non English bloggers are in another world, not only we are seen as inferior bloggers, we are in fact inferior, because it´s extremely difficult to get an audience for other languages.

    One of your recomendations to increase traffic is commenting on other blogs, thing is, using problogger as an example, i comment here ocasionally, not for the link, but because i feel that i may have something to say, but there is no point, people checking my blog see that is in Portuguese and they close it right away.

    Then we got guest posting, again using problogger as an example, it would be almost useless for me to write a guest post for you, people will actually visit my blog, but only once, i will never convert those visitors on readers.

    And for the record, the auto translation gadgets (anyone of them) “sucks”, you can get the idea, but the post never appears properly.

    Even though Portuguese is one of the three most spoken languages worldwide (taking out Chinese and Hindi, most spoken locally) it´s extremely difficult to get an audience, and you want to know why? Because people tend to search for information on English sites.

    Anyway, thaks for bringing this one up, most of the time we feel forgotten, maybe you can connect with a non English sucessful blogger (if any) to share his experiences with us.

    Thanks Darren.

  39. The question whether I should write in English or not was the one I asked myself when starting my blog. I live in Poland and Polish is my first language. Anyway my blog is devoted to the English Language – I describe its peculiarities; i.e. interesting facts and different linguistic issues bringing problems for those ones not fluent in English. I face two dilemmas: wiritng in Polish helps me to reach the Polish readership and the blog run in English could be hard to understand. On the other hand, the blog in English could attract a lot of “foreigners”. Actually, all my readers visit my blog to learn something new about English. What is your point of view? Would a blog about English attract English-speaking people?
    Darren, your entry forced me to think about it again. Maybe I should carry out a poll…

  40. hey darren great idea man,

    I am from colombia, I speak spanish for fluently than english, but I lost the grammar skill living in america.

    I would love to start a blog in spanish about social media and blogging, but I just don’t want to put to much pressure over my shoulders right now because I have been blogging for 16 days and today I am buying the 31 day challenge book.

    So I think you should blog in whatever language you feel more comfortable with. But as we know english is one of the universal languages I think anywhere in the world they are teaching english so have a better chance of reaching more readers.

  41. When I started blogging 6 years ago, I chose to blog in English instead of my native tongue Swedish, simply because the local audience was very small and it was easier to find likeminded people across the globe that way.

    The disadvantages, besides the more obvious that it takes a lot longer to blog in a second language, is that it gets confusing for Swedish readers. Should they comment in English when they know I’m Swedish, or in English so that all readers understand. Also, when people rank influence among Swedish blogs, I’m always at a disadvantage since I rarely get to count incoming links from international blogs, for example. Local ranking lists almost always use local ranking metrics.

    The advantage of writing in English is that I get a lot of international readers who are interested in the Scandinavian markets, but don’t know the language.

    In spite of these challenges, I’ve managed to be ranked in the Ad Age Power 150 and is currently #23 in Invesp Corp’s Top 100 PR blogs.

    Eventually, I found the need to blog in Swedish too big, so I started a Swedish blog as well.

  42. Very good topic since I wondered about that two months ago. I finally decided to start my new business blog in French. So far so good, I think only the long run can tell if it was the right decision or not.

    One big advantage though: I can write about topics that are very common on English-speaking blogs but not on French blogs so my readers and I don’t have the feeling that “someone else has already talked about that”.

  43. Hi there Darren

    It’s funny you bring up this topic just when I am trying to figure out how to translate into Spanish some lines in my wordpress template. I think one of the biggest challenges for bloggers out there is finding plugins and other tools that are well written in languages other than English. I recently installed a Disqus plugin for wordpress and even though they said it was completely translated into Spanish, it turned out that there were a couple of small details that are totally static and almost impossible to translate, a complete pain in the butt, especially if most of your readers don’t speak English. It is definitely one problem you guys never encountered, that’s for sure :)

    Keep up the wonderful work and good posts! Greetings from Bogotá, Colombia in South America.

  44. Buena idea esta entrada. Yo puedo escribir un poco en ingles pero muy poco, siempre tengo que estar utilizando traductores on line que traducen muy mal y entonces tengo que tener mucho cuidado de no escribir un disparate, ja, ja, ja. A veces no escribo nada porque lo que quiero decir es muy complicado, no es una frase sencilla, asi que desisto.

    Y tengo la sensacion de que estoy perdiendo oportunidades.

    Pero he de decir que visitando blogs de habla inglesa yo estoy aprendiendo mucho.

    Lo ideal seria que hubiera una herramienta tecnologica que cuando posteas un comentario en un blog se tradujera solo y con la frase exacta, asi todos nos podriamos comunicar mejor en la red. Y todos nos atreveriamos a poner mas comentarios, o sea a interrelacionarnos mas ¿por que aun no lo ha inventado nadie?

  45. English is not my first language, but I started blogging in it because I felt the potential audience would be much greater.

    Looking back I believe it was the smartest choice.

    Blogging in a local language can work for certain niches, but overall I believe that the English web is much more developed, so it is easier to build and audience and monetize it.

  46. Hi Darren,
    I live in Italy and blog in italian language. In my blog I speak about lean thinking, continuous improvement of the business in the organisations with creating more value for the customers, less waste and continuous learning by the people living and working in the organisations.
    My blog is basically visited by italian (local) visitors but also by some english speaking ones (most of them coming through twitter interactions) and for them (and also for other non italian speaking readers) I have provided the Google Translate feature which helps in the task. It is not very accurate but gives the idea to these readers about the articles and the meaning and I receive also comments in english to which I answer in english too.
    Even though I’m quite fluent in english (most of my reading is in english) I don’t have time to write a blog in english because I have a daytime job and blog only in the evening and I know I lose a big part of the potential readership this way but have no possibility of changing this for the moment.
    What keeps me going is my passion and the passion I transmit to my readers which use lot of advices and them and improve their daily work activities. And I think this passion will never dissapear.

  47. Hi Darren,
    I’m Indonesian, and my native language is Indonesian. I have this dilemma too. What I’m doing is try to provide a special category using English, which is translated from my original blogpost which is in Indonesian…:-)

  48. I launch my English language blog recently, I wanna improve my English and make money :)

  49. My first language is Dutch but from the start I blogged in English. Not that I find it easy to write in English (especially making it flow is hard) but I also would have found it difficult in Dutch.

    I am no writer but I love to express how I see things, I love finding the right words for what I mean to say. And in a way that is not more difficult in English than in Dutch for me. In a certain way it is even easier because it makes me think about words and their essential meaning which I really like.

    And besides that, it makes interacting with other bloggers more easy. Not that it is easy already, but I notice that is going better too the more I do that.

  50. I am indonesian blogger and start to blog in english since 9 month ago. My biggest problem is the grammar, and my biggest benefit is i get decent earning from it. So, i suggest indonesian blogger to create an english blog.

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