Blogging │ Which language should one use?

29 December 2009


This post was originally uploaded when this site was hosted on Blogger.

This blog is not primarily aimed at making money. It’s a personal blog, that has different articles on different genres and issues. But there are many people who want to use blogging as a means of making money, if some of the questions posted at various forums were taken as a proof. As I have mentioned before, in a post titled Blogging │ Don’t expect to make (much) money ..., bloggers shouldn’t really expect to make huge amounts of money. If you, however, persist in chasing this dream (or mirage), then I would like to share some thoughts on how best to do so.

In this post, I would like to ponder what should be the correct strategy on the language of your blog, if you want to attain a certain level of visitor numbers, and make some money. I see many people who write in English, which may or may not be their native tongue. There is a sound reason for choosing to write in English. Some English-speaking countries are big and prosperous, therefore there are many potential customers and more advertisers, and there are so many people who speak and understand English as their second or third language. The market is huge. For that reason, it would seem make sense to concentrate on creating content in English, and target this huge audience.

I wonder if writing in English and catering for English-speaking audience is a correct or sensible strategy to pursue. The market is huge, but the competition is also extremely intense. There are many people who may have similar ideas, and write on similar topics, who are trying to get their share of the vast cake. Unless you could crack into a very good position on search engine results, or engage in some nefarious activities, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to pull in the numbers. If English is not your mother tongue, then you’re competing with others who are born and bred with the language, and this is a disadvantage.

It seems more sensible and profitable to write articles in a language other than English, and preferably a language you feel the most comfortable with writing. The number of speakers of that language may be small or not terribly rich, but it’s much easier to break into the top than it would be the case with English.

Take this blog as example, it’s highly unlikely that this post will make anywhere near the top of search engine results. This is true for most of my posts in English. However, when it comes to Japanese, it is a different matter. Even though some topics are obscure, but Japanese is no way a minor language, I have a few articles that will crop up quite high in the search results, and receive a fair number of visitors.

Naturally there are other things such as the topic and niche that people have to think about, but as long as language remains the main way to communicate and convince people, you need to be able to write well. Over time, I believe that the quality of the prose will determine whether a blog can attract visitors and advertisers.