The Hispanic online market is growing faster than expected. There are 23 million Hispanics online and 51% of them want to be offered a Spanish website. Research shows that 23% of the Hispanics market online must have Spanish websites because their English comprehension is at the basic level. Another recent study indicates that 28% of the online Hispanics trust companies who have Spanish websites. The fact is that an English website does not serve the Hispanic market completely; there are at least 7.1 million online Hispanics that are unable to use an English website.
Most businesses who cater to the Hispanic market understand the need for a Spanish website. The biggest dilemma is how it should be incorporated into the existing online site. A large percentage of Hispanic consumers want a separate website that includes all the English information, so they can compare both sites and analyze the information. There are other Hispanic consumers that visit the Spanish site then visit the English site to learn English if the format is the same. They use the Spanish as a guide to learned English by the word and sentence.
Choosing between a Spanish Version of the Site or a Spanish Site with its Own Identity
In order to build confidence in the Hispanic market, the Spanish website should have the nuances and graphics of a Spanish website and also maintain the integrity of the English website. Some business websites use <www.yoursite.com> and <www.yoursite.com/spanish> for the address of the Spanish website (a folder within the same site), and this can be an effective approach if the company wants to leverage on the brand name, streamline IT costs, and increase SEO rankings of the same URL. On the other hand, if the Spanish website is set to have its own identity and address and the reasons to have it separately outweighs the reasons to have it integrated as a different language version of the same site, then a web address in Spanish like this <www.su-sitio.com> can be a good call. As long as the main user of that site is a non-English speaking Hispanic and is more comfortable buying or using the service or product when it appears to be focused completely in Spanish.
The best way to approach this website issue is to remember that when speaking in English one segment of the brain is used and when Spanish is spoken, another area of the brain is used. It’s the same brain but the thoughts are expressed differently. The brain uses two different areas to express bilingual thoughts. The research shows that websites should do the same thing. It is the same business that is offering the same product or service, but the consumer uses different areas of the brain to comprehend the information. Non-speaking Hispanic have a difficult time understanding English graphics because their brains don’t understand the information and a sense of mistrust develops within the consumer. The Hispanic consumer loses focus and interest unless there’s a clear objective of learning the English language which in this case the benefits sought can outweigh the struggle.
The purpose of the Spanish website is to attract the Spanish-reliant and bilingual Hispanic consumer that either does not use the English site or prefers Spanish, and that’s a very big number. Even though it may be more expensive initially to build separate websites and link them, the research shows that they will produce more traffic, because they are customer and product specific and more comfortable to use.
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