A guide to creating a good website in Spanish

A website in Spanish should have similar elements to any good English website that you know. Apart from the language, there are not many differences between a website in Spanish and a website in any other language. Here I will give you some crucial factors that you have to take into consideration to create your Spanish website. But click on the next link if you have come here to find Spanish websites to read in Spanish and practice your reading skills.

Here you will find:

Now, let’s see the basic factors a Spanish website should have.

  1. Good user experience
  2. Good mobile user experience
  3. Give real value
  4. Offer information about website’s owner
  5. Try to get good rankings in search engines
  6. A design that achieves the objective you have

As you see, this is not very different to any other website in any other language. But I guess you came here wondering about the particularities and not about the things you already know, so let’s take a look at them:

Spanish is one language with many different dialects

If you listen to a Mexican and an Argentinian speaking, you will notice the differences very soon. No native speakers would usually wonder whether it’s ok to hire someone from Venezuela to create a website targeting Spain. As things are now, Venezuelan labor cost is much cheaper than Spain, so doing that can save you a lot of money. But is it a good idea? Well, you have to think about whether your site is targeting an international audience or a specific one.

The Internet, or rather search engines, are becoming more and more local, so if your website is targeting a specific country, hire a copywriter from that country, period. Now, if you are targeting an international audience speaking Spanish, you just need a writer that is able to write high quality texts. The more formal the Spanish is, the less differences are between one region and the others. But there will still be differences. These differences may be very important for your business.

For example, Spanish countries from America use carro to mean car, while in Spain carro is a wheel and car is coche. If you use carro as a keyword, you can be sure that you won’t have a single visit from Spain, apart from those searching for a wheel. These differences can occur also between countries within Latin America. It is a common mistaken belief that all the countries in the American continent speak the same Spanish, but that is not true.

When it comes to a Spaniard audience, they are used to seeing websites in Spanish from Spain. Only websites about gambling, binary options and other money-making “techniques” usually have American Spanish. Of course, for most readers, the credibility of these websites is doubtful, so do you really want to be linked with them? I don’t think so.

If your company is based in Latin America, Spaniards will understand that you are talking in your native accent and this won’t be a problem. Latin American Spanish sounds nice for Spaniards, but it is when it is a translation or a site that comes from a non-native speaking country, that it starts to sound cheap.

So, if you are going to create a website in Spanish, you have to adapt it to the local Spanish you are targeting.

Do not translate directly from English website sections for your Spanish website

Any English website will have these sections: Home – Blog – About us – Terms and Conditions

Your Spanish website can have a blog section because that is the word Spanish speakers also use, but it can’t have a “Casa” for home, because it is confusing. In Spanish, the home page is called Inicio and there is no other word for it if you want visitors to understand where that link will lead them. The ‘about us; section is usually called ‘Quiénes somos’, but the English influence has led many sites to use ‘sobre nosotros’. It is usually easy to know that a website is forging when it uses sobre nosotros, but is not as big a problem as casa would be. The same happens with terms and conditions; if you want to sound natural in Spanish, you should call it ‘aviso legal’, but more and more websites are using ‘términos y condiciones’ due to translators being lazy, and it has become more accepted.

So, when you write for your Spanish website, do not think in English, think in Spanish.

However, you can keep your brand names in English

All Spanish speakers are used to seeing brand names in English and there are many words that sound cooler in English than in Spanish. Just ask the children and they will want to be a cowboy, while nobody wants to be a vaquero. Why? Just marketing, but marketing is what most websites are about. There are exceptions of course. However, it is always best to ask a native about brand or product names. If you don’t ask, you may end launching a product like Nissan Moco that means Nissan Snot or Mitsubishi Pajero (pajero in Spanish means person that jerks off).

Spanish is usually longer; accept it

Most copywriting manuals and articles with dos and don’ts were written by English writers talking about writing in English. It is true that shorter sentences are usually better, but when it comes to Spanish, a text with short sentences is really boring. Spanish readers are used to reading long sentences. Even when it is best to be more specific and concise, you don’t need to worry if you see some long sentences because, as long as the vocabulary is not complex, it will be easy to read.

Passive voice is not natural…most of the time

If when you are translating your website from English to Spanish you see the same passive voice sentences in Spanish as the ones you had in the English version, this may be cause for concern. Natural Spanish usually uses reflexive forms of the verb when the passive is used in English.

If your website targets Spain, it is better to identify yourself

Spain is part of the European Union, and lately the Internet laws require companies to identify themselves in their websites. This mean that, when you decide to write your ‘about us’ – ‘quiénes somos’ – sections, it is not enough to say “We are passionate team about blah, blah and we base our website on honesty, transparency and value”.

If you want to look like a serious company, you have to give your company name and your real address on your Spanish website. Actually, Spanish companies usually also inform about their tax number and phone number.

By the way, even when in the school they taught you usted is used for formal speech, nowadays even banks in Spain are using tú in order to look more friendly. So if you want European Spanish, choose tú no matter your topic.

I am a freelance copywriter from Spain