Neglecting non-English speakers, who form a significant portion of internet users, can hinder growth. Expanding beyond English-only content is essential for maximizing sales potential. Multilingual WordPress websites offer enhanced user experience, better SEO, and increased conversions. To create one, appropriately choosing a suitable multilingual plugin, deciding on a domain strategy, localizing content, implementing user-friendly language-switching options, and adjusting design elements are crucial steps. In this blog post, you will learn how to embrace a multilingual approach so that your online presence breaks linguistic barriers.
“Our customers speak English, so we don’t get into the hassle of using other languages for our website and marketing efforts.” If this is the opinion that you hold, you are losing out on enormous sales potential for your goods or services.
Not convinced yet? Check the numbers below!
Only 25% of internet users are native English speakers.
60% of the shoppers like browsing in their native language.
75% of Internet users only make purchase decisions if the product description is in a language they understand.
Despite the immense potential that multilingual websites have, only 5% of websites are multilingual, offering a significant competitive advantage.
The statistics above highlight the importance of opting for a multilingual approach for your website to reach a wider audience. In this post, we will look at the importance of having a multilingual WordPress website, how to create one, and the best practices to tackle the challenges that might come in the process.
Table of Content
Exploring the benefits of a multilingual WordPress websites
Creating a multilingual WordPress website yields numerous advantages, including:
Enhanced user experience
Adapting your website's content and user interface to align with the native languages and cultural preferences of your target audience can have a profound impact on enhancing user experience. This enhancement goes beyond mere translation; it encompasses the design of a user interface that seamlessly adjusts to diverse languages and cultures, adhering to the principles of localization, flexibility, and consistency.
To delve into the concept of user interface language, it's essential to explore the intricacies of creating an interface that effortlessly accommodates various languages and cultural contexts. This involves employing industry best practices and specialized localization tools to ensure that the interface remains intuitive and user-friendly, regardless of the user's background.
Improved SEO performance and visibility
You can proactively attract a wider global audience by offering your WordPress website content in multiple languages. Let’s understand this with an example. When you have a website in English and German, irrespective of whether you have separate domains like website.com and website.de or use subdomains like website.com/en and website.com/de, Google will register both as part of the same website. As a result, whenever a user initiates a search in any of these languages and subsequently visits your website, the organic visibility and traffic of your site will experience a significant boost. In addition, multilingual SEO benefits arise from translating your site, enabling easier targeting of keywords in different languages and expanding your online presence. This strategic approach caters to diverse audiences and enhances overall visibility and impact.
Increased conversion rates
When users can access content and navigate a website in their preferred language, they are more likely to engage with your offerings and convert into customers. Multilingual WordPress websites can lead to higher conversion rates as users are more comfortable making purchasing decisions when they can view the content in their native language. It is mainly because they feel at ease if they comprehend what they’re paying for.
Boost in social sharing and engagement
Users who comprehend what is on your website are more likely to engage with it and share it with their network. This can lead to increased social media engagement and broader online visibility.
How to build a multilingual WordPress website?
Now that we understand the importance of building a multilingual WordPress website for your business, let’s look at the process of developing one.
Choose your domain strategy
As discussed earlier, a multilingual website can be built in two ways: creating a subdomain or creating entirely different domains to host multiple language websites of your main website. Both strategies have their pros and cons. For example, the subdomain approach is cheaper but might lead to broken links. Having a separate domain might be faster but includes additional expenses. Therefore, weighing your options according to your business goals is vital.
Choose the right multilingual plugin
Selecting a suitable multilingual plugin is crucial for managing content in multiple languages. Weglot, GlobalLink, Smartling, etc. are plugin options that enable you to create and manage translated versions of your content. You can select the one that aligns with your website’s needs and provides reliable support.
Localize your content
Localization goes beyond simply translating word to word. It is about suiting the cultural nuances and preferences of different regions or languages, considering factors like idioms, local references, and even imagery. For instance, consider a software company expanding its services to France. A basic translation would convert English text into French, but a localized approach would delve deeper. The company can craft content using French expressions and idioms, aligning with the language's natural cadence. Further, they could meticulously adapt technical terms to resonate with the French tech community.
Create a language-switching option
Make it effortless for users to switch between languages. Implement a user-friendly language-switching mechanism, such as a prominent language-switcher widget or dropdown menu. This allows visitors to easily navigate and access content in their preferred language, enhancing user satisfaction and engagement.
Tweak website design based on chosen language
Some languages, like Chinese or Korean, are more concise than others, as they are written in characters. On the contrary, some languages are more wordy, like Hindi or German, for instance, and take up 30% more space when compared with English sentences. Therefore, adjusting the visual elements and layouts according to the chosen language can enhance the look of the website alongside providing a more immersive experience to the user.
Manage SEO for different language websites
Language-specific optimization approaches must be used for efficient SEO strategy deployment. Use specialized research tools to identify linguistic and regional search patterns and keywords that are searched for in other languages. Understand the modifications of meta tags, URLs, and sitemaps to match each desired locale. Use attentive analytics monitoring to evaluate performance and continuously adjust techniques, increasing search engine visibility and user interaction across various geographical contexts.
Factors to consider while creating a multilingual WordPress website
We discussed how to build a multilingual WordPress website above. Now, let’s look at some points to consider while doing so.
Choose a reliable method of translation
It is only partially true that installing a plugin will automatically translate the text on a website into another language. Plugins can be used for a literal translation; but for more accurate results, it is always better to evaluate other translation methods, such as manual translation, so that the original intent stays intact.
Keep cultural differences in mind
Cultural sensitivity is paramount when catering to diverse audiences. Research and understand each target audience's cultural norms, preferences, and taboos. Adapt your content and imagery to resonate with local sensibilities, helping you avoid unintentional misunderstandings or offense.
For instance, when Airbnb expanded into the Chinese market, it didn't just translate its existing website into Mandarin. Instead, it considered cultural nuances, preferences, and user behaviors unique to China. Airbnb chose a Chinese brand name, "Aibiying," which roughly translates to "welcome each other with love," capturing the essence of hospitality and sharing.
Choose the languages wisely
Select languages for your multilingual WordPress website based on a thorough research of your target audience's preferences, geographic locations, and cultural relevance. Prioritize languages that align with your business goals and have a significant user base while considering localization resources, technical feasibility, and long-term sustainability. Keep an eye on emerging markets and involve user input to ensure a strategic language selection that fosters engagement and resonates with diverse audiences.
Overcoming challenges in multilingual website development
While developing a multilingual WordPress website, you might be faced with certain challenges. Let’s look at some of them along with the possible solutions.
Elevating translation quality and accuracy
One of the challenges in developing a multilingual website is ensuring that translations are of high quality and accuracy.
It’s crucial to have expert translators to render your WordPress website into multiple languages. However, hiring in-house translators can be an expensive affair. Therefore, professional translation services can be sought. Such service providers employ native speakers who understand the language and cultural nuances in-depth. Their expertise ensures that your content resonates appropriately with the target audience. Regular review processes and quality assurance checks can further enhance translation accuracy, maintaining the integrity of your message.
Ensuring consistency in brand messaging
Another challenge is maintaining consistent brand messaging across different languages.
To tackle this issue, create comprehensive style guides and glossaries. These documents outline your brand's voice, tone, and specific terminology. Using a content management system (CMS), you can centrally manage all translations, ensuring that any website updates that happen are applied consistently across all language versions. Regular communication with translators is essential to clarify any uncertainties and provide the correct interpretation of your brand's messaging.
Enabling multilingual support
Providing practical and seamless multilingual chat support is another significant problem.
Utilize multilingual chat software that supports various languages. Implement automated language detection or provide an intuitive language-selection option. Train chat agents proficient in different languages to offer efficient support.
For a comprehensive and effective solution to these challenges, consider partnering with a reputable WordPress development company or hiring WordPress developers with multilingual website development expertise. Their proficiency can help you navigate these challenges and create a successful multilingual web presence.
In a world of interconnectedness, confining your website and marketing efforts to English would curtail your reach and growth. You can tap into several new opportunities by leveraging a multilingual strategy through the WordPress website. This approach enhances the user experience, boosts SEO impact, and fosters trust, credibility, and heightened conversion rates. While the challenges of multilingual website development require careful consideration, hiring WordPress developers or partnering with a professional WordPress development company can navigate these challenges, resulting in a dynamic online presence that transcends linguistic and cultural barriers.
Amelia Swank is a senior web and app developer with over 8 years of experience. Currently with SunTec India, she specializes in the domain of digital solutions, specifically WordPress development, Shopify development, Magento development. Her passion for technology fuels her writing, aimed at spreading insights to all. Amelia closely follows the latest IT advances to share her expertise with those interested in the field.