Definitive guide

How to easily make a multilingual website

How To Make A Website Multilingual—Easy Guide 2022

Did you ever ask yourself the question “How to make a website multilingual?” If you did, and you still don’t know the answer then this article is for you.

We all want to reach more audiences so the idea of creating a website that is multilingual surely crossed your mind already at some point. But since you still don’t know how to make it, then you will disregard the idea.

Now that we have this article for you, you don’t have to disregard the idea anymore and make it come true to life with our help. We’ll make sure that this will be easy to follow and you can definitely do it.

Why create a multilingual website?

Let us first discuss the reason we want to make a website that is multilingual other than the reason that we want to reach more audiences.

Ideally, clients from all around the world may now access your website. The creation of a website in two or more languages is often justified, too.

Your website should evolve at the same rate as globalization and cross-border e-commerce. A multilingual website has the power to change your business completely and will become more and more crucial from a competitive standpoint.

Here we will give you 7 reasons a multilingual website will greatly benefit your business.

1. More audience exposure

A multilingual website will foremost, enable you to reach out to and engage a far larger audience.

Your business concept will be accessible to previously untapped client segments if you provide many language alternatives, which will boost your profits and sales.

2. Increasing conversion rates and reducing bounce rates

If your website is bilingual, visitors from other countries are less likely to leave right away when they learn it doesn’t support their language.

Going multilingual will decrease your bounce rate, but it will have the opposite impact on your conversion rate, which will increase because of customers feel more sure that they completely grasp every stage of the purchase process.

3. Setting up a competitive advantage

In order to increase cross-border e-commerce sales, which might be crucial as we transition to a more e-commerce-focused retail environment, a multi-language website can help you achieve just that.

4. Search engine optimization for international markets

The secret is to optimize your entire website for foreign SEO by having it indexed on search engine results pages (SERPs) and having the content of your site translated. This involves getting all of your website’s information slated. Having distinct URLs with language-specific sub-domains or subdirectories is also required. 

After completing all of this, it will set your website up such that search engine bots can simply read it, giving you a higher rating on the result pages.

5. Customer focus

If you can offer high-quality information in the language that your website visitors speak, they will automatically feel appreciated and acknowledged, especially if this is not the standard among your rivals. Increased business success will follow from the attitude of gratitude and welcome they exhibit.

6. Affordable marketing

Today, a company’s website frequently serves as the main hub of its marketing campaign. The fact that your website is actually a pretty effective way to sell your service, both in terms of cost and reach, is even more crucial to highlight.

Therefore, when contemplating your foreign marketing plan, having a bilingual website also makes sense.

7. Enhancing brand perception

Businesses today must adapt in every manner possible to wow clients, and ‌a multilingual website is a big flex.

A multilingual website demonstrates that you are operating a worldwide company, which shows intricacy, sophistication, and elaborateness. Customers will link your company with quality and professionalism because of these factors.

how to make a website multilingual

How to make a website multilingual?

Do you feel prepared to explore the multilingual market? Use this guide as a starting point.

1. Set your growth objectives

The first step is to select which languages will be available on your website. Your regional appetite (and audience), money, and resources will all influence your decision.

To be successful online and update the site regularly, you’ll need mother-tongue speakers on your team, which may be difficult to find—especially in our English-centric society, where every other ad shouts “Improve English online” and no one pays much attention to local languages.

2. Select your domain approach

We may build a multilingual website in one of two ways: as a sub-domain or as a distinct domain. That means you may have a single website domain with other-language linked pages, or you can host the multilingual versions of your content on separate domains.

Both techniques have benefits and drawbacks. The sub-domain option is less expensive since you won’t have to pay for hundreds of URLs and domains, but it comes with a considerably larger chance of broken links. A distinct domain method is quicker to set up and less hazardous in terms of bugs, but it is significantly more expensive.

3. Select the appropriate software

The next step is to select a CMS—a content management system that will assist you in creating and managing digital material for your multilingual or bilingual website.

WordPress and Joomla are two popular CMSs. Both are self-hosted, open-source CMSs that have been in use for over a decade.

But, when it comes to creating multilingual sites, the key difference is that Joomla offers built-in multilingual possibilities, but WordPress requires the installation of a plugin. You should ensure that your content management software meets both your multilingual requirements and your budget.

4. Select a plugin

If you select a CMS that requires a plugin for multilingual content, you must select another CMS tool before proceeding. Fortunately, there are other alternatives. WPML, Polylang, and Weglot are the most popular.

Whatever route you take, be in mind that some CMS products are only compatible with WordPress.

5. Translate

The most common myth about creating a multilingual website is that downloading a plugin would automatically translate all the materials for you—this is only partially correct.

Use manual translation tools and services sparingly. Have your work translated or at the very least verified by a human. Hiring a group of freelance translators is the best option, even if it’s not the most workable. Human translators can assess language from an emotional and contextual standpoint, resulting in a more accurate translation of your work.

6. Select a location for a language option menu

A neatly positioned drop-down menu is one of the most trendy and efficient methods to provide language selection options.

These menus are often found in the top-right corner of the homepage. Users will immediately gaze there since it is the most globally known and apparent location for them.

Alternatively, depending on the design and your own tastes, you may simply include a list of languages to pick from in your website’s header, footer, or sidebar.

7. Create a language selection menu

After you’ve decided on a location for your menu, you can start planning its design.

First, you must identify all the languages that you want to provide your consumers. Then think about how you’ll list them on the menu and what sequence you’ll put them in.

Because they might speak the same language in multiple nations (for example, French in Canada or Spanish in Mexico), using flags in a language option menu may cause some people to become confused.

8. Optimize

With SEO, bilingual and multilingual websites require special care. A correct structure, language tags, and schema hacks for many locations will bring you the most search engine hits.

9. Examine your typography

Typography is an important aspect that is easy to overlook while you’re engaged with the design. This includes the font and layout you’ll be using in your article.

Always verify your material for readability in all the languages that you offer to your consumers. Besides readability, double-check the format and alignment of your multilingual content.

10. Localize

A multilingual website is more than just accurately translating the text. When developing a multilingual e-commerce website, keep in mind currency fluctuations and marketing sensitivities in different regions.

Localizing a website entails correctly translating a language as they spoke it in various countries. Even though a language is spoken all across the world, distinct dialects exist depending on where you are.

Users expect to be greeted warmly on your website; otherwise, they will leave as soon as they enter. As a result, getting the language right and localizing for each nation will reduce your bounce rate and boost your SEO.

Mistakes to avoid when making a multilingual website

1. Using Google Translate only

It can be useful, but the worst thing you can do when translating your website is copy and paste entire pages of text into Google Translate and back again.

Yes, it is quick, simple, and handy – but it is not always correct.

We’re not saying never use it; we’re simply saying don’t rely on it for all of your translations. Use it to double-check vocabulary and brief sentences, or just as a handy reference.

2. There are too many duplicate pages in your menu bar

You don’t want to see a menu bar with three separate home pages in three different languages. Three copies of every single page will clog your menu bar and significantly reduce the user experience for your visitors.

This is where having a language switcher, where you have separate versions of your site in different languages, comes in handy – it allows for a lot more seamless user experience.

3. Use of non-international fonts

It’s easy to overlook, so make sure you use a typeface that supports special characters. Accents in French can completely affect the meaning and pronunciation of a word, thus they must be included and correctly spoken.

4. Incorporating culturally insensitive images or words

This is especially true if you’re using old stock photographs, where cultural prejudices might rear their ugly heads. Make sure the visuals you use are inclusive and represent the individuals for whom you are writing.

The same is true for your language and vocabulary. Think before you speak (or write), especially if you’re writing for an international or varied audience!

5. Incorrect date and time

If you display the dates of blog entries on your site, do you structure them as day-month-year or month-day-year? This is a modest, easy item that can generate infinite misunderstanding, even among Americans and English.

Conclusion

Creating a multilingual website is not always as simple as we would want, but there are methods for making your website’s content bilingual.

To give your users the greatest multilingual experience possible, you must manage numerous tools and analyze a large amount of data. However, if you take your time, have patience, and persevere, your new multilingual website will pay off.

FAQ

Aren’t website builders negative for SEO?

The misconception that “website builders are bad for SEO” has been around for a long time. It has some truth to it, as do many myths: when website builders were new, many of them had poor SEO functionality.

However, times have changed. A Wix site may easily rank in the top spots for Google these days, as long as the site owner understands what they’re doing.

Can I make a multilingual website for free?

Technically, yeah! Both Wix and Weebly provide free options with no time limit and no hidden fees. However, we do not advocate constructing your site for free. Your website will not appear professional, you will have advertisements on it, and the functions will be limited. Avoid staying on the free plan for any longer than necessary.

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Ralph de Groot – My Codeless Website

My name is Ralph de Groot. I'm the founder and author at My Codeless Website. Wake me up for a great web design. I love writing about website examples, too!

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