The Beginner’s Guide to Turning Your WordPress Website Multilingual
PUBLISHED:August 15, 2023
UPDATED:August 16, 2023
In the year 2023, according to Statista's report, approximately 58.8% of the world's most frequently visited websites were in the English language. This fact is intriguing, considering that English speakers constitute only 1.35 billion of the global population. One might wonder about the remaining 6.45 billion people and their linguistic preferences.
If your aim is to expand your customer base on a global scale and create a website that appeals to diverse audiences, this article is tailor-made for you. Today, we will delve into the strategies and benefits of developing a multilingual WordPress website that can significantly enhance your traffic, boost sales, and attract a larger following from different corners of the world.
So let’s get started!
Can WordPress Be Multilingual?
Yes, you can make WordPress sites multilingual. There are WordPress multilingual plugins that you can use to create multilingual websites, and language professionals can help you make your website more engaging to your target audience. Besides plugins and language professionals, you can also use online translation tools to create a multilingual WordPress site.
What are the advantages of having a translation company work on your WordPress site?
During my research on this subject, I had the privilege of engaging in a conversation with Mitesh Chandrakant Thakur, the Tech Localization Manager at Tomedes—a company renowned for its exceptional translation services, interpreting expertise, and top-notch localization solutions catering to businesses and Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Our discussion shed light on the numerous benefits of venturing into the creation of a multilingual WordPress site, strategically tailored to thrive in the international market.
To achieve a truly effective multilingual website, the assistance of seasoned multilingual WordPress experts is crucial. Collaborating with proficient professionals, such as a reputable translation company and an experienced multilingual web developer, ensures that the translated content matches the quality and essence of your original site.
Now, let’s explore the compelling reasons why you should seriously consider translating your website and embarking on crafting a multilingual WordPress site. This move can place you ahead of your competitors. By embracing this approach, you’ll open new avenues of growth and opportunity, connecting with diverse audiences worldwide and establishing a stronger global presence.
Undoubtedly, one of the primary advantages of translating your website is the ability to attract and convert new customers from diverse linguistic backgrounds. When you take the step to convert your content into various languages, you effortlessly open the doors to non-English speakers and limited-English speakers, enabling them to comprehend and engage with your website’s offerings. The inclusivity and accessibility provided by a multilingual website can lead to a significant expansion of your customer base and drive conversion rates to new heights.
An Edge on Competition
According to a study conducted by Flow, a remarkable 62% of online shoppers have expressed a strong preference for accessing websites in their native language. Additionally, an impressive 67% of these shoppers favour product descriptions presented in their mother tongue. By transforming your WordPress website into a multilingual platform, you gain a significant advantage over your competitors. Notably, not all businesses within your niche will invest the effort required to create multilingual sites, as it demands considerable dedication and work. Thus, by willingly undertaking this endeavour, you position yourself several steps ahead of your rivals. This strategic move allows you to cater effectively to a broader audience and provides a compelling edge to attract and retain more customers, ultimately propelling your business to success.
More Solid Leads
Embracing a multilingual website inevitably leads to an influx of higher-quality leads. When users encounter content in their own language, their certainty about your offerings increases significantly. As these users transform into leads, their confidence in your products and services grows even further. The risk of misunderstandings or misconceptions about what you provide diminishes considerably when your content is presented in their native tongue. This enhanced clarity and communication foster a strong connection with your audience, culminating in a pool of well-informed and engaged leads who are more likely to convert into loyal customers. By capitalizing on the power of multilingualism, you pave the way for substantial business growth and a distinguished competitive advantage in your market.
The decision to create a multilingual website can significantly amplify your conversion rates and boost sales, all by expanding your reach to a broader target audience. With a WordPress multilingual website, not only can you witness a surge in traffic, but also attract higher-quality leads, ultimately contributing to improved conversions. Emphasizing multilingual page titles aligns seamlessly with new Google updates, enhancing your website’s visibility and accessibility to diverse users worldwide.
A compelling example from WPML demonstrates how the translation of landing pages and ads can yield impressive results, such as a remarkable 20% increase in the conversion rate for a specific website. By undertaking research to optimize your website’s user experience for international users, you foster a stronger connection with your global audience, promoting trust and loyalty. This heightened user engagement can lead to enhanced brand perception and a remarkable boost in customer retention and satisfaction. In essence, delving into the realm of multilingualism equips you with a powerful toolset to thrive in the international market and achieve unprecedented success in your business endeavours.
Venturing into the realm of a multilingual WordPress site not only expands your reach but also holds the potential to significantly enhance your branding efforts. Trust forms the foundation of any successful brand and one of the key aspects of building that trust is clear communication. When people can understand your brand’s message in their own language, a stronger sense of connection and trust is established.
To ensure the success of your multilingual WordPress website, it is vital to strategize how you will present your branding to your target audience in different languages. Engaging with your audience in their native language strengthens your international presence and fosters a deeper sense of accessibility. The essence of your brand resonates more profoundly when conveyed in the language your audience is most comfortable with.
By embracing multilingualism and communicating effectively with diverse audiences, you position your brand as one that prioritizes inclusivity, cultural sensitivity, and a genuine commitment to understanding and connecting with customers on a global scale. This cohesive approach to branding ensures your message transcends language barriers, enabling your brand to leave a lasting impression and achieve a formidable presence in the international market.
What are the important considerations for translating your WordPress site?
Now that we have a clear understanding of the advantages offered by a multilingual WordPress site, let’s delve into the essential aspects to consider when translating your WordPress site. Below, we have compiled a concise list of key factors that warrant attention during the translation process. By addressing these elements diligently, you can ensure a successful and seamless transition to a multilingual website, catering effectively to diverse audiences across the globe.
Google and Multilingual SEO
As you should know by now, SEO is the process of making sure that a website will appear high on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) of the search engine, the main one of course is Google. There are different methods for making a website rank and when your website is multilingual then the methods will become even more complicated. There are several things to consider:
- Having a distinct URL for each language version
- Use hreflang tags as a language indicator for the site
- Use only one language for each page
- Translate the metadata on the site
If you are to go forward in building a multilingual website on WordPress, you will need to consider working with a language professional who has experience in international SEO and understands the linguistic and cultural preferences of your target market.
Translating to a language vs. translating for a region or target market
Direct translation is converting one language to a standardized version of another. But there are instances when it’s not enough that you have the content of your site translated.
This is where localization comes into play. Localization is the process of creating multilingual content that is tailored to target users from a particular geographic location. WordPress multilingual plugins can’t localize content, so you will have to work with a language professional to ensure that your target audience can relate to your website’s content on a deeper level.
What teams should you create to translate your WordPress Site?
If your goal is to establish a proficient and sustainable team to manage your multilingual WordPress site over the long term, you must assemble a diverse group of experts from various disciplines. From translators and QA testers to WordPress developers, UX specialists, and multilingual SEO experts, covering all essential bases is paramount for success. While WordPress itself boasts a user-friendly interface, certain aspects of site-building demand the expertise and finesse of these professionals to ensure your multilingual website operates seamlessly and resonates effectively with a global audience. By curating a skilled and versatile team, you empower your website with the tools necessary to thrive in the multilingual landscape, captivating users worldwide, and propelling your online presence to unprecedented heights.
Should you collaborate with freelancers?
Opting to hire freelancers or remote workers can bring numerous advantages to your project. One compelling reason is the opportunity to access a diverse global talent pool, connecting with like-minded professionals who can contribute significantly to expanding your website’s reach in new markets. Collaboration with skilled individuals from different corners of the world can infuse fresh perspectives and innovative solutions into your endeavours, fostering growth and success.
However, it is essential to acknowledge the potential risks associated with working with freelancers, as not all may exhibit the desired level of professionalism or accountability. To mitigate such concerns, many individuals and businesses prefer to collaborate with specialized companies proficient in translating and localizing websites. By engaging with these seasoned experts, you gain access to a team of dedicated professionals committed to delivering high-quality, reliable, and culturally sensitive translations and adaptations for your website. This strategic approach ensures a smooth and efficient localization process, allowing your brand to resonate effectively with international audiences while minimizing potential hurdles and ensuring a seamless expansion into new markets.
Which is the best WordPress multilingual plugin?
If you lack the funds to hire freelancers or remote translators, you always use WordPress multilingual plugins as a temporary solution to creating a multilingual website. Below are some of the best multilingual WordPress plugins in the market:
- WPML (WordPress Multilingual Plugin) – Many use this plugin as it’s a feature that is already found in WordPress. It is popular because it can be integrated smoothly to efficiently create and manage multilingual content. You can manually edit the multilingual content and support international SEO across different languages.
- Polylang – Like WPML, this plugin is popular due to its user-friendly features. You can translate and customize webpages, tags, URLs, navigation menus, widgets, and various types of posts.
- TranslatePress – Besides WordPress, it can also support WooCommerce. It offers automatic translations like the other plugins and supports front-end development of the webpage.
However, according to a survey, Google Translate was found to be 72% accurate, and it continues to improve. Because of this, you will still need to work with a language professional to ensure that the content conveys your brand’s message effectively and build trust with your international users.
Should you use a translation company or a WordPress company?
As mentioned, you can work with a translator. However, you might consider working with a translation company if you plan to market to multiple markets simultaneously. Because besides translating your website for your target market, you can work with them to ensure that your website complies with data privacy laws, like the GDPR, CPRA, and CPPA.
If you’re looking to focus on building and managing a WordPress website because you haven’t developed one yet, then a WordPress company might be more suitable. Then prioritize building a website first, and then you can have it translated by a translation company or language professional later on.
How do I translate my WordPress website to multilingual for free and easy?
While the option to transform your WordPress site into a multilingual one for free may seem appealing, it might not yield the desired results you are aiming for. Preply highlights that Google Translate, while a useful tool, only offers an accuracy rate of 72%. Despite continuous improvements, it cannot match the expertise of a language professional who comprehends the cultural nuances and contextual intricacies of a market.
While cost-effectiveness is a consideration, investing in language professionals can make a significant difference in the quality and effectiveness of your multilingual website. These experts possess the skill to craft translations that resonate authentically with your target audience, elevating your brand’s appeal and fostering genuine connections with users across different language communities. By opting for the expertise of language professionals, you ensure that your multilingual website becomes a powerful asset that effectively bridges linguistic gaps, enhances user experiences, and paves the way for greater success in global markets.
Some Tips when Creating a Multilingual WordPress Website
If you choose not to solely use a WordPress multilingual plugin, we have listed some tips when building and executing a plan for your multilingual WordPress website, as follows:
- Define Your Target Audience – Research your target audience’s cultural and linguistic preferences, so you will know what language your website will support and tailor content based on your findings.
- Prepare Content for Translation – Collaborate with a language professional to ensure that all content, including text, images, and media, is ready for translation. Some languages may require more space or have different reading directions, which will affect your website’s format.
- Consistent Site Structure – Create a consistent and logical site structure that is easy to navigate across all language versions. Make sure the menu items, categories, and tags are appropriately translated.
- URL Structure and SEO Considerations – Decide your URL structure for multilingual pages. Opt for subdomains (e.g., fr.example.com) or subdirectories (e.g., example.com/fr/), which a language professional can assist you with proper hreflang tags for SEO.
- Select Language Switcher Options – Choose the appropriate language switcher for your website. It can be a dropdown, flags, or a simple text link.
- Font and Typography – Some languages require specific fonts or character sets. Use plugins that support these languages and allow you to edit that content.
- Translation Quality Control and Test Thoroughly – Make sure that part of your plan will be quality assurance. Conduct extensive testing of your multilingual website to verify translations, navigation, and functionality across different languages and devices.
- Stay Compliant – Adhere to your target countries’ legal requirements and language regulations, such as data privacy laws. Many countries require translating cookie policies, privacy statements, and legal disclaimers, so research ahead about this.
- Engage Native Speakers: Where possible, involve native speakers of the target languages to get valuable feedback and insights.
- Monitor Analytics: Use website analytics tools to track the performance of each language version separately. Analyze user behaviour and make data-driven decisions to continuously improve user experience.
Creating a multilingual WordPress website can be a powerful strategy to tap into global markets and gain a competitive edge. The staggering statistics showing the dominance of English on the internet highlight the vast untapped potential among non-English speakers. By using WordPress multilingual plugins, collaborating with language professionals, and considering localization, businesses can effectively connect with international audiences and expand their reach.