What is a Multilingual Website and Why is it Important?

how to make a multilingual website

Multilingual website is a website that allows users to browse the website in different languages. You may wonder why it’s important to have your website available in multiple languages—after all, isn’t it enough to simply translate your site into different languages and make sure that the translated version looks identical to the original version? To see what makes multilingual websites so important, here are some of their benefits and most important tips for building one.

Step by step instructions on how to create a multilingual website

Here’s a general overview of the process:

Plan Your Content: Decide which pages of your website will be translated and into which languages. You may also need to determine how you will handle navigation and other design elements for users who speak different languages.

Choose a Translation Method: There are several methods for translating content, including manual translation by human translators, machine translation using tools like Google Translate, or a combination of both. Decide which method(s) you will use for your website.

Choose a Content Management System (CMS): Choose a CMS that supports multilingual websites. WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are popular CMS platforms that have multilingual capabilities.

Install and Configure a Multilingual Plugin or Extension: Install and configure a multilingual plugin or extension on your CMS. These plugins allow you to easily create and manage multilingual content on your website.

Create and Translate Content: Create the pages and content for your website in your primary language, and then use your chosen translation method to translate the content into other languages.

Implement Language Switching: Implement a language switching feature on your website so users can easily switch between languages. This can be done using flags, dropdown menus, or other design elements.

Test and Launch Your Website: Test your website thoroughly to ensure that all content and functionality is working properly in all languages. Once everything is working correctly, launch your website and begin promoting it to your target audience in all languages.

Creating a multilingual website can be a complex process, but by following these steps and working with experienced professionals, you can create a website that meets the needs of users who speak different languages.

The advantages of having a multilingual website

Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Increases Reach: A multilingual website allows you to reach a broader audience and target people who speak different languages. This can help you expand your customer base and increase your website traffic.
  • Improves User Experience: Offering content in multiple languages can improve the user experience for non-native speakers and create a more inclusive website. Users are more likely to stay on your website and engage with your content if it is available in their native language.
  • Boosts SEO: A multilingual website can help you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for keywords and phrases in different languages. This can increase your visibility to users searching for information in their preferred language.
  • Increases Conversions: Providing content in a user’s native language can help build trust and credibility, which can increase conversions and sales. Users are more likely to buy products or services from a website that they can read and understand easily.
  • Enhances Reputation: Offering content in multiple languages can enhance your company’s reputation and show that you value diversity and inclusivity. This can help you stand out from competitors and build a positive brand image.

Overall, having a multilingual website can provide numerous benefits for your business, from expanding your reach and improving the user experience to boosting your SEO and increasing conversions.

Are there any pitfalls in creating multilingual websites?

Yes, there are several potential pitfalls that you should be aware of when creating a multilingual website. Here are some of the most common challenges:

  • Poor Translation Quality: Poorly translated content can be confusing or even offensive to users, which can harm your reputation and undermine your website credibility. To avoid this, make sure to use high-quality translation services or tools and have the content reviewed by native speakers.
  • Inconsistent Terminology: Inconsistent terminology can also cause confusion for users and harm your credibility. Make sure to use consistent terminology throughout your website and create a style guide to ensure consistency.
  • Technical Challenges: Creating a multilingual website can be technically complex, particularly when it comes to implementing language switching features and managing multilingual content. Make sure to choose a content management system (CMS) that supports multilingual websites and work with experienced developers who can help you navigate any technical challenges.
  • Managing Multiple Versions of Content: Managing multiple versions of content can be challenging and time-consuming, particularly if you need to update content frequently. Make sure to have a plan in place for managing content updates and ensuring that all versions of the content are up-to-date.
  • Legal Requirements: Depending on the countries and languages you are targeting, there may be legal requirements for your website, such as compliance with data privacy regulations. Make sure to research and comply with all applicable legal requirements.

Overall, creating a multilingual website can be complex, but with careful planning and attention to detail, you can avoid common pitfalls and create a website that meets the needs of users who speak different languages.

3 Best examples of Multilingual Websites

Global companies like Coca-Cola, Mastercard, and Nissan all have websites in multiple languages. Other brands too are building their websites to be multilingual because of the increasing need for global or regional reach. To make your website multilingual you will need an international domain name extension (.com, .net etc) as well as country code top level domains for your desired language or languages (.mx for Mexico, .cn for China).

You might also want to consider using Google translate features to make your site as accessible as possible. Google Translate provides both auto-translation services across 190 languages and instant text translation service between 90 languages.

How do you do SEO on a Multilingual website?

SEO on a multilingual website can be more complex than on a single-language website. Here are some tips to help you optimize your multilingual website for search engines:

  • Choose the Right URL Structure: There are several URL structures you can use for a multilingual website, such as subdomains, subdirectories, or separate domains. Choose a structure that is easy to manage and consistent with your overall SEO strategy.
  • Use Hreflang Tags: Hreflang tags tell search engines which language versions of your content are available and help them deliver the correct version to users. Make sure to use hreflang tags on all pages and keep them up-to-date as you add or remove content.
  • Localize Content and Keywords: Localizing your content and keywords for each language can help improve your visibility in local search results. Do proper keyword research and use local keywords and phrases and tailor your content to the needs and preferences of users in each language.
  • Translate Metadata and Alt Text: Translate your metadata and alt text for each language version of your website. This can help improve your rankings and visibility in search results in different languages.
  • Build Links to Each Language Version: Building links to each language version of your website can help improve your rankings and visibility in local search results. Make sure to build high-quality links from relevant sources in each language.
  • Monitor and Analyze Performance: Monitor your website’s performance in each language and analyze your traffic, rankings, and conversions to identify areas for improvement. Use this data to refine your SEO strategy and optimize your website for each language.

By following these tips and working with experienced SEO professionals, you can optimize your multilingual website for search engines and reach users in different languages more effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions about Multilingual website

Which wordpress plugins are needed when creating a multilingual website?

When working with WordPress, there’s WPML, Polylang, Loco Translate or Poedit (this last one will only work with .PO and .MO files). Regardless of which one(s) you choose, they all offer installation packages so that the process of adding additional languages to your website is streamlined. Once installed on your site through the plugin dashboard in WordPress, these plugins will make it easy to publish posts or pages in multiple languages at once.

How to make a Wix website multilingual?

Wix makes adding multilingual functionality to your website easy. If you want to change the language of the entire site, go to the Settings tab on your Wix dashboard. There, you will find an option called Multilingual Languages, which has drop-down menus for each language that you have selected on your website. Simply select which languages should display in what order from these menus and then click the Save button at the bottom of the page!

Final advice

You can optimize your multilingual website by having sections that are translated into one or more languages on the site. You should also make sure you know where you rank in other languages by getting on international search engines like Google, Baidu, Yandex, and Naver. This will help give an idea of how well-known your brand is to potential customers in those countries. With a multilingual website, it’s important to include videos with captions in the native language of your audience so they can better understand what you have to offer!