Making your WordPress site multilingual is a great idea. Why? Because taking your site to a broader, more global audience gets the word out about your business, products and services. This can translate into increased sales, which can help to grow your business.
Things to Consider
There’s quite a bit to consider before making your content available in multiple languages. You’ll need to review your business to make decisions on which languages to use, what tools will be needed to translate your content, and how to manage local SEO. In addition, you’ll also need to consider the costs involved in creating and maintaining multilingual content for your WordPress site.
Keep in mind that with a multilanguage site, you’ll need to budget for both the short- and long-term. Remember that future content on your site will need to be translated, which is an expensive process.
Before choosing your target language, it will be necessary to do some research to find which languages will best serve your company and your customers. As an example, some companies choose to go with the languages in which they can offer customer service support. The right language choices for your company may be based on entirely different factors; this is why research is important.
Determine Your Target Language
Choosing the right global markets is one of the first decisions you’ll need to make. Consider this: of all the sites on the Internet, about half are in English. What about the other half? After English, the next most often used languages are Chinese and Spanish; however, this still leaves a large part of your global audience unable to access your site in their native language.
You can’t make your site accessible to all languages in the world. Well, you could, but the effort and expense needed would be a loss for your business, due to the cost. Instead, you’ll need to choose which target audiences and their languages are best for your company. In this way, you can profit from a multilingual site.
When choosing the target language, think about the languages you need. Ask these questions:
1). Is your company in a non-English speaking country? Do you use English on your site? If not, then translating site content into English may be a good decision. You’ll able to reach global audiences in English, as many people in Europe, Australia, the UK, the US, etc. use this language every day.
2). Which markets are best for your business? Use Google Adwords to find which countries are using your site; this is a free tool your business can use to find the largest global markets for your business. You may find one other market, or maybe several. Remember, you need to keep translation costs down, so choose languages that have the highest probability of brining paying customers to your site.
3). Which sections of the site need to be translated? Will you need to translate blog posts? What about product information and descriptions—or the services you offer? When it comes time to choosing which sections of your site to translate, remember one key point. If people can make purchases or hire services, then it’s best to have at least the sales process translated and localised into the target language(s).
To sum up, do your research, and then choose the number of languages you can afford to translate into now and in the future.
Creating Your Multilanguage Site
WordPress is a versatile platform for most things, including when it comes to creating a multilingual site. There are several ways to get the content translated. Let’s take a look:
WordPress Multisite: is a great option for larger companies. With this solution, you’ll have a high-performance site that’s fast and user-friendly, along with being easy to support. Language variations are kept separate from one another, and administrators will have the option of using local editors to work with the content in their own language variation, making this a great option for global teams.
WPML Plugin: if you’re strapped for cash, then this may be a good option for your business. The WPML is a WordPress plugin that makes it easy to translate your website content into other languages. It’s compatible with your site’s themes and plugins. In addition, you can optimise your site SEO into multiple languages.
While this is a great tool, it’s best used on small sites. The reason is that the plugin can be somewhat heavy and slow the site down, which reduces the user’s quality for site visitors.
Hiring professional translation companies: translation plugins are a great option for many companies; however, working with a professional translation company is also a method to consider. You can use Google Translate yourself to work on translating site content, but we’re here to tell you that you won’t be happy with the results.
Languages are complex and using a translation tool doesn’t get the job done right. Instead, a translation company has an experienced team that usually includes staff who work in their own native language. These local translators will have a thorough understanding of not only the language, but also the culture. They’ll be able to translate and ensure the content is properly localised.
What does “localised” in this context mean? It means text is translated into the target language, but with extra work to ensure the content is adapted to fit the target audience’s preferences in a specific region.
Improve SEO: in order to be effective, your site’s SEO must be attuned to each target language. Doing SEO in each language helps search engines to index your site for each language. In this way, your site will attract more traffic from the global Internet audience.
Remember, when doing SEO in each language, you’ll also have to apply SEO to your site’s URLs, metadata, tags, etc. This is necessary to carry out proper SEO practices across a multilingual site.
There is a plugin that can help with this process—it’s called Yoast, and it includes extensive multilingual capabilities to help you localise SEO for each language.
Taking your site to a global has never been easier; however, you’ll have to put the research to find the best language choice(s) for your business, and then choose the method for translating site content and SEO.
While this can be an expensive process, consider the expense a business investment. With the right language(s), your company will reach larger audiences, meaning your company will be able to expand and grow due to these new markets.