WordPress is an extremely popular platform that powers 34% of all websites on the internet. Today, WordPress serves as the basis for sites of any kind, including eCommerce stores and various business sites. However, it was initially created as a blogging platform, so if you want to start a blog, using WordPress is an obvious yet effective option.
If you have a blog, you might want to reach new audiences and to expand your influence. At some point, you may realize that such growth requires you to use not only English but also other languages, as well. Some people think that using other languages is only necessary when you have audiences from other countries, but the truth is that, even in the U.S., one in five residents speak other languages at home. Therefore, making your blog multilingual is a great decision not only if you have audiences from other countries but also if you simply want to improve user experience.
The benefits of having a multilingual website are rather obvious, but creating a WordPress multiple language site can be a quite difficult task, especially if you have little to no coding skills. Fortunately, there are numerous multilingual plugins that can do a lot of work for you.
Besides, building a multilingual site will be less time-consuming and difficult if you plan everything. Here are some tips that will help you set clear goals and build your website with less effort.
Making a Multilingual WordPress Website in 5 Steps
1. Study your audience
This is probably one of the most important things you should do. You need to analyze your audience and its language preferences to understand what languages you should use, and to plan your work properly. First, determine who you want to reach, and what languages are most common among this audience.
We recommend that you consider not only your website audience but also the audience of your social media accounts, as well. The website should serve as the basis of your social media strategy, and before you start your multilingual social media campaign, you should make sure that followers who decide to visit your website will find the same language options there.
2. Format content in your primary language properly
Once you’ve defined your target audience, you can start to write content. Given that you may work with different translators, we recommend that you put some effort into formatting your content to make sure that its versions in other languages will have the same structure.
A good solution is to create a template in Google Docs or Microsoft Word. For example, your template might include the following sections:
- Meta description;
- Main header (H1);
- Additional media (images, videos, GIFs, etc.)
This way, you will make it easier for translators to get a grasp on your content, making sure that it will be consistent, no matter what language your users choose. You may work with different translators, and you don’t want to waste your time explaining what your content should look like every time you hire somebody new.
3. Translate your content into other languages
Once the content in your primary language is formatted and ready, you need to translate or localize it. It’s important to know the difference between translation and localization.
While translation implies simply transposing the content into another language, localization also involves adapting content to the cultural standards of the target audience.
Localization might require you to hire more experienced translators. Fortunately, you can always find translators with the necessary experience on custom writing review websites. Keep in mind that you might need to remove some pages or sections of your website before sending your content to a translator. For instance, you won’t need an American English version of your website when tailoring it to your British audience.
4. Create a multilingual website
Once the content of your website is translated into multiple languages, you need to adapt the website itself. Putting your multilingual blog online is easy if you know how to code or if you know somebody familiar with web development. However, even if you don’t know how to code and don’t want to hire web developers, you can always use various WordPress plugins.
One of the best things about WordPress is that there are hundreds of plugins that enable you to customize your website however you like. Here are some of the most popular WordPress multilingual plugins.
This is a stable plugin that enables you to duplicate your pages and offers a variety of options in different languages. Although you might need to possess some technical knowledge to appreciate all the advantages of this plugin, it has a very active user community so you can quickly find answers to your questions on various forums. WPML is also compatible with many other WordPress plugins, including W3 Total Cache and WordPress SEO.
This is a reliable multilingual plugin that will help you translate your website quickly. It enables you to create bilingual and multilingual websites easily because you can translate the content from the frontend. It is compatible with WooCommerce and the majority of WordPress themes so you likely won’t experience any compatibility issues. In addition, this is a self-hosted plugin so you can keep your translations forever. Another good thing about this plugin is that it fully supports the Gutenberg builder.
- qTranslate X
This plugin is also often used for WordPress blogs and other websites that support multiple languages. This plugin doesn’t duplicate the content but stores different versions in the same posting. On the one hand, this plugin has a less active community than WPML, and it’s also somewhat less stable. On the other hand, you can use it for free.
- Multisite Language Switcher
This is another free plugin that offers better stability than qTranslate X and also enables you to manage multiple websites and to work with multiple installations of WordPress. However, this plugin is more difficult to use so it requires decent technical knowledge.
This is a simple plugin that will help you translate your content without using any translation services. You can create posts, pages, tags, and categories, and then specify languages. The plugin supports almost a hundred languages. Every language has a unique two-letter code, which is added to the URLs of your pages. The plugin also includes a convenient widget that enables users to switch between different languages.
5. Do multilingual keyword research
Perhaps, you’ve already researched relevant keywords in English, but you should also keep in mind that the competition and search volume of keywords may differ depending on what country you target. We recommend that you research keywords carefully and make sure to include them in both your on-page content and backlinks.
Don’t try to simply translate your keywords into another language. For example, if you have a French website dedicated to a holiday rental, it can be optimized for “location vacances.”
If you translate this keyword to English, it will be “vacation rental,” but the English-speaking audience rarely searches for such a keyword. Instead, you will have to use “holiday rental” as your main keyword.
Proper website localization can be very time-consuming, especially if your website has many sections with lots of content. Fortunately, WordPress enables you to create a multilingual blog quickly thanks to various plugins. We also recommend that you plan your work properly, considering the specifics of your target audience, and making sure that your content will be consistent, no matter what language your readers decide to choose.