Modern business on the internet should have the ability to mass-scale through the introduction of new language versions in accordance with the expansion of the company or brand to the markets of new countries and regions. Fortunately, the WordPress platform fully supports multilingual websites and blogs. Most of the modern free and premium WordPress themes allow you to optimize content for many languages of the world, and convenient plugins take on the technical part of the process.
However, translating content into the languages you need is just the beginning of the way to create a truly multilanguage project. It is necessary to take into account the cultural characteristics of different countries and regions, as well as the features of the marketing campaign for each of the language versions of the site. There are also certain nuances in optimizing the site for user search queries that can not be ignored. All this is a complex and multidisciplinary work on the multi-language WordPress site.
Such a complex work may seem too complicated, but in fact the task remains quite feasible if it is decomposed into separate processes. Moreover, many of the processes can be performed by means of WordPress plugins for you.
Today we will consider in detail the issue of creating multilanguage WordPress sites — from content translation to site optimization and marketing campaign for new regions. We hope that these tips will help you to create all necessary language versions for your WordPress site or blog without any unnecessary fuss.
Select the Plugin for Site Translation
The first task of the WordPress administrator, who wants to make his site multilingual, is choosing the right plugin for translating content. Naturally, you can do the translation manually, but it will take a lot of time and effort. Many modern premium WordPress themes offer tools for translating a site in its bundle. And almost all WordPress themes support the connection of additional plugins for automatic translation.
One of the most popular plugins for automatic content translation is WordPress Multilingual (WPML). This plugin also allows you to configure the automatic connection of a suitable language based on the user’s geolocation. Manual switching of language versions is a simpler alternative.
Another convenient and effective tool for site translation is the Weglot Multilingual WordPress plugin. This premium plugin provides automatic translation and the ability to connect experts in each language version to improve the quality of translated content.
Take the Cultural Context into Account
As we mentioned earlier, cultural features play an important role in creating each of the language versions of your WordPress site. Pay attention not only to the quality of translation, but also to the use of suitable images, logos, colors and fonts. Avoid any hints on offensive characters for the appropriate cultural context.
In this case, you may need the help of professional translators — automatic translation will not be able to take into account all cultural nuances. However, you can save considerably if the translation is already ready at least at the machine level. In this case, you can hire an expert to check the content, instead of translating it from scratch.
Provide a Simple Switching for Language Versions of the Site
This advice may seem obvious, but often beginners in the field of site administration make a mistake in this nuance. You should clearly understand how the site looks for a person who does not understand the text content. Can you find the button for switching the language on your site, if you do not rely on the inscription?
We advise you to choose the most familiar place of the site for the menu of switching languages — the upper right corner. To illustrate the different language versions, it is best to choose the flags of the respective countries. If your site has more than 3 language versions, then it is better to use the drop-down menu.
Think of URL Structure Beforehand
There are three approaches for creating separate pages for each language version of the site: directly in the domain name (site.en, site.de etc), as a subdomain marker (en.site.com, de.site.com etc) and as a subdirectory (site.com/en, site.com/de etc).
The optimal option is most often considered marking the language version as a subdirectory. This approach least loads the structure of a small site and is easiest to use for inexperienced WordPress administrators. Please note that the method for creating URLs for language versions needs to be thought out beforehand, even before the translation work begins.
Translate All the Menus and Service Elements of the Site
When it comes to large amounts of text content for translation, we often forget about smaller, but no less important details. Examples of such details include site menu items and other service interface elements — footer, navigation menu and so on. Remember that the convenience of user navigation primarily depends on these elements, so you can not ignore their translation into a user-friendly language.
You can accomplish this task either manually or using special WordPress plugins. Most modern premium WordPress themes also support the functionality of translating the service parts of the site into different languages using built-in editors.
Check the Language Compatibility for Various Elements
Not only the text and menu of the site needs translation. Pay attention to the inscriptions on the pictures and the sound in the video inside your WordPress project. Inscriptions on pictures not only must contain the corresponding language version of the text, but also be optimized in size, alignment and font.
Provide Customer Support for All Languages
Technical support of users is an important element of your WordPress project, as the level of its work shows your visitors how you care about their comfort.
Providing full-fledged technical support can be too difficult for small businesses that are just beginning to enter the international market. In this case, we recommend starting with written manuals for users who will be translated into the required number of languages. Over time, you will certainly be able to provide qualified technical support at the expense of new employees, each of whom will be responsible for the development in a specific language.
Expand the Advertising Campaign
Multilingual site opens new opportunities for an advertising campaign. However, these opportunities should be used wisely. Try to develop an advertising campaign in a specific language only if you have an appropriate qualified specialist.
A modern advertising campaign includes communication with the audience in social networks and via email newsletters. These elements of your advertising campaign should also be translated with responsibility into the languages that your WordPress site supports.
Think about the Regional Features of SEO
Most WordPress administrators are targeting the optimization of their site for the Google search engine. This approach can be called the most versatile, but it does not take into account regional features for representatives of different languages and cultures.
For example, in China, the most popular search engine is not Google, but Baidu. Residents of France and Britain prefer the Bing search engine. All these features must be monitored and used correctly, because each search engine has a unique algorithm of operation.
Multilanguage WordPress site opens new opportunities, but requires more responsibility for the organization of its content. Based on this conclusion, you can make an important decision about creating a new language version of your project. We advise you to start small and translate the site into those languages in which you yourself feel comfortable. Then you can go to the international level with a truly multi-lingual site.