Language is the bridge to your customers’ heart. But is English really the language of internet users? According to the stats from W3Techs, 55% of the websites on the internet are in English.
However, reports show that only a quarter of internet surfers have English as their first language. So my first sentence may seem emotional to you, the fact is, only 25% of your visitors can build a deep-down connection with your website when you are using English as your primary language.
Consider the example of our managed WordPress client, Organo Gold. The company has been in the business of Ganoderma—a Chinese herb that the company considers as a healthy alternative to traditional coffee. Using the WordPress plugin WPML, the company is on its mission: to introduce Ganoderma in all four corners of the world. The results speak for itself. Their multilingual website has helped the company in achieving more than 30% of its traffic from countries like Russia, Mexico, Italy, and China.
Multilingual WordPress: The Obstacles
In the following paragraphs, you will learn about many WordPress plugins that help in making a multilingual website. But first we have briefly discussed issues that many webmasters overlook when it comes to serving content in multiple languages.
Set out the basics
Before implementing multilingual in WordPress, you must keep in mind all the technical considerations. Shannon Smith, an expert in developing multilingual WordPress sites, mentioned the following guidelines for webmaster in one of her articles:
Use cookie drop, so users don’t have to select language repeatedly.
Country flags are discouraged. Most languages are spoken in more than one country.
Decide what will be the language of your default home page (our client Organo Gold have a simple home page having a language selector).
Making the site SEO friendly
A multilingual site means you display the same content but in more than one language. This is why you need to follow Google’s multilingual guidelines, so that it can easily crawl your website while not labelling it for duplicate content. Part of these guidelines include:
Use only one language content on a page. Avoid side-by-side translations.
Translating only boilerplate text while keeping content body in the same language is discouraged.
Robot.txt must be utilized to stop search engine from crawling auto-generated translations.
It is recommended to have a language switching option on all your pages.
Use either subdomain or subdirectory for each separate language. For e.g. either fr.organogold.com or oraganogold.com/fr
Plugins To Create Multilingual Site In WordPress
A word of caution before you start making your website multilingual. Though, there are no major known issues if you are using commercial translation plugins, but things can get at times complicated. Keep a backup of your website to make sure that you continue to have your data even if something goes wrong.
Make sure you have completed internal testing specially if you have your ecommerce store on WordPress or have Magento integrated for this purpose. Once you have worked out these kinks, you can use any of the following for making your WordPress site multilingual.
The oldest and most popular plugin for creating multilingual website on WordPress. It is a very affordable solution starting from $29—though there is no free trial offered. By default WPML allows you to create pages in 40 languages and webmasters can easily manage translators through the dashboard.
This WordPress plugin has received highly positive reviews from the community. Though its interface is not as streamlined as WPML, this free plugin is worth trying.
qTranslate is another amazing plugin and has been downloaded over 1 million times. Users have the option to choose Professional Translation Service where they are provided with translated version of the chosen webpages in a short span of 2 hours. They are claimed to done by professional translators.
This plugin comes in both free and paid versions. The plugin generates a WordPress multilingual website by using WordPress multisite feature. Each language is given a WordPress instance of its own and then they are integrated together to make a multilingual website.
Multilingual is found to be a beneficial solution for businesses that are either localised or trying to experiment region-based marketing. One important aspect that webmasters should consider is the performance of their multilingual website. They must ensure that their site delivers content in lowest time.
CDN (Content Delivery Network) is found to be an effective answer to this problem. If your business is planning to experiment a multilingual WordPress site, get a FREE consultation from our highly experience server engineers at Cloudways. They have high expertise in devising custom solution for businesses through cloud technology and caching mechanisms.
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