Essential Steps to Building a Successful Multilingual Website

Most businesses that rely on websites to generate leads must constantly find new, creative ways to expand their customer base. Depending on your business’s services, you could be dealing with international or local customers. However, even if most of your customers are local to your area, that doesn’t mean they all speak English. The above holds true for most regions, countries, and languages since most places are multicultural and multilingual. For example, the US has more than 13% of native Spanish speakers, which was a major inspiration for our English Spanish Translation Software. Today, we will cover the essential steps to building a successful multilingual website that will help you cater to a broader audience and improve your business.

Know who your audience is

Before you start making any changes to your website, you should first do some research. You’ll want to look at several key factors when building a successful multilingual website. First, you should already know who your current customers are and what languages they speak. However, we suggest that you also look into your website visitors. It is quite possible that a certain percentage of your site visitors don’t speak your currently supported languages. This will likely cause many of them to leave your website immediately. Therefore, it’s not enough to look at your existing customer base but also where your site traffic is coming from. If you need to get in touch with users whose language you don’t speak, you can rely on dictionary and translation software to help you bridge that gap.

The second crucial thing you need to consider is the new users you want to turn into customers. If you want to break into a new market, you might need to consider building a successful multilingual website. Do research into your desired customers and the languages they speak. Also, think about which products and services they will be most interested in, and make sure to offer them in the native languages of your customers.

Plan out your website design

As with any major website redesign, you’ll want to have a plan for the changes you will be making. Here are the key elements you need to pay attention to:

  • Not all pages need to be translated. This is especially relevant for businesses that offer multiple different products. Certain customers will only be interested in specific products. Therefore, it would be best if you had a plan for which pages must be in which languages.
  • How are you going to offer language options? There are several options available when building a successful multilingual website. You can have duplicate pages for different languages or have only some aspects of a page in several languages.
  • How does a multilingual website affect your content creation? Businesses often rely on content-based marketing to attract new customers. In these situations, you might want to consider equipping your staff with professional translation software so that they can effectively create multilingual content. If you don’t plan to translate all of your content, you will need to create language-specific content for each group of users.
  • Page layout. The same sentence translated into different languages most likely won’t have the same number of characters. You will need to account for text expansion and contraction, as well as languages where text is written right to left. Test various design layouts and how they interact with changing text.

Have a language selection menu

Most websites decide to implement a language selection button that allows users to select their preferred language. This is considered the default option when building a successful multilingual website; however, you still need to implement this feature correctly. Make sure that the language selection button is obvious and easy to spot. Including it in the header of your pages is generally advisable, so users can always access it.

Another critical thing to consider is that the language selection button should be language-independent. If you want website visitors to find the language button, it would be best if you used iconography instead of text. Using obvious symbols, such as country flags will help users change the language of your website.

Use auto-translate options

Any new feature you want to implement on your website will cost you something. Even if you are doing most of the website development yourself, it will take a lot of time to translate everything. This problem worsens when you try to maintain a regular output of content for your site. Not only will you have to create the content, but you’ll also want to translate it so that it reaches more users. Some forms of content will be time-sensitive and can become outdated quickly. Thankfully, if you want to translate content for your WordPress blog website, there are ways to do it instantly. You can use an auto-translate plugin that can significantly speed up the creation of new pages. Thanks to machine learning, translation algorithms are getting better every day.

Consider formatting differences

One of the frequently overlooked language differences is the changes in formatting date, time, currencies, or measurement units. For example, even if you manage to translate a page accurately, you might not remember to factor in the change from Fahrenheit to Celsius when listing the temperature. Thankfully, professional translator tools will account for these changes. However, you should still check your pages after translating them to be sure everything matches the formatting standards.

Create multiple landing pages

If you know where your users are coming from, you can create language-dependent landing pages suited to their preferences. Visitors are more likely to stay on your site if a page greets them in their native language. Additionally, language-specific landing pages will help your website pop up in searches – increasing your organic traffic.

In conclusion

As you can see, building a successful multilingual website isn’t difficult once you know what you need to pay attention to. Having several languages available on your website will open your business up to new users and improve navigation and ease of use on your website. Therefore, we suggest that you start working on page translations immediately. Meta description: When you are dealing with multicultural customers, you’ll want to take these essential steps to building a successful multilingual website.

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