Expanding your online business to a larger demographic requires catering to a wider audience, which can be achieved through a multilingual website. Such a website offers content, products, and services in multiple languages, making it accessible to people from different linguistic backgrounds. For instance, a small business in western or central Canada that initially caters to English speakers may need to create a parallel website in French to reach out to the French community.
If you plan to expand your online shop or business website to other territories, it is essential to create a blog section before adding translated versions. The Blog for PrestaShop is an interactive tool that allows you to incorporate a publishing corner on your eCommerce website. You can also seek the assistance of a developer to write code for your online store. Standalone eCommerce platforms like Magento and PrestaShop have built-in features and support to set up a multilingual website. With WordPress, it is often best to install an additional plugin for it.
Here are some expert practices and helpful plugins you should keep in mind while creating international language versions of your website:
1. Language Switching with Flawless Translation
A multilingual WordPress website should serve people from varying linguistic backgrounds. Most webmasters create multiple copies of the same website in different languages and enable switching between them. Auto-switching language according to the users’ location is one of the reliable solutions, whereas leaving it to the discretion of users is also worth considering. However, tools and browsers that offer auto-translation of a web page are discouraged by experts as they cannot interpret the message a website needs to convey. Word-by-word translation from one language to another can never replicate the exact message, which is why translation by professionals is recommended.
There are premium plugins that make the translation process much easier, such as Weglot and WPML.
2. Bridge Cultural Differences
In addition to the language your target audience uses, it is essential to understand their cultural differences while configuring a multilingual WordPress site. It takes into account the use of language, tone, and concepts that are commonly known and are not harmful to any of their traditions. Care has to be taken in designing logos, banners, and symbols that are not obscene for a community, and the colors shall be selected that do not symbolize anything respective in a specific culture.
3. Enable Easy Access to a Specific Language
Creating multiple views with respect to a different language is an enticing marketing technique to outreach a greater audience, but it works perfectly well if they can easily access the pages. A recommended practice is to create an option either on the top left or right corner of every page that clarifies the current page language and provides access to other languages as well.
4. Carefully Select a URL Structure
It is always a wise decision to select an independent domain name for your business for promotion through different platforms and search engines. Once you select the core domain name, then decide upon how you need to represent the language versions within the URL. Experts often recommend creating subdirectories for each language as it is an affordable and easy-to-manage alternative.
5. Translate Each Tagline
Translating the body text, product name, and description will not work if the taglines are written in a default language. Try to fully optimize a web page with a language and do not miss a single corner. It may require you to harmonize the overall translation that includes every tagline, page content, values and figures, product name in URL, error or greeting messages, email notifications, etc.
6. Make Every Language Comparable
Ensure every language is comparable to the standard one when you make your WordPress site multilingual. The merchants and sellers need to frequently review and compare multi-lingual page views to eradicate any difference and bring it in-line with the overall vision and goals of the business.
7. Deliver Customer Support to All Listed Languages
Customer support symbolizes the backbone of your business, and incorporating the same facility in your multilingual website works like a charm. Offering such support for multiple languages is difficult, but quite manageable for large size enterprises and corporate concerns. Small and medium size businesses may hardly follow this practice because they have a simple infrastructure and low budget to acquire a support team.
8. Achieve Consistency Across Language Versions
Equally design features, functionality, options, and content represent consistency across your local and international websites. The design and content may vary according to the rules and traditions of any specific regions, but the overall appearance and layout need to be similar.
9. Promotion and Outreach
Draft a multilingual marketing strategy with WordPress to reach out to the communities who would like to show interest in your products and services. The outreach campaign may include social media marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization, and any other method that is fruitful in a specific region.
10. Carry on SEO According to Regional Preferences
A multilingual website that aims to reach people across the borders must take into account the preferred search engines of their target audience. For example, people of China prefer to use the Baidu search engine, whereas Bing is quite popular in France and the United Kingdom. So, while developing SEO strategies, do include the websites which can give you more return from a specific region.
In conclusion, developing a multilingual website serves the purpose of global outreach. By understanding the global aspects and demand of your products, you can create such a website with the help of the above-discussed practices.