If you create a business website in a language that isn’t your mother tongue, you will tap into an unexplored market with potential clients. Most websites exclusively have content in English. While there’s nothing wrong with that, only 1.5 billion people speak English, implying that a considerable percentage of the market is untapped. By creating a bilingual or multilingual website, you can reach out to more people.
How to Create a Multilingual Website
People decide to create websites with more than one language for a variety of reasons. Maybe they want to target a new audience, or their business is expanding into fresh international markets. Whatever the reason, creating a website in another language can be tricky. Nevertheless, it’s doable. Here’s how to do it.
Define Your Multilingual Goals
The first step is to define your multilingual goals and select the languages you want to add to your website. Your choices will depend on your geographic target audience, budget, and resources. For instance, if you live in a country with two main languages, ensure to include those on your website.
Translate Your Content
The next step is to bridge communication gaps and connect with people from different linguistic backgrounds. It would help to have superior translations of your content, meaning translating each piece of text to ensure every word conveys the same meaning as its original version.
One effective strategy to achieve this goal is to hire native speakers of the languages you are targeting to get high-quality translations. However, finding qualified multilingual speakers can sometimes take time and effort. This is especially true given the prevalence of English-language dominance in today’s globalized world. For more information on how to provide top-notch translations, there’s no better resource than GoTranscript.
Creating a multilingual website is more than just a matter of translating words correctly. Considering each locale’s cultural and linguistic nuances is essential to engage users in different countries effectively. For example, to create an e-commerce site targeting a global audience, your site should reflect local currencies and marketing sensitivities.
It is also essential to account for variations in spoken language worldwide. While many languages are considered “global,” there are critical differences between how dialects from different regions are used and understood. It’s, therefore, necessary to understand all of these factors to ensure that content is accessible and well-received by users.
Create an Accessible Language Switcher
To make your language switcher as easy as possible to find, place it in a prominent location on your homepage and other pages of your site. Often, multilingual websites feature the language switcher in the page’s header or footer, but this is just one option. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide where it should be, based on what works best for your layout and design.
However, whatever option you choose, the language switcher must be visible and easy to use. Additionally, you should select descriptive words for the switcher and refer to languages in their native form. For instance, use the term “日本語” instead of “Japanese” or “Deutsch” rather than “German.”
Optimize for SEO
Optimizing a bilingual or multilingual website ensures maximum search engine visibility. As such, pay close attention to factors like proper structure, language tags, and schema hacks. Here are some ideal practices that will help you:
- Translate URLs
Translate URLs so search engines can properly index your content in each language.
- Research Longtail Keywords
Next, you’ll want to research long-tail keywords in each language and use only the highest-quality translations for your meta descriptions.
- Use Hreflangs
Incorporate hreflang tags into your website to ensure your content reaches the target audience. Doing so will also make your site more discoverable by search engines.
- Use Plugins
Plugins with robust multilingual SEO features will help you optimize your site further and ensure you get the most out of your efforts.
Get Started With Your Multilingual Website
At the heart of any successful bilingual or multilingual website is a comprehensive understanding of how different languages work, including their commonalities and unique differences. Only by doing so can you truly connect with users worldwide and give your brand the exposure it deserves. It also calls for research, a good language layout, SEO optimization, and high-quality translations.