By offering your website in multiple languages, you’ve already taken a huge step to making it more user-friendly. However, with so many websites vying for traffic – and customer expectations rising – you might need to step up your game when it comes to overall user experience.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can make your multilingual website even more user-friendly. For example, paying attention to some key aspects of your visitors’ experience will enable you to maximize their time on-site, and possibly get them to come back for more.
In this article, we’ll explain why you should focus on improving your multilingual user experience and provide five tips to help you do it. Let’s get started!
Why Having a User-Friendly Multilingual Website is So Important
While adding secondary languages to your website can greatly expand your reach, just translating your content and hoping for the best isn’t enough. With so many websites competing for the attention of their audiences, you need to make sure that yours stands out from the pack. Providing a user-friendly experience is an excellent way to do this.
A website that is easy to navigate (and well-designed) may just convince your visitors to stay there longer. Furthermore, if they really enjoyed the experience, chances are they’ll be back later, and eventually they might turn into full-fledged customers. The best part is, all it takes is a few simple tweaks to improve visitor retention and increase conversions.
5 Vital Tips to Make Your Multilingual Website More User-Friendly
There are plenty of ways to make your website more user-friendly beyond the following five. However, we decided to focus on the techniques that will benefit multilingual websites the most. Let’s find out what they are.
1. Optimize Your Language Buttons
A language button is an element that enables users to switch languages while on a website. Despite being a relatively simple component, they still offer several options in terms of placement and design. For example, you might use dropdown menus or add flags to yours as visual aids.
Whatever design you choose, it’s important that your language buttons remain clear and easy to find. After all, you want users to be able to find them right away, in case they don’t understand your website’s native language. For these reasons, it’s usually a good idea to place your language buttons above the fold, and use dropdown menus if you have multiple options available.
Just remember to hit Save Changes when you’re done customizing your language buttons!
2. Mirror Pages for Right-to-Left (RTL) Languages
In contrast to Left-to-Right (LTR) languages, others are written from right to left. For example, Arabic script (which encompasses languages such as Persian and Urdu) employs a RTL writing system:
For RTL languages, it can make sense to mirror your entire page, including image placement, sidebars, and navigational menus. This will help to ensure the overall layout remains logical and usable for visitors that use these languages.
Fortunately, WordPress includes support for RTL languages, and it can be integrated with Weglot Translate for a better experience. What’s more, Weglot can convert RTL languages to LTR and vice versa. It automatically mirrors your page elements, and also enables you to add CSS rules to further tweak the design.
3. Avoid Redirection When Changing Languages
Many sites automatically redirect users to their homepage once they switch languages. This can be a frustrating experience, since users will have to find their way back to their previous location – which may prompt them to leave.
If you’re using Weglot Translate, you don’t need to worry about this, since we don’t implement redirects (unless you want to!). However, using other plugins may require you to adjust their settings to prevent this.
4. Automatically Detect the User’s Language
Most users don’t expect you to automatically detect their languages and switch your content accordingly, but it’s a nice surprise if you do. Furthermore, even if you have easy-to-find language buttons, some users might not be able to get to them – which makes implementing automatic switching a smart decision.
On the whole, it’s preferable to base language detection on your visitors’ default browser language. Not only is it chosen by the visitor, it’s more reliable than IP geolocalization as no official service is 100% trustworthy.
This solution may need you to get your hands dirty with code, so it’s tricky to implement. However, some plugins may offer this functionality by default – such as Weglot’s premium plans.
5. Use Top Plugins to Enhance Your Site
Among other features, this plugin analyzes your content to check for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and readability best practices, using handy checklists to make sure you’ve got everything covered. It also works seamlessly with Weglot Translate.
Other user-friendly enhancements you can make using plugins include setting up easy-to-use navigational menus and improving your site’s speed. For these features we’d recommend that you use the Max Mega Menu and WP Optimize plugins respectively.
After you’ve gone through the effort of adding new languages to your website, you’ll want to make sure you’re also offering an overall solid user experience. Making your site more user-friendly is the first step to ensuring lower bounce rates, increased conversions, and building a loyal base of visitors.
In this article we’ve covered five tips to help you enhance your visitors’ experience. Let’s recap them quickly:
- Optimize your language buttons.
- Mirror pages for RTL languages.
- Avoid redirection when changing languages.
- Automatically detect the user’s language.
- Use top plugins to enhance your site.
Do you have any tips for making multilingual sites more user-friendly? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: PIRO4D.