Ok, where should we begin? Well, I know what you’re expecting, an article filled with the same challenges, problems, and let’s face it, details of the pretty awful year we all experienced in 2020 (ok so we had to add in a little bit of gloom somewhere).
But, let’s leave that at the back – we all know that story – we’re only here for the positives *erase all personal memories of 2020*, the learnings, the surprising team building virtual moments, and hitting 500k MRR in December.
So, get yourselves comfortable, grab a coffee, and read all about how ultimately 2020 proved to be the most successful year yet for us, and even more importantly, we learned that even when we’re apart, we can still accomplish a lot.
How we grew during a lockdown
In January, with the whole of 2020 ahead of us, we were ready to go. What no one in the world had imagined was the start of a series of heavy lockdowns that would change human behavior for quite possibly, forever.
That shift meant certain industries flourished during the pandemic, namely tech, and ecommerce. The lockdown had a huge impact on businesses going online. More businesses online meant more companies wanted to add multilingual capabilities.
And, that’s where we came in. In the first few months of the pandemic, we had our biggest months to date which saw us double our users in 2020 and reach 500k+ MRR as we mentioned in the intro.
But, we were aware that Weglot was one of the fortunate businesses that could carry on during such a difficult time, so we also wanted to do more to give back.
We started in March by offering free website translation to those helping to give vital information about COVID-19 to their local or global communities. One particular highlight was supporting Cardmedic – who provides digital flashcards to help Covid-19 patients understand staff. They added 10 languages in total – allowing hospitals all over the world to benefit from their flashcards.
And, it didn’t end there. After discussing internally, we decided not to take part in Black Friday or Cyber Monday in 2020. But, instead, donate 50% of sales made on those days to organizations helping people impacted by the pandemic. In total, we raised more than €20,000 and in the future, we hope to be able to continue supporting key global causes wherever we can.
The Weglot product
3 billion translated pages served in 2020 compared to 1 billion in 2019 meant there was a lot of activity in the development team camp last year. The main goal of 2020 (and every year to be honest)? To keep improving the functionality of Weglot based on the feedback coming from our roadmap and support channels.
Oh yeah, about that roadmap. We introduced it at the beginning of last year so our users could have a place to list features they want to see next. Of course, we’ve always been listening to our users’ feedback, now we’ve just got an even better place to collect it!
Some of the features you may have noticed last year included excluding URLs by language, better URL management, exporting translations based on filters, external links translation, glossary rule import, Brazilian Portuguese, updated statistics… The list doesn’t stop there and you can find them all on our changelog.
Did we mention that the changelog is new as well? Every couple of weeks you’ll find our latest feature updates over there.
Headed up by Floran, Etienne, and Nicolas – the Weglot dev team has put in more hours than ever to keep improving the performance, UX, and functionality of Weglot.
So, what about those improvements then? The Weglot Dashboard had a major glow up:
Our second big feature was creating the URL manager. This made crawling your URLs simpler. Instead of manually visiting your translated pages, the URL crawler does the work for you so your translations appear instantly in your translations list.
And, let’s not forget the updates to the visual editor. From highlighting the type of translation quality to editing SEO metadata directly in a preview of your website, the visual editor became even more user-friendly for those who like to edit in context.
Another notable development included the launch of a brand new tool the ‘hrelflang checker’ (read more from Christophe on how he developed it). This new tool helps users (or non-users) check to see if their hreflang tags are set up correctly – which is super important for multilingual websites!
You can count on us
Doubling our users meant we helped even more customers last year. In fact, in 2020 we sent more than 100,000 messages to over 30,000 customers. And, even better, we answered 76% of questions in less than 2 hours. Go Weglot Support Team 🙌.
- 30,000+ customers helped
- 58,000+ messages sent
- 76% of customers answered in under 2 hours
- 145,798 visits to our knowledge base
You might have also spotted that the Weglot Knowledge base leveled up. Those emails you send to us? Well, we’re constantly monitoring the most frequently asked questions and then support hero Guillaume turns them into new articles.
And, all those hours put into the knowledge base worked! In fact, the number of emails coming from the knowledge base page stayed around the 150 mark each week, even though overall visits had doubled in the last 12 months.
What about all those happy customers who sent us an email last year? Let’s take a quick look at some of the reviews that really made us blush.
We kept the promise we made in 2019 and continued to accelerate our human customer support. That means whenever you send us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org you’re talking to a human being working behind the scenes to deliver you a super speedy reply to even your most complex of questions.
But, the ‘dream team’ doesn’t always come easy and Director of Customer Experience, Karina, gave us an insight into building the support team at Weglot. However, the ‘right fit’ saw new team member Alexis join and a massive team effort that resulted in an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars across Shopify, WordPress, and TrustPilot review platforms!
Growing the Weglot brand
Internally, we all felt 2020 was the year the Weglot “brand” came together (we hope that was felt externally too!). We unified our messaging across the website, blog, social media, and our YouTube channel, and leveled up our design (goodbye 3D characters, hello new illustrations).
We produced more content than ever in 2020 with a strong focus on YouTube.
We added 27 new videos last year, covering frequently asked Weglot questions, localization tips, and new Weglot integration videos. When I say ‘we’ it’s all headed up by Merve, and apologies, that’s my face you’re seeing a bit too much of lately. But, don’t just read about it, watch them all over on our channel (and don’t forget to subscribe 😉).
As we said in 2019, we once again felt we took our marketing to another level last year – shoutout to CMO Eugène for leading us forward.
And, that all tied in nicely with our new enterprise offering, and with it came a new position – Head of Sales – that Laura filled at the beginning of the year. As something we’d never done before you could say that 2020 was the year of experimentation.
We always knew that Weglot took away the huge pain points many enterprise companies faced when looking to translate their websites. But, the question was, how do we get noticed by those big brands and companies that don’t automatically search for ‘multilingual plugins’ or ‘translation apps’?
So, there started a year of trying new things, reaching out to groups of people we’d never spoken to before, and ultimately, adding some pretty cool names to the Weglot client list: Spotify, Nikon, IBM, and WeWork to name just a few!
We also set about to share the success of many of our clients with brand new case studies gracing the Weglot website. Sunglasses brand Jimmy Fairly that saw a 10x increase in international sales after adding 3 additional languages and online presentation startup Slidebean increased their overall conversion rate by 30% after adding Spanish.
Not being able to say hello
Ok, so it wouldn’t be 2020 if we didn’t recall some of the challenges…
And, one of the main setbacks was simply getting to meet people. We really missed the face-to-face events, particularly as in 2019 we made huge progress in the number of events we attended, sponsored, or supported.
We went from sponsoring 60+ events in 2019 to just 18 that we were able to support from a distance. Thomas, who manages our partnerships and events went from traveling from country to country to hopping from Zoom meetup to Zoom meetup (always with his sidekick Roxy 🐈).
But all was not lost. We still managed to take part where we could, giving talks, sponsoring digital WordPress meetups, and taking part in various webinars.
Let’s also not forget the big year we had in terms of new affiliates, with Logan hitting the 1000 mark last year (and counting) 🎉.
Back to webinars, in 2020 we also started hosting our own. This was met with great success as we discussed multilingual SEO and international ecommerce amongst other subjects. It gave us a chance to speak directly with a new audience, showcase our expertise, and discuss with new and current users.
We also virtually met new users in Japan as Thibaud led our Weglot expansion over there! As a country we’d never reached before, it was exciting to get to know this community, which was helped of course by adding Japanese to the Weglot website. Weglot using Weglot 😀.
I’m not crying, you’re crying: Team building with a twist
2020 was the year we really understood what being part of a team meant. Separated by land and sea, well, actually more like the river Seine, the Weglot team adapted to working remotely for something like 294 days of the year.
When we said goodbye in March – not knowing the full extent of things – we didn’t realize it would be many months before we got to see each other again. Luckily, we were able to go back to the office in the summer and early Autumn (following government guidelines and of course, with no obligation) but October saw us head on back once again to the home office.
Or, if you live in Paris, your living room/ kitchen/ office, maybe even your bedroom.
But, we’re super lucky to have Office Manager Meryl to organize afternoon Pictionary games, lunchtime fitness classes, group cooking, and probably the most interesting yet…yoga for the eyes. And, let’s not forget our Christmas party where we logged on for a virtual cheese tasting class.
Who knew eating on screen, getting sweaty, and scribbling doodles would still ensure we were spending quality time together. But, I think I speak for us all when I say we’re looking forward to regular service resuming with non-virtual after-work drinks and about 3 missed parties to make up for…
If there’s a Weglot blackout at any point this year, you know where to find us.
And whilst we weren’t able to be in the Weglot office, we certainly couldn’t forget where we worked, with new Weglot merch keeping us well and truly branded.
On the subject of the team, we also grew again last year. With a new support hero – Alexis, our first sales position – Laura, and the usual superstar interns that end up teaching us more than we do them 😉. Shout out to Thomas, Natalie, John, Sean, Fanny, Margaux, Emile, and Merve.
A bigger team has meant we’ve outgrown our office, so in July of 2021, we’ll be moving into a larger place so we can welcome even more new team members. And, talking of new team members, this month Edson will join as our WordPress developer and we have another 3 open positions.
And, that’s a wrap on 2020
So, whilst for Weglot, 2020 wasn’t the gloomy year we had imagined, we’re fully aware that we wouldn’t be where we are without our customers, partners, subscribers, families, friends, and everyone else that supported us last year!
What’s next? Bigger developments to the Weglot product, serving more enterprise & non-enterprise customers and growing the team.
So a big thank you for being part of our 2020 – we couldn’t do it without you 🌎