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How to Create a High-Performing Multilingual Website with WordPress.com and Weglot

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The internet has made our world a much smaller, more accessible place. Today, there are more than 4.66 billion internet users worldwide. So, as a website owner, your content is accessible to vast volumes of people from anywhere in the world! 

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or a business veteran, why not think bigger? Go global. Thanks to intuitive website builders and translation plugins, entering the international market is much simpler than ever before.

With WordPress.com, you can quickly launch a high-performing, flexible site. This fully hosted website service takes the stress out of managing servers, hosting, or security as it handles that all for you. 

Don’t mistake WordPress.com for WordPress.org though – WordPress.org is an open-source framework that requires you to manage these aspects yourself.

Once you’re set up with WordPress.com, you can grow your international visibility. If you’re unsure where to begin, don’t worry, we’re explaining how to achieve precisely that in this article. 

Introducing: The WordPress.com Business Plan

When you first sign up to WordPress.com, you’re faced with a choice of pricing plans, including their freemium package and Personal plan. However, we highly recommend plumping for the Business plan as this is especially suited to the needs of multilingual websites. 

It’s highly customizable and enables you to start downloading and using plugins to expand your website’s functionality. There are tons of plugins that can help meet the needs of international audiences. It also provides enhanced performance and security measures like automatic backups, excellent navigation, seamless integrations with CRM systems, and easy payment processing.

You can learn more about WordPress.com’s Business plan here.

With all that in mind, let’s now take a closer look at what you need to know to create a multilingual website.

What Websites Benefit from Translation?

There are many reasons a business might profit from localizing its content. So, even if you’re just starting out and not yet considering globalizing your business, we urge you to read on anyway. Below you’ll get an idea of what you could do in the future to reach new audiences.

Whether you’re an eCommerce store owner, blogger, or selling digital products, the advantages to translating your website are eloquently summarized in the stats below:

  • As many as 56% of people place greater value in reading product information in their native tongue over lower-priced products. In other words, if they can’t read about it, they might not buy it.
  • More than 50% of Google queries are in languages other than English.
  • A whopping 72.1% of internet users prefer spending time on websites translated into their native language. 

…And, of course, we don’t need to explain why corporate businesses with international offices benefit from localized websites.

Now we know the “why,” let’s move onto the “how. ” Below, we’re breaking down how to easily translate your website for international visibility:

Introducing Weglot

Weglot is a website translation plugin that seamlessly integrates with your WordPress.com Business plan. With Weglot, you can quickly choose to translate your whole site from a choice of over 100 languages. Using machine translation, Weglot does this automatically – the entire process literally takes seconds. 

Unlike other website translation tools, Weglot translates text strings on all your website’s buttons, widgets, and plugins. So, rest assured, Weglot translates every piece of your website’s content for complete localization. 

Once the initial machine translation is complete, you can further refine your translations by:

  • Exempting brand and/or product names from translation
  • Deciding on a specific translation that applies to individual words
  • Editing each string individually to reformulate sentences 

You can even invite collaborators to make edits from inside your Weglot account. Alternatively, if you don’t have any translators on your team, Weglot partners with many expert translators. You can hire these pros to assess and edit your translations as you see fit, directly in your Weglot Dashboard.

How to Create a Multilingual Website on WordPress.com – Step by Step

Now, let’s outline the necessary steps for translating your website:

Step 1: Create a WordPress.com Account

Head over to WordPress.com and hit ‘Get Started’ in the top right-hand corner. WordPress will then prompt you to create an account and choose a plan. If you’re still learning how to use WordPress or aren’t ready to proceed, you can select the free program. This provides you with a WordPress.com subdomain and a platform to start creating engaging content. 

However, please note that the following steps require the Business plan to be able to install plugins and enjoy WordPress’s full customizability. 

Step 2: Choose Your Domain, Title, and Theme

WordPress.com will then ask you to pick a title, domain name, and a theme for your website. Don’t worry; you can change all this later on if you change your mind.

When it comes to picking your domain, choose something easy to spell and remember – especially for international audiences. This goes a long way to ensuring visitors can find and return back to your website at a later date.

If you already have a web domain, you can connect and use it with your WordPress.com website. Otherwise, you can pick a domain name with your WordPress.com Business plan.

Your website’s title and tagline should reflect the nature of your business and summarize your services. And finally, when choosing your theme, be mindful of whether it will look acceptable to your international audiences. 

It’s essential to pick an attractive design with user-friendly navigation. Keep in mind your brand every step of the way. You’ll want to ensure your chosen theme complements your visual brand’s colors and fonts.

Step 3: Start Creating Web Pages and Content

Now, you can start creating web pages and publishing content. 

To create a new page, head to your WordPress.com Dashboard. From the menu on the left-hand side, click ‘Site’ followed by ‘Pages,’ or if you want to create a blog post, ‘Posts.’ 

Now, select ‘Add a new page.’ 

From here, you’ll be prompted to select a page layout to get started. 

Once you’ve found a template you like the look of, you can start populating it with content. 

Whether you’re creating a post or a page, always be mindful of the user experience and SEO by keeping in mind these best practices:

  • Include relevant keywords in your content. These are words and phrases that your target demographic often search for on search engines like Google.
  • Interlink your website’s content by hyperlinking to other related content on your site using relevant anchor texts
  • Be sure to break up your text into H1, H2, and H3 headers for better SEO and readability.
  • Adjust your permalinks to include keywords from your post and page titles. You can do this by navigating to Settings > Permalinks. You could even change the default setting to ‘Post Name’ to include your post titles in your URLs
  • Add alt-text containing keywords to your images. Not only is this excellent for SEO, but it’s also great for boosting your website’s accessibility. 
  • Always end your blog posts with a strong CTA (Call to action)

Step 4: Formulate a Translation Plan

Now you have some content on your site; it’s ready to be translated. But before we proceed, take a moment to assess your site to get a feel for your translation needs.

Does the whole site need translating? Do specific parts need localizing? Are you going to translate every blog post or just individual highlights? Which languages are you going to translate your site into? 

The answers to these questions should guide your translation strategy. That said, picking the languages you’ll translate your site into requires a little more consideration. To decide on the most prudent languages for your website, ask yourself the following:

  • What countries do the majority of your website visitors reside in? 
  • Where is your business based?
  • Does your business frequently interact with other specific cultures or countries? (For instance, a travel or food blog focusing on particular areas of the world)
  • Which languages are prominent in your field? (For example, French is prevalent throughout the food and wine industry, and German might be worthwhile if you’re in the automotive industry, etc.)
  • Is there another language prevalent in your country? For example, a large part of the Americas speaks Spanish, and many Canadians speak French too.

Step 5: Install Weglot

To install Weglot and start translating your WordPress.com site, follow the steps below:

  1. Head to your WordPress.com Dashboard 
  2. From the left-hand sidebar, select ‘Tools’ followed by ‘Plugins’
  3. From the left-hand menu, under ‘Manage Plugins,’ select ‘Add new,’ and search for Weglot using the search bar
  4. Once you’ve found the plugin, click ‘Install now’
  1. Now, hit ‘Activate’
  1. In a separate tab, head over to the Weglot website. From here, you can subscribe to one of Weglot paid-for plans or start a free trial. 
  2. You’ll be sent an activation email with your personal API code.
  1. Just copy this into WordPress. You’ll be prompted for the code once you click into the plugin from your dashboard. 
  1. At this point, you’ll have to disclose the ‘original language’ of your website, i.e., the language your site’s already written in, as well as your ‘destination language’s,’ i.e., the languages you want to translate your website into. Simply choose whichever languages are relevant to you. On the free plan, you can translate up to 2,000 words of content into one other language.
  1. Now, all that’s left is to hit ‘Save changes’, and Weglot will start translating your website!

Step 6: Translate Your WordPress.com Website

Once you’ve chosen your languages, you can determine how website visitors can change between languages. 

Weglot will automatically add a language switcher to the bottom right of your website. This is effectively a button that could display flags, for example, to invite users to view your website in their native language.

The language switcher can be included within blocks on your website, in your top navigation, or installed as a widget on your side or footbar. Simply select your location and design through your Weglot tab – you can display the name of the language, the language code, choose to have flags or no flags, etc. You can even edit the CSS to customize the style further. 

Now, all that’s left is to optimize your translations to your heart’s content. 

Machine translation can only go so far. This is where Weglot’s intuitive editing features come in handy for crafting more natural formulations. If you need help with this process, simply invite your in-house translator to work or order professional translations from inside your Weglot Dashboard.

Once a string is edited, it’s marked as ‘human-reviewed’ so you can keep an eye on the progress.

Step 7: Take a Final Look Over Your Website

Using Weglot’s visual editor, you can check whether your new translations over-run any text boxes on your site. These strings might need editing down. 

Once you’ve made these final edits, and you’re happy with your translations and how everything looks, you’re done! Your WordPress.com website is now ready to display multiple languages and reach audiences worldwide.

Are You Ready to Create a Beautiful, Multilingual WordPress.com Site?

WordPress.com’s Business plan enables you to integrate with the tools you need to create a beautiful, high-performing website that will appeal to all sorts of audiences. By localizing your website with a tool like Weglot, you’ll open new doors to engage audiences around the globe.

Launching your business onto the international stage is only a few clicks away – sign up to WordPress.com today and get started for free.

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