With the right plugin, you can create a multilingual website using WordPress in very little time. However, offering content in more languages also means that you need to optimize your website’s performance, since you’ll be expecting a lot more traffic.
By ‘optimizing’ your site’s performance, I mean ensuring that you offer an intuitive, smooth experience for every user. If you know what issues to look for in a multilingual WordPress website, you’ll be able to decrease your loading times, maintain reliable uptime, and direct visitors to the right page right away.
In this article, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite topics – WordPress optimization. More specifically, we’re going to focus on four ways to improve multilingual WordPress websites. Let’s get right to it!
1. Use a Lightweight WordPress Translation Plugin
Translation involves a lot of work. If you want to translate your WordPress website ‘by hand’, you would have to create unique subdirectories or domains for each language. For each subdomain, you’d need to recreate your full website and convert its content into your target language.
Depending on your website’s depth and your expertise, the entire process can take days, weeks, or even months. If you hire a professional, then you’re looking at thousands of dollars in costs.
WordPress translation plugins enable you to sidestep most of these roadblocks. Using Weglot, for example, you can connect your WordPress website to the platform via the official plugin. Then, you can select which language you want to translate your website into and Weglot does the work for you:
Weglot’s key advantage is that it uses its own platform to manage translations. On top of being able to translate your site instantly, the process puts much less of a burden on your site’s resources (which is what makes it a ‘lightweight’ plugin).
It’s also worth noting that although Weglot uses machine translation by default, you can also request professionals to do the job manually or edit the translations yourself. If you want to edit any translations on your site, you can do so through the platform at any time.
I’ve had the pleasure to speak with Weglot’s co-founder in the past, and can say that this plugin is a prime solution for making your WordPress site multilingual. I have a lot of experience optimizing and maintaining WordPress websites, and know how to spot a quality product – this one definitely fits the bill.
2. Redirect Visitors to the Right Language
One issue that some multilingual websites face is that users fail to realize that they can browse your content in their own language. This can happen even if you use a plugin such as Weglot, which automatically sets up a language switcher on your site:
You can even edit your language switcher’s appearance using custom CSS and a variety of pre-determined settings:
However, the only way to ensure that no visitor misses the translated versions of your site is to implement automatic redirection. This enables your website to detect which language visitors are browsing in. If you have a translated version of your site in that language, then users will automatically be redirected to it.
Weglot includes an automatic redirection feature, which can improve your multilingual website’s performance dramatically:
By offering automatic redirection, you should be able to cut down your website’s bounce rate. Visitors who don’t understand your site’s default language are less likely to leave without finding the switcher and they’ll be able to experience your content without any delays.
3. Translate Your WooCommerce Products
If you happen to run a WooCommerce website, adding new languages is arguably more complicated than with a ‘regular’ WordPress project. Depending on your store’s size, you may have dozens or hundreds of individual product pages to translate in addition to your other pages and posts.
Additionally, you’ll need to consider your WooCommerce store’s international marketing strategy. Multilingual Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires even more research and careful planning than tackling this task exclusively in English. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you, including several SEO forums.
Plus, a lot of translation plugins are compatible with WooCommerce to help you convert your product pages into other languages. However, they can also have an impact on your website’s performance due to poor optimization or not being able to manage a large library of content.
If you’re using Weglot, that shouldn’t be an issue. The platform works perfectly with WooCommerce, as well as other e-commerce platforms such as BigCommerce. Translating WooCommerce pages works the same as with standard WordPress content, which means that you can have your multilingual store up and running pretty instantly.
More importantly, since Weglot is optimized for performance, your translated WooCommerce store should load just as fast as the original. However, to ensure that’s always the case, you’ll need to use a web host that cares about page speed.
4. Choose a WordPress Hosting Provider That’s Optimized for Performance
Creating a multilingual WordPress website means that you’re likely planning to attract audiences from all over the world. To offer visitors the best possible experience, you need to consider using a web host that offers top-notch performance and multiple server locations.
Ideally, you should host your website on a server that’s physically located as close as possible to your core audience. However, as you start adding new languages, your site’s traffic will probably increase, which can have an impact on that server’s performance.
A reliable web host will be able to keep up with increases in traffic and prevent it from affecting your website’s performance too much. At some point, you might need to upgrade your plan to handle your newly-found international audience, but that’s to be expected.
On top of that, some providers offer the use of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to help accommodate audiences that are geographically far away from your primary server. While you can always sign up for a third-party service to achieve the same effect, it’s convenient when this feature is included in your hosting plan.
One of the top hosting options for WordPress is WP Engine. It’s a managed WordPress hosting provider, which means it takes care of basic optimization and maintenance for your website. If you use Weglot, you’ll be glad to know that WP Engine recommends it as the best plugin for translating WordPress websites.
Optimizing your multilingual website’s performance is key if you want to impress and retain an international audience. Running a large site can be hard, so you’ll need all the help you can get. Weglot’s blog is a fantastic place to find advice, but if you’d like some more hands-on assistance, consider checking out our WP Buffs Care Plans.
As far as performance is concerned, here’s what you can do to optimize your multilingual WordPress website: