One of the key benefits of running an online store versus a physical retail store is that you can potentially reach out to customers all across the world. However, once you decide to take your ecommerce store global, you’ll need a way to effectively communicate with a multilingual audience. For this, you’ll need to create a multilingual WooCommerce store.
In this article, we’ll start by discussing the business benefits of going multilingual. Then, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step tutorial explaining how to create a WooCommerce multilingual store using the Weglot translation plugin for WooCommerce.
Why you might want to create a multilingual WooCommerce store
A multilingual ecommerce site means you can potentially sell to many more customers than you could with a single language store. Even if you don’t plan to sell internationally, you might be surprised by the number of people in your own country who aren’t native English speakers.
In the USA, 41 million people speak Spanish at home, and many millions more speak another language other than English. By translating your WordPress website into additional languages, you’ll reach a wider audience and send out a positive message about your business.
Making WooCommerce multilingual not only makes it easier for those people to buy from you.
It also sends them a message that you value them and want their custom. Plus, it tells all your visitors and customers that you’re an inclusive, outward-looking brand not focused on just one group of people. That’s especially true if you create a fully multilingual WooCommerce store by translating the small details like images and ALT tags. We’ll cover how to do all this later.
Making WooCommerce multilingual will also give you better international search engine optimization and visibility. With a good WordPress multilingual plugin, you can edit your translated content to make it rank for search terms being used in different languages, and you’ll show up when people search in multiple languages and in multiple territories.
For potential customers speaking different languages, translating your WooCommerce store will improve user experience. They’ll be able to read product descriptions in their own language and work through the checkout process without having to switch to another language or use a tool like Google translate to help them. This will boost conversions and it will make it easier for people to buy WooCommerce products from you.
And even for those customers who speak English, it will build your credibility as a brand. Customers speaking translated languages will have more trust in your site and your business, and English-speaking customers will see that you’re an international brand with a wide reach.
What does that result in, in practice? One Weglot customer, La Machine Cycle Club, increased their conversion rate by 25% after making their store multilingual.
This post will show you all you need to know about creating a WooCommerce multilingual store.
How to create a multilingual WooCommerce store
We’ll show you how to create a multilingual WooCommerce store using the Weglot plugin. For this tutorial, we’ll assume you already have some products added to your WooCommerce store. We’ll also for the purposes of this article look at translating your online store from English to Spanish.
You can use Weglot to translate your WooCommerce store from over 100+ original languages to destination languages. You choose from English to Spanish, Spanish to English, or any combination of languages.
Step #1: Install and activate the Weglot translation plugin
The first thing you need to do is sign up for a Weglot account. Once you’ve created your user account, you’ll be prompted to create a new project. You can call this something like My Multilingual Online Store. Next, go to Project settings from the Weglot dashboard and copy the API key. We’ll need this to connect the Weglot translation service to WooCommerce.
Once that’s done, log in to your WordPress.org website and head over to Plugins > Add New. Search for the Weglot plugin and install and activate it to your website.
Head over to Weglot from the WordPress backend and:
- Enter your API key.
- Select the original language, i.e. the language your WooCommerce store is currently in.
- Select the destination languages, i.e. the language(s) you want to translate your WooCommerce store into.
- Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the screen to proceed.
If you head over to your online store, you’ll notice a language toggle button has been added to the bottom right corner of the screen. You can also customize the language switcher button in a variety of ways. Your site’s visitors will be able to use this to translate your language into the available destination languages.
Step #2: Translate product pages
Weglot translates not just posts and pages (including the home page) in your WordPress site but also custom post types and custom taxonomies, including WooCommerce products and their categories and tags. So when you add WooCommerce product pages to your store, Weglot will automatically translate them for you.
Your translated products will be stored in the Translations section of your Weglot account, along with your translated posts, pages, and other content. This is where you carry out translation management. You can search for specific products to find their product translations using the Search field.
You can use the Visual Editor to check the translations and edit them if you need to.
Log into your Weglot account and then go to Translations > Visual Editor. Click the Start editing button to see your site in the visual editor.
You can then navigate to your store and to individual products in the same way as you would in the live site.
To edit the details for your product, click on the section you want to edit and then click the editing icon next to it, which is a pencil.
You can also access individual translations via the Translations screen in your Weglot dashboard. Click the Details icon next to the translation and you can edit it and view its translation history.
You can also mark the translation as reviewed so other members of your translation team know it’s been checked.
If your site is international, you might also want to add a WordPress plugin for currency conversion, so that you have a multi-currency option for customers around the world.
Step #3: Translate your shop page, cart page and checkout page
As well as individual products, Weglot will translate your WooCommerce shop page, cart page and checkout pages.
This means that the entire purchase process is conducted in the user’s language, meaning you don’t lose potential customers because they have to switch to English.
Weglot will automatically translate any store pages you add to your site. It will also translate any Woocommerce widgets such as the cart widget.
If you don’t already have them, start by creating your cart and checkout pages. Create empty static pages for each of these and WooCommerce will automatically populate them with the content of the checkout, cart, etc.
You don’t need to create a main store page as WooCommerce does that for you.
Then go to WooCommerce > Settings > Advanced and select the pages you’ve created and assigned them to the relevant WooCommerce page types.
Weglot will automatically translate those pages from your default language. To find your translated pages, go to the Translations screen in your Weglot dashboard.
Note: If you’ve added a page and can’t find it in your translations list, visit the page on your front end site in the new language. Weglot will generate the translation and add it to the list.
You can manage translations from here, editing them and marking them as viewed. Or you can go to the visual translation editor and visit your main shop page there, making any tweaks to the translated content that you might need to.
You can also check the cart and checkout pages and edit the translated text if you need to.
As customers checkout on your site, WooCommerce will generate notifications to tell them what’s in their cart. Weglot will dynamically translate these for you as they’re generated, as you can see if you check your Translations screen.
All of this means you don’t have to do anything manually to translate all of the pages, widgets and notifications in your store. Unless you want to manually edit the translated text for user experience or SEO, you can leave Weglot’s machine translation to do everything for you.
You can also create a multilingual quick order form for your store, meaning people can buy items right from the product page. To do this, use the WooCommerce Product Table plugin to decide what fields you want to add in your order form. Then use the WooCommerce Quick View Pro plugin to create a lightbox with your order form. This is fully compatible with Weglot.
Step #4: Translate your account page
Weglot will also translate your store’s Account page, meaning customers using translated languages can manage their account and get a better user experience after buying.
To do this, create an empty static page for your Account page in WordPress. Then go to WooCommerce > Settings > Advanced and select the page you just created for use as your account page. Save your changes.
Now when a customer visits the Account page, they’ll be able to see their details and their order history in their own language.
Step #4: Translate images
Weglot also lets you localise images, meaning that you can display different images to visitors using different languages.
To enable this, go to your Weglot dashboard and go to Settings > General. Toggle the Enable media translation option to on.
Click the Save Changes button then go to the Translations screen and then select Media from the filter drop-down:
Here you can access all of your media and set different images or image translation to be used in different languages. You can find out more about how to use this feature in our guide to image translation.
Translating your images like this means you can add extra gallery images to your products for customers in different countries or add different images to your blog posts. It lets you create a truly localised shopping experience for users.
Step #5: Translate important SEO elements
Your multilingual site will also have elements which are important for search engine optimization; elements that can help you rank more highly in Google and other search engines.
These will include:
- URL slugs for posts, pages and custom post types
- Page and post titles
- Page and post meta descriptions
- Image alt tags
- Product categories and tags
Weglot lets you translate all of those. Let’s take a look at each.
Translating URL slugs
URL slugs are automatically generated by WordPress in your main language, and you can edit them manually in your post or page editing screen for both SEO and user experience (UX).
So if you’re writing blog posts for your store’s SEO, you can create a translated version of their slugs to target search terms that might be used in your target languages.
On the post editing screen, scroll to the bottom of the screen to the Weglot URL translate section. Here you can directly edit the URL slug for that post in the translated language.
Once you’ve done this, make sure to save your changes by updating the post. Search engines will then be able to use that slug as part of the metadata that will help them classify the site.
Translating post and page titles
Post and page titles are translated automatically by Weglot’s machine translation along with post and page content.
Just like the content, you can edit them via the Translations screen in Weglot or by using the Visual Editor. Click on the post or page title in the Visual Editor and edit the translation for SEO if you want to include keywords that people will be searching for in the translated language.
Translate page and post meta descriptions
Weglot integrates with the Yoast SEO plugin to translate content strings added by Yoast including meta descriptions.
Add a meta description to your page or post using Yoast:
Weglot will then translate this text: if you inspect the code behind your translated post, page or product, you’ll find the translated meta description.
This means that search engines can use your translated meta description to understand your site and place it higher in search engine rankings.
Translate image alt tags
When you add images of your products to your store, Weglot will translate the alt tags you add to those images.
First, make sure your product image has an alt tag. You can set this by editing the image and opening the media settings screen.
Weglot will translate this for you when you visit the product page. You can see the translated tag if you inspect the code behind the page.
Translate product categories and tags
When you add product categories to your WooCommerce store, Weglot will add them to your translations and translate them automatically.
Start by adding a product category or tag via Products > Categories or Products > Tags.
These will then be added to your translations. When you visit the translated tag or category page, you’ll be able to see them in the foreign language.
Note that if your store uses product attributes, these will be translated too.
Like other content, you can access these translations via the visual editor or the Translations screen in Weglot and manually edit them if you want to optimise them for SEO or UX and include keywords.
Case study: La Machine Cycle Club
La Machine Cycle Club added translation to their WooCommerce store with Weglot.
They chose to combine machine translation and human translation, editing the automatic translations Weglot provides manually where needed.
The La Machine website is translated from English to Dutch and German; the team do the Dutch translations themselves and work with a German translator to perfect the German translations.
Since making their site multilingual with Weglot, the site’s conversion rate has increased by 25%, a significant proportion of sales which they otherwise would have missed out on. You can have these benefits too when you make your WooCommerce store multilingual with Weglot.
Create your multilingual WooCommerce store today
If you’re running an online store that caters to a global target market or non-English speaking countries, you’ll need a way to translate your WooCommerce store into different languages.
The easiest way to do this is by using a multilingual WooCommerce plugin, like Weglot.
You can maximize conversions by making the whole store multilingual: your products, the cart, checkout pages – plus WooCommerce widgets and notifications to deliver a good user experience and improve the purchasing user flow.
You’ll also get a boost to multilingual SEO when you translate SEO elements like meta descriptions, product categories and alt tags.
Enjoy a WooCommerce multilingual store, and translate today!