4 Important Steps to Take When Creating a Multilingual Website

With the rise in globalization and multiculturalism, multilingual websites are becoming more common. The good news? It’s easier than ever to create one.

If you want to reach a much wider range of visitors to your website, both within your own country and throughout the globe, a simple answer is to create a multilingual site.

However, before you do so, you need to think things through.

Here are four of the most important steps to take for a multilingual website.

1. Determine Which Languages to Include on Your Website

The first thing you need to decide is which languages you will include on your website.

There are numerous factors that could influence your decision. For instance, if you want to appeal to more people in your own country, you should look at the most widely-spoken languages.

In the U.S., Spanish is the most commonly spoken language after English. And in the U.K., you could consider using popularly spoken languages like Urdu and Polish.

But you may want to target people in other countries too. Therefore, make a list of the countries that you get the most traffic from or the countries that you would like to get more visitors from.

Basically, the more you research your website traffic, your customer locations, and other factors, the easier it will be to determine which languages to include on your site.

Also, bear in mind that you can’t target every language, and you’re sure to have a limited budget, so decide how many languages you can incorporate and stick to your selected limit.

2. Choose Your Domain Strategy

You have the option of either building a multilingual website with a subdomain approach or using a separate domain.

So, spend some time deciding whether it’s best to choose a single website domain that includes pages in other languages or to use separate domains for each multilingual version of your content.

Check out this helpful article to learn more about the types of domains that are available and which are best for SEO purposes.

3. Decide Whether to Use Software or a Translation Agency

You have two options concerning the actual translation of your content. For instance, if you operate an eCommerce site, you can either hire a translation agency to translate your content, or you can use eCommerce website translation software.

Translation agencies aren’t usually the best choice. They can be expensive, time-consuming, and limited in the services they offer.

On the other hand, when you use translation software, you can reliably translate your content within minutes in an affordable way.

4. Consider the Look and Placement of Your Language Selection Menu

Once you have looked at and resolved the above considerations, you need to think about where you will place your language selection menu on your website.

It needs to fit in with the UX design and functionality of your website without detracting from your content.

Many people choose to use a drop-down menu in the top right corner of their homepages because that is the most universally recognized place to put a language selection menu.

But there are other options available, such as adding a list of available languages in the header, footer, or sidebar of your website.

The design of your language selection menu is just as important as its placement.

It could be a good idea to use flags that represent the available languages, such as using Spain’s flag for Spanish. But remember many languages are spoken in different countries, so you may want to consider other options than solely using flags.

Simply using the name of the language in either or both the native language and the English translation is one choice that’s available to you.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan