To boost your blog readership, you may plan to make your blog available in different languages. While doing so necessarily involves creating multi-language blog content, this effort is only one part of the equation for a successful multilingual blog.
For one, you’ll need to decide how you’ll organize your blog’s translated content. You’ll also have to think about how you can attract international readers to your blog in the first place.
As experts in multilingual website creation, we’d love to help you address these issues and more. Read on as we share how you can translate your blog content and ways of organizing your translated pages (including how these could affect your search engine rankings).
Finally, we’ll end with a few tips for improving your multilingual blog’s search traffic and providing readers with a good user experience.
How can you translate your blog content?
Rely on in-browser translation
A straightforward method of offering translated versions of your blog content is to rely on in-browser translation.
Most modern browsers include built-in translation tools for translating web content into another language. For example, if you were using the Chrome browser, you could right-click a post on your blog that you want to translate, then click the “Translate to” option.
Doing so will load Google Translate, where you can select the language to translate your post into. This enables users to easily translate your blog content themselves without the need for you to create and publish separate different-language versions.
That being said, there are several downsides to relying on in-browser translation. First and foremost, this translation method is not especially user-friendly, as it places the onus on your website visitors to translate the content themselves.
On top of this, as you have no control over the translation that is output by in-browser translation tools, you’ll also risk your website visitors only having access to translations that may not be completely accurate and that won’t have taken your readers’ cultural preferences into account.
By relying on in-browser translation tools, you’ll also miss out on any search engine optimization (SEO) benefits of offering separate different-language versions of your blog content. For all intents and purposes, you will only be offering a single version of your content, which your website visitors will then translate themselves. This means that your content won’t be optimized to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs) for different languages.
We’ll take a look at strategies for optimizing your multilingual content for better search engine visibility a little later in the article. First, though, let’s take a look at some more comprehensive solutions for translating your blog content.
If ensuring the accuracy of your translated blog content is your priority, human translation may be the way to go. It involves getting a person to manually translate your blog posts, then adapt the translations for your target audience. This person could be yourself if you’re fluent in the target language(s), a team member with such language proficiency, or a professional translator.
Undertaking human translation could be a reasonable solution if you have only a few blog posts to translate and intend to post multilingual blog content infrequently. Otherwise, you may find the option unscalable for these reasons:
- Human translation is time-consuming: This is due to the manual nature of the work. To free up your schedule, you could outsource the translation work to external agencies. However, there will still be some delay of at least a few days or weeks before you receive your translated blog posts.
- Professional translation can be expensive: The costs of hiring professional translation services range from $0.08 to $0.25 per word on average, and can quickly balloon if you have many blog posts to translate. The agency may also charge for editing and proofreading separately from translation, and such work will only further drive up your costs.
- Managing multiple translation projects can be a hassle: Whether you’ve delegated the work to an internal team member or an external translator, you’d still need to manage each blog post translation project separately. The more projects you’re juggling at once, the less attention you’d be able to spend on each one. You may introduce more room for the making of mistakes as a result.
Using human translation won’t take care of how you’ll display those translations back onto your website. This will require additional time from your developer team and additional management.
In machine translation, you’ll translate text using software specially programmed for this purpose. The software evaluates the source text, then applies prediction algorithms to determine the most appropriate way of translating it.
Machine translation can translate text – even large quantities of it – in a matter of minutes. It’s also relatively affordable to deploy. For these reasons, it’s generally the most efficient and cost-effective method of translating blog content. Leading machine translation providers in the market today include DeepL, Yandex, and Microsoft Translator.
Although current machine translation technology is quite sophisticated and is only getting better over time, the translated output may still require further refining for accuracy. So if machine translation sounds like the way forward for translating your blog, invest in a solution that can deliver the highest-quality blog translations possible.
Our Weglot website translation software uses machine translation providers, combining the best of both worlds, with a first layer of machine translation and then complete editing control. Once you’ve integrated Weglot with your blog, it immediately scans the content to identify all its posts, then instantly translates your blog content using the machine translation provider that delivers the highest accuracy for your chosen language pair. After that, Weglot displays the resulting translations under language subdomains or subdirectories.
All translations are then stored in a central dashboard, and here you can make manual edits and invite internal team members and external agencies to your Weglot Dashboard so they can help with editing, proofreading, and localizing your translated posts before they are published.
Weglot then continuously syncs with your site content and automatically detects and translates every piece of new content you publish.
Being a dedicated website translation solution, Weglot also offers features for optimizing your blog posts for search engine traffic that other general-purpose machine translation tools may not provide. (You’ll learn more about these features as you read on!)
How should you organize your multilingual blog content?
Once you’ve translated your blog content into different languages, you’ll need to decide how to organize these different translations on your blog.
The easiest way is to upload your translated pages to the same directory (or file folder) you use to store your original posts. When you do so, however, you may end up mixing all your different-language posts together such that your blog feed displays one post in one language, the next post in another language, and the post after that in yet a different language, and so on. This presentation doesn’t provide the best user experience to readers who want to read your posts in just one language.
Apart from that, storing all your multilingual blog content in the same directory could indicate to search engines that your blog isn’t targeted at searchers who speak any particular language. Search engines may therefore not display your blog content as prominently for the people for whom you’ve translated your posts.
Neater methods of organizing your multilingual blog content include using subdomains or subdirectories. Both of these options also have other advantages, as you’ll read about below.
Subdomains are sections of a website with separate domain names. They all have prefixes before the main domain and are displayed as follows:
If you organize your multilingual blog content using subdomains, you’ll store each language version of your posts in its own subdomain. For example, “en.yoursite.com” and “es.yoursite.com” could be subdomains for separating your English and Spanish-language blog content respectively.
Although subdomains are still part of your main website, search engines treat them as separate websites when indexing and ranking their pages. As a result, the domain authority of your blog content on one subdomain doesn’t influence that of your blog content on another subdomain. This lets you rank your content on each subdomain separately, without muddying your signals to search engines as to your content’s target language users.
That said, be prepared to spend more resources ranking the content on your different subdomains. With one subdomain’s authority having little to no impact on that of another subdomain, you’ll have to work on ranking each subdomain’s content separately. This includes researching high-potential keywords, producing blog content, and building backlinks.
Doing all this for just one website can be challenging enough, and the difficulty only increases if you have to repeat the work for each subdomain you own.
If the effort involved in maintaining subdomains doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, try organizing your multilingual blog content using subdirectories instead. Also known as “subfolders”, subdirectories help divide a website into separate sections. Their URL structure looks like this:
All blog content in your default language will live in one subdirectory, while other language versions of your blog content will live in other subdirectories separately. For example, “yoursite.com/en” could be your subdirectory for English-language blog content, while you use the “yoursite.com/es” subdirectory for Spanish-language blog content.
Unlike subdomain content, search engines regard subdirectory content as part of the main website. This is regardless of how many levels of subdirectories you create, such as “yoursite.com/blog/en/2023/03/01/my-post”. (That said, we’d advise against creating too many layers of subdirectories, as doing so can make your URLs unnecessarily long and difficult to read.)
From an SEO perspective, using subdirectories is, therefore, a good choice if you want all your blog pages – regardless of their language – to share the same authority as your main website. This could be where all your blog content covers the same topic and is meant for the same target audience, for example. In this situation, it would be advantageous for any authority that one blog post accrues to beef up the authority of your other pages – and of your blog as a whole.
In general, both subdomains and subdirectories are better options for organizing your multilingual blog content than uploading everything into the same directory. While ranking content in different subdomains will take more time and effort, this endeavor can pay dividends if you want to rank the different language versions of your blog as cleanly and separately from each other as possible. In contrast, if you’d rather have all your multilingual blog posts contribute toward your blog’s overall authority, organizing your blog content in subdirectories may be ideal.
Regardless of whether you decide to use subdomains or subdirectories, Weglot can help – while translating your blog, it automatically creates and organizes your translated content in your preferred directory structure!
How to write a successful multilingual blog
Translating and organizing your content is only part of the picture when it comes to running a successful multilingual blog. In order to ensure your content resonates with readers – and, in fact, that anybody reads your multilingual content at all – there are a few main things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Localize your multilingual blog content
When creating multilingual blog content, just translating your posts into your readers’ native languages isn’t always enough. You may also want to localize your content.
Localization is the process of adapting your content to cater to the local context of your target audience or market. It’s an essential aspect of multilingual blog post creation as it makes your content more relevant to the people you’re trying to reach. This can, in turn, help drive conversions for your blog, whether in terms of newsletter sign-ups, webinar registrations, product sales, or something else.
To localize your content, look into tasks such as:
- Adapting your blog posts’ phraseology: As certain words and phrases are unique to the specific culture or region from which they originate, they may not make sense when directly translated into a different language. If this is the case, adjust such phrases in your translated content so that they evoke the intended meaning.
- Refining your translations for cultural nuances: When producing blog content for a particular audience, look into injecting local slang, dialect, or jargon into the text. This helps your content better appeal to local readers as they perceive it to speak their language. Consequently, they may spend more time engaging with it.
- Reformatting your content to match local formatting conventions: For example, if you have translated your blog content into a language that’s read from right to left (RTL), such as Hebrew or Urdu, you’ll need to display your blog content in RTL format.
Optimize your multilingual content for higher search engine visibility
Having your blog content rank well on the SERPs is a fantastic tactic for getting long-term traffic to your blog with little promotion. Here are some ways you can improve your blog posts’ search engine rankings:
- Conduct international SEO keyword research: Which search terms (or “keywords”) are your international readers using to get information online? Identify those with business value to you so you can produce blog posts targeting each of them. Read more about international SEO keyword research here.
- Implement hreflang tags: These are HTML code snippets that signal to search engines a web page’s language and the geographical region for which it is intended. They hence help search engines decide which language speakers, and which countries, your content should be served to. Hreflang tags come in a specific format and implementing them yourself can be troublesome. But with Weglot, they are automatically added to your translated pages for you.
- Pay attention to your target search engine’s webmaster guidelines: Each search engine has its own set of webmaster guidelines for helping its crawlers better understand, index, and rank content. If you know your target audience primarily conducts searches using a particular search engine, look up that search engine’s webmaster guidelines to find out how you can optimize your posts for the highest rankings on its SERPs. Explore the most popular international search engines and some factors they use for ranking content here.
Translate all other (non-blog) content on your multilingual blog
In your eagerness to translate your blog posts, don’t neglect to translate all the other content on your blog! Users may have a poor reading experience if only certain parts of your blog are in a language they understand.
Examples of non-blog content to translate are:
- Header and sidebar menu text and widgets
- eCommerce pages
- Landing pages
- Website metadata
This tip also applies to your blog’s promotional efforts. If you have created social media posts to promote blog content in a different language, translate and localize these posts as well. Likewise, for ad copy you have written for international PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns. All these can be important avenues for driving traffic to your blog.
If you’re concerned about the time, effort, and expense it will incur to translate all of this content, it is worth noting that Weglot automatically translates all such content it finds on your blog for you, saving you the hassle of hunting down and translating all these manually.
The above tips only scratch the surface of the steps you can take to help ensure the success of your multilingual blog. If you run your blog on WordPress, check out more best practices for running a multilingual WordPress website here.
Level up your multilingual blog creation workflow
Unless you have a team of writers who can produce multilingual blog content in many languages from scratch, you’d likely have a master blog post in one language that you’d translate and repurpose for readers who understand a different language.
Of the various options for translating content, machine translation provides the best balance between quality and cost considerations. It’s therefore our recommended translation method if you’re a blogger looking for an effective yet budget-friendly way of translating multi-language blog posts at scale.
Trusted by over 60,000 websites globally, Weglot can help translate your blog content instantly. With automatically created subdomains and subdirectories, it helps you organize your translated posts, and direct their influence on your main domain’s authority, with ease.
Other useful SEO features, such as hreflang tag implementation, also set your blog up for the highest-possible rankings on the SERPs. With Weglot doing most of such heavy lifting automatically, you can focus your efforts on localizing your blog posts as you aim to publish exceptional content for your readers.
Start translating your blog content for free by signing up for a 10-day Weglot trial here.