How to choose a multilingual content management system (CMS) that works for your business

English is the most common language used on the Internet, but only 25.9% of Internet users speak English as their first language. That is why it becomes important that you offer your website in many languages. There are many reasons why you might want to use a multilingual CMS. One of the reasons could be that you want to expand your operations and scale your business globally. You will also need multilingual content to enter new markets and reach new audiences in specific countries. A multilingual Content Management System also becomes necessary if you want to offer products and services in multiple languages.

As a business owner, it’s important to understand the benefits of using a multilingual CMS. The right CMS will help you reach out to more customers, increase your sales, and improve your brand image.

In this article, we’ll explore how to choose a multilingual CMS that works for your business. We’ll also discuss some of the top CMSs for multilingual websites.

Multilingual content: Why do you need it?

Multilingual content is content that’s available in various languages, personalized, and localized to a target audience. 

This can include blogs, social media posts, website copy, videos, and so on. Multilingual content isn’t just content translated from the main language to one or more target languages. It involves taking steps to build trust with your audience, speak their language and understand their cultural references. 

As of April 2022, the Internet has 5 billion users worldwide, which accounts for 63% of the global population. China, with 765 million, has the highest number of internet users in the world, followed by India with 391 million. Brazil, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Germany, and Indonesia are other countries that have a very high number of internet users in the world. And, English is not the first language in any of these countries.

Communication lies at the heart of customer interaction. By incorporating different languages into your communication, you can enhance the overall customer experience. It’s okay to stick to English for English-speaking countries, but what about the others? English is, without a doubt, the most dominant language on the Internet, but the reality is only 25% of Internet users use English. If you do not offer multilingual content, you are actually ignoring the remaining 75%.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you immediately start getting your content translated into multiple languages. As a business, you must already have a marketing strategy aimed at different geographical locations. However, the purpose of your content is so much more than just driving sales or increasing web traffic. It’s about building a relationship of trust with your customers. How do you build trust if you are not talking to your customers in their preferred language? If your online content is in English only, you run the risk of alienating a lot of potential customers.

How does multilingual content help your business?

56.2% of customers are willing to pay more if a website supports their native language. There is a very strong link between the language of a website and the customer’s likelihood of making a purchase. Given a choice, 9 out of 10 users would prefer to visit a website in their own language.

Having a multilingual website can offer many more benefits for your business.

It helps reach customers in different countries who speak different languages

The English language no longer has a monopoly over the Internet. Compared to the 90s when websites were only made in English, only 62% of online content is available in English now. Considering that English is not the first language of 75% of Internet users, there is a huge demand for content in other languages.

The biggest benefit of multilingual content is that it has the capability of reaching a much wider audience than English-only content.

It helps improve SEO

All businesses want their website to be at the top of a Google search. That’s because only 25% of users go on to the second page of a search result page. If your website is not on the first page, it may as well be invisible. However, search results also depend on language to some extent. The Google search page may look entirely different if you search for a term in Spanish versus English.

Naturally, if you offer content in multiple languages, it’s a lot easier for customers who speak that language to find your website. By optimizing your content for local keywords you can rank higher in search engines for specific keywords in local languages, which may result in more traffic and conversions.

It helps communicate with clients

Multilingual content helps you communicate with customers, who might not understand your brand otherwise. The better your customers understand what your brand stands for, the more it can lead to new business opportunities. Multilingual content definitely creates a better user experience. Think about it: Do you consume media in a language that you don’t understand? Likewise, your users prefer websites that offer content in a familiar language. And more visitors to your website means greater visibility and more leads for your business.

It helps enter and tap into new markets that were previously inaccessible because of language barriers

By offering multilingual content, you can reach a larger demographic not only in your home country but also worldwide.

How does a multilingual CMS help your business?

A multilingual CMS enables businesses to translate their website into multiple foreign languages, creating a wider reach and better user experience. It also helps reduce costs because a multilingual CMS comes with in-built translation tools.

Having a multilingual CMS also has the following benefits:

Save time and resource

Managing a website catering to audiences from different regions requires a multilingual CMS to save time and resources. A CMS makes it easier to streamline content production and localization tools.

Bridge the communication gap

If you cater to audiences in different regions, English should not be the only language you rely on to communicate with your audience. Everyone in your audience may not be fluent in English. Some may know just enough to get by. If your users do not properly understand the content on your website, the risk of miscommunication increases. Unless a user is able to connect and correlate with your website, how will they make a purchase decision? Your conversion rate could also drop due to this communication gap.

60% of users will not even buy from websites that are English-based. 73% of online shoppers would buy from a website that has information in their native language.

Generate more business

A multilingual CMS can help you generate more leads, which can be helpful in generating more business. A website offering content in multiple languages is capable of better penetrating and making a lasting impression in the minds of new users. A CMS can help your website gain more exposure in different markets. More exposure leads to more revenue in the long run.

Gain competitive advantage

Entering a pre-established market is not easy. Multilingual CMS services make it easier for businesses to enter new markets, giving them an edge over their competition.

What makes a good CMS?

The best CMS should allow you to easily add more languages as and when required. It should do so without causing any hiccups in performance or slowing down your site speeds. It should also allow you to maintain multiple locales without requiring any additional work from your end once they are added initially. A good CMS should also allow you the flexibility to present multilingual content in interesting and unique ways. It also produces simple, clean, and valid code that makes your website search-engine friendly.

WordPress for example is the most widely-used CMS, powering over 43% of all websites on the globe. It’s easy to customize and offers a wide variety of free and premium plugins and themes.

Building a multilingual WordPress website

Multilingual websites on WordPress do incredibly well with a translation tool such as Weglot. 

Weglot gives you instant website translation on a single interface, without the use of any code. It lets you add many features to your multilingual website:

Customize the language bar

Weglot setup

If you want, you can also customize the language bar that helps to switch between languages. Go to WordPress dashboard>>Weglot>> Main Configuration and look for the section headed “Language button design.”

You can use it to customize the appearance of your language switcher as you see fit. You may display country flags or use the full name of languages.

Configure other settings

Weglot settings

Besides the language button, you can also change other settings. The default setting of the Weglot plugin translates everything on the webpage. However, if you want certain parts to not be translated, you can exclude that content by going to the Translation Exclusion tab.

Edit translations manually

edit translations manually

Translating an entire page may not always be a good thing. Languages have nuances and sometimes they may get lost in translation. With Weglot, you can manually edit the translations so that your website delivers the right message.

All you need to do is go to the Weglot Dashboard and then go to “Visual Editor.” Click on “Start Editing” and an editor will open up. You can now manually rewrite any translations that you think are not appropriate.

Translate widgets

Widgets are used on many websites. If you are not translating your widgets, you may create a confusing experience for your users. By translating the widgets, you create an entire website and not just parts of a website in the native language of your user.

Translate your website images

Translate media language weglot

Translating your entire website, including images and video content gives a more personalized experience to your users.

In addition, Weglot also helps you to:

  • Translate your SEO keywords. The keywords that you use for SEO in English may not be as effective in French or German. Weglot helps you optimize your website for a global audience.
  • Successfully run an ecommerce business for global markets. With Weglot, you can not only translate your e-commerce website but also localize the checkout experience. It also helps you implement marketing and branding strategies that will be more effective in the local market.
  • Create new revenue streams through language localizations for new markets. Languages have various nuances. For instance, the idioms and phrases used in one language may not be used in another. Language localization helps to translate them into phrases more appropriate in the destination language.

Best practices for translating your website

Choose what to translate

You should first determine whether you want to translate a few pages of your website or your entire website. Sometimes translating the entire website may not be necessary, especially if you have different sections for different regions or countries.

Weglot gives you instant translations directly in your website, without having to copy/paste and risking mistakes. It supports over 100 languages including French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, etc, with more being added regularly.

Follow best practices for multilingual SEO

Multilingual SEO refers to optimizing your website for different languages. Doing so ensures that your website remains on the first page of search engine results, helping people in different countries find your website without any difficulty.

Here are a few tips to improve multilingual SEO:

Use dedicated URLs

One of the biggest problems with multilingual websites is the duplication of content. If you want to avoid duplicate content use dedicated URLs that also include a language indicator. For example, the original website is www.abc.com. However, for the French version, you could create a URL such as www.abc.com/fr/.

Translate your metadata

Besides the content of your website, your metadata also plays a significant role in the ranking of your website. That is why it’s also very important to translate the metadata. Translating the metadata is very simple with Weglot. It automatically detects the metadata and translates it. However, if you want to edit the translation, you can always do so. For instance, the keywords that you use in the English language may not have the same impact in French. You need to use keywords according to your target market.

Use a language switcher

By having a language switcher on your website, you give your visitors the option to switch between different languages on your website. Say someone’s first language is Spanish but they also speak English well. Such a person would have the choice to either read your website in English or switch to Spanish, which is their preferred language.

A language switcher is not only great for SEO but also helps you gain customer confidence. It shows that you care about your customers’ choices and preferences. For example, you may have an online store in the US but also want to sell your products to shoppers in Germany. Even if your clients are fluent in English, they may want the product information in German and you should be able to provide it to them.

Apply hreflang tags

Google uses hreflang tags to determine the language of your webpage and the region that it’s intended for. You should add hreflang tags to your website to ensure it becomes visible to people in different countries. If your website caters to multiple regions, you can even add multiple hreflang tags.

Conclusion

For many customers, your website is often their first point of contact with your business. With businesses going global, websites should be capable of catering to a global audience. 

A multilingual website improves your chances of reaching a wider audience, improving conversion rates and boosting your cross-border online sales, giving you an edge over the competition. Multilingual sites also help brands deliver a personalized customer experience, showcasing their business as customer-centric. 

By offering quality content in the native languages of your visitors, you can make them feel welcome and appreciated, which translates into greater commercial success.

Using web translation tools makes it easy for anyone without technical knowledge or experience in translation to create a multilingual website. 

To easily turn your business website into a multilingual site, try Weglot today.

Interested in trying Weglot for free?
Try our 10-day free trial and see how quickly you can have a multilingual website up and running!
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