The primary reason for making your Squarespace website multilingual is to reach new markets. English speakers make up just 53% of web users – meaning there’s a whole 47% of people you’re currently not targeting – that’s a lot of people (and business) you could be missing out on.
And, if you were hoping potential customers would use the ‘translate page’ in Chrome browser, then think again. No one’s going to buy your service or product this way.
How often have you come across a brand website in a foreign language and not had the option to view it in your language? It’s an instant bounce.
There’s no trust for the end user if they can’t understand the product or service they want to purchase.
Choosing to speak to potential customers in their own language sees massively positive outcomes.
Users in other markets will never come across your site if it’s not in their language. You’re simply invisible. But, translate your website and you’ll soon see an improvement in SEO.
Like Niel Patel – of SEO blog fame – who translated his website into 82 languages and saw a 47% increase in traffic to his blog.
Of course, 82 languages is an extreme.
But, take Weglot customer ‘La Machine Cycle Club’ which translated its website into just 2 additional languages (English & German) and saw a 50% increase in traffic and 25% increase in conversion.
“Our percentage of sales from outside the Netherlands has quickly grown to 50%.”Rens Robroek, co-founder of La Machine Cycle Club
Expanding into new markets doesn’t just have to mean going much further afield, neighbouring countries also offer big prospects for growth too.
Non-English markets are growing. Simple. The translation of your website gives you a competitive edge and going global enhances the end user experience.
Everyone doing business online should consider website translation as a way to step-up future sales prospects and that’s no different for Squarespace site owners.
There are a number of businesses where it makes even more sense to have a translated website, such as those doing international ecommerce, companies in countries with more than one language and those within travel and tourism. The list is of course extensive and something we’ve written about before.
This depends on your strategy and whether you want to have a fully multilingual Squarespace website so customers can purchase goods etc from you, or if you only require a couple of pages to give context to multilingual users.
This is a decision you’re going to need to take and it’s mainly based on price, speed and what you’re trying to achieve.
Automation gives you the speed and low cost price point, whereas human translation requires a lot more time, money and resources.
Over the last 5 years, automated translation has greatly improved with the help of artificial intelligence increasing its accuracy.
We’ve talked about the differences between human and automated translation it in great length on a previous post.
But, if you want to skip to the conclusion – our overall take was that a mix of automated and human translation provides both speed and increased localization for your new markets.
Businesses can reduce costs with a first layer of automated translation to do the big part of the job first and then add-on human translation to fine-tune brand messaging and specific nuances.
The first problem you’ll discover is that translating your Squarespace site is difficult – simply because it wasn’t designed for multilingual usage.
Squarespace recently launched its own multilingual solution, which we’ll discuss shortly. But, it’s worth noting, Squarespace doesn’t currently use their own multilingual solution for squarespace.com.
There are however several other solutions you can implement to make your Squarespace site multilingual, all with varying levels of success and we’ll go into in-depth detail on all the solutions available.
As mentioned, Squarespace has been known in the website building space to offer limited capabilities when it comes to creating a multilingual version of your site.
They have however now launched a workaround solution allowing you the option to display multiple languages on your website, which is a good solution for a small website such as a portfolio or website with under 1,000 words.
But, we must highlight a couple of shortcomings linked to this solution if you have a website that does not meet the criteria just mentioned.
Firstly, Squarespace does not offer translation capabilities. You will need to translate your content either through human or automated translation solutions before you start to build your new language pages.
Secondly, Squarespace recommends using a cover page as an opening to your website, so at this first step, users can choose their preferred language.
While on the surface, it isn’t such a bad idea, but it does create another step for the user before they can access your website, as seen below.
However, the cover page doesn’t quite make sense once you’ve selected your local language. You’re now on the website in your chosen language, but the user sees a duplicated menu.
The Squarespace multilingual solution requires you to create new pages in the new language, but displays all pages of new content on your website within the main menu, as seen in the image below.
Essentially, because you’ve duplicated multiple pages to display your translated content you’re basically running two websites. As such, maintaining this many pages is highly time consuming as any content or design changes made on one page, will need to be manually adjusted on the translated page equivalent.
The solution can only work for websites with minimum content to display. It doesn’t work for big websites that want to show the entirety of their website in new languages.
Also worth noting, this solution cannot accommodate more than one additional language, as the menu bar would start to look too overcrowded. Or a blog for that matter…
In terms of SEO, as you’re creating duplicate pages on your main website, searchability prospects are low for the translated pages and also a red flag for search bots, which penalize duplicate content.
You will, however, have a new URL of each newly translated page. But, these won’t be linked as different translated versions of the same content, so it could be hard for Google to index them well.
The main names you might have come across are:
Although there are a number of solutions to choose from, they all share the same drawbacks.
The first major drawback is a lack of multilingual SEO capabilities.
So, what does that mean for your SEO? Your translated content won’t be visible for search engines to crawl and means there’s no guarantee you’ll be visible in searches in your translated languages.
Your content will also all exists under 1 URL, which isn’t preferable for SEO and means you’ll only be SEO friendly in the original language of your site in most cases.
There are also sometimes issues with loading site pages. These solutions don’t always work seamlessly, so when switching between different languages there will be a content flash, where the user will see both languages displayed for a brief moment.
Other problems arise with sharing translated pages on social media, which is unfortunately not possible as the metadata remains in the original language.
Then, the way Multilingualizer works to make your Squarespace site multilingual is by adding your translations directly inside your page and hiding the content the visitor doesn’t want.
For example, you will create a page and add your content in both French and English. And if English is selected as the preferred language, the French content will be hidden. This could seem like a good solution but it comes with some major drawbacks too.
As explained before, Google bots work by scanning your website source code to index it. With Multilingualizer, Google will scan both your French and English content at the same time without separating both! So you will end up with pages indexed on Google with both French and English titles. Which is not the best for SEO.
There are also some drawbacks to the way those translations are displayed. Multilingualizer is unable to translate any content that isn’t coming from your Squarespace pages. For example, content coming from an external source, like a review plugin – meaning any customer reviews displayed on your website will remain in your original language.
And, if you have an ecommerce Squarespace site, your checkout cannot be translated which takes away any user friendly aspects you were hoping to build with a multilingual website – especially from an ecommerce point of view. As well as your checkout, any automatic emails sent from your website, will remain in your original site language.
Search Google for ‘Squarespace multilingual solutions’ and you’ll come across a number of developers offering free CSS code solutions to enable you to do this – without having to have multiple websites, or a selection of translated pages.
But, as with all free solutions, they come with numerous issues.
Firstly, you’ll absolutely need the input of a developer to help you implement this Squarespace multilingual solution.
These are problematic, messy solutions that require a number of ‘workarounds’ to ensure they actually work.
Such issues include problems with mobile version usability. And some users report seeing all visible parts of the website navigation whilst pages are loading in the right language (definitely not good for site speed either).
Many of the solutions are also specific to certain Squarespace templates – in other words, they’ve not been tested across other templates – so you might encounter issues here too.
You’ll also need to use custom code to adapt the language switcher to meet your design needs and more code depending on where you want to place it on your multilingual Squarespace site.
CSS solutions also don’t translate your website content either, you’ll need to arrange that yourself. This is simply a workaround to display the content.
As always, those solutions aren’t SEO-compatible so don’t expect your newly translated multilingual Squarespace site to show up on Google.
We briefly touched on this at the beginning of this guide. Yes, this solution offers the fastest way to take your Squarespace site multilingual, for zero cost, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good solution. At all.
With a Google Translate button you have the option to add 100+ languages to your Squarespace site. But, when we say “add”, the languages aren’t actually anywhere physically on your website.
This solution is just a more “sophisticated” way (and use the word sophisticated lightly) of doing what the ‘translate option’ does in your Chrome browser.
And, by sophisticated, we just mean there’s a language switcher button at the top of your Squarespace site, which actually gives out a false promise of localization.
When you see such a language switcher on big brand name websites like Adobe for example, you get used to a certain level of accuracy and context for your local language.
But, with a Google Translate button, you’re handing over all the responsibility, without the option to approve or edit the translations it’s displaying on your site. This can lead to some serious confusion for your website user, not to mention the possibility of offending them.
This also goes for your Squarespace site appearance, depending on the language you’re translating into, words can be longer or shorter. But, Google Translate cannot adjust these styling issues, the translation will appear with no consideration for design, so expect text overlapping margins and crowded menu items on your Squarespace ‘multilingual’ site.
The quality of your translations also depends on the language pair, English to French will give a better translation than say English to Chinese – which is another consideration to keep in mind.
Problems start to arise when you turn to searchability and SEO rankings. Your translated Squarespace site pages don’t actually exist on Google, so you won’t appear anywhere when someone searches in their local language.
And, without searchability, you need to ask yourself the question, is there actually any point? You’re translating your Squarespace website for a reason, to be found by new markets.
We’ve discussed a number of options that can be considered ‘workarounds’, however, there are actual workable solutions which encompass all the necessary features to create a multilingual Squarespace site.
Such as Weglot, a full product Squarespace multilingual solution. It translates and integrates your content without the need for multiple websites/ web pages and additional translation costs. View our demo site to see it in action.
Integration is simple, fast and you can have a multilingual Squarespace website in 10 minutes, with a key advantage – there’s no need for developers. Every part of your website can be translated – including your checkout (if you have one).
When you choose Weglot for your multilingual Squarespace solution you don’t need to worry about any of the SEO issues we’ve previously discussed within other solutions.
We(glot) love SEO.
All your newly translated site pages follow SEO best practices and are automatically indexed on Google – giving you actual visibility in your new language.
We translate your metadata, add hreflang tags to let Google know there are different versions of that page and we create a dedicated URL for each new language.
So you’ll actually be searchable in your new markets.
Once you’ve installed Weglot, you’ll have access to all your translations within the interface where you can manage and edit your newly translated content.
You get full translation control, with the added option of ordering human translation to fine-tune your site content. This can be done within your interface and your text will be automatically updated within 24-48 hours.
Each part of the Weglot solution has been carefully designed to consider the many aspects of making your Squarespace website multilingual.
This includes translating all metadata so you can share pages in specific languages, the option to customise your translation button and a support team at your disposal.
And, did we mention…This is the exact technique Squarespace.com is using for its multilingual capabilities.
Integration is simple.
1. Create an account on Weglot
Your Weglot account will be the place where all your translations will be stored and where you will manage them. Create your account.
2. Enter your domain URL, original and translated languages
Once your Weglot account is created and confirmed, you will see the below screen.
Enter your domain URL, your original website language and the translated languages you want to translate your website into.
You can change your translated languages later if you want.
Important: Do not enter your Squarespace temporary domain (ending with .squarespace.com)
Click “Next” to go to the next step.
3. Configure the subdomains in the DNS records
In this step, you will connect Weglot to your website using your DNS records. You should see this screen appear:
First, go to your Squarespace admin area, in Settings > Domains. You now have 2 possibilities:
a. If your domain name is managed by Squarespace
It will appear under “Managed by Squarespace”. Click on it, and then click on “Advanced settings”.
Then you can enter the DNS that are prompt, like on the screenshot below. At the end, click “Save” at the top.
b. If your domain name is managed outside Squarespace
If your domain name is managed via a third party provider (like GoDaddy, 1&1 or Google Domains etc), access the DNS settings on your Domain Name provider and add your entries there.
If you are not sure where it is, we can have a look for you. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When your entries are done, click “Check DNS”. You should see a green check mark indicating that the DNS is successfully configured. Click “Next”.
4. Install the Weglot library
Important disclaimer: You can only customize your code on a Squarespace Business plan or higher.
It’s really simple: You just need to copy the code that is shown to you on that last screen. Then go the your SquareSpace admin and paste it into Settings > Advanced > Code Injection > “Header” section.
If you have already something in this field, it’s ok, just paste it under it.
And that’s it! You’ve now got a multilingual Squarespace site. For changes like adding the language button in the menu view this guide.
Once you have selected how you’re going to translate your Squarespace website, there are a number of small details you need to consider to ensure you’ve got every aspect of multilingual website creation covered.
You might just see this as ‘design feature’, but it’s not. The aim, to make it as easy as possible for the user to get to their preferred language. And, just for your reference, we’ve gone even further into detail to help you design the ultimate Squarespace language switcher.
There are two ways you can display languages on your multilingual Squarespace site:
Looks nice right? But, remember country flags don’t represent language.
There are many countries that have more than 1 main language. For example, in Switzerland, a Swiss flag would lead to confusion for users, as both German, French and Italian are the main spoken languages.
What about Portugese, spoken in both Portugal and Brazil. Using the country flag for Brazil will alienate any Portugese speakers from Portugal.
Or, how about English. Would you choose an American, UK, Irish or Australian flag?
It might be an attractive option that looks good with the design of your Squarespace site, but remember why you’ve translated your website in the first place, to enhance the user experience.
A more user friendly idea is to use the language name to represent your website language options.
But, make sure you don’t list the languages in English, as again, it’s really not user friendly to website visitors. A mistake many sites make, even big ones.
Always use the name in the language itself, such as this vodka brand (using Weglot’s Squarespace multilingual solution).
A simplistic approach many websites are starting to take, is to list languages using the language code.
Whatever option you decide, ensure you make it as easy as possible for your website user to find their language.
If you’re using Squarespace for ecommerce purposes, then there are a couple of areas you’ll want to fine-tune to ensure your customers get the most out of your newly translated website.
Best practice would be to have the correct currency for the country you’re selling in. But, unfortunately, it’s not possible to have this feature through Squarespace yet (hopefully an area marked for development).
But, a small workaround suggested by Squarespace is to add the price in the ‘product additional information’ section. It’s indeed not an ideal solution, but one that offers slightly more user accessibility than not including it.
To do this, go to the product editor, click ‘Additional Info’.
And add a ‘text block’ to include prices in different currencies. For more details, read the full guide from Squarespace.
Turning to the practical side of things, you’ll need to make international shipping available in your Squarespace store so you can actually ship to your new customers.
Squarespace has a useful article on choosing the right shipping options.
When you choose your shipping zones there are two different options:
These are your ‘shipping rules’ – for which you’ll have a different shipping options depending on the country you’re shipping to.
To edit existing shipping options go to the Home Menu > click Commerce > then click Shipping > open a shipping method > click the Shipping zones tab. A more detailed explanation is explained in this Squarespace guide.
Of course, once you’ve translated your website with the solution of your choice, you’ll want to ensure that your users will actually understand the buying process of your Squarespace ecommerce store.
Which why it’s key your checkout is translated.
Unfortunately, all of the solutions mentioned previously cannot accommodate such a feature. Except Weglot.
The final step of the checkout process is a crucial step for you (are they going to convert or not?), so they’ll want to see this in their own language.
We’ve shown you a number of solutions to choose from when deciding to make your Squarespace site multilingual. To sum-up: