Even if the majority of your current audience speaks a single language, you keeping your site unilingual could be limiting. Doing so restricts your potential users and could lead to a decrease in conversions.
Translating your site is a smart and forward-thinking strategy. It enables you to draw in new users and makes it easier to communicate directly with non-native speakers who may be interested in your content. It’s also a lot easier than you might expect.
In this article, we’ll explore the many reasons you might want to add more languages to your site. We’ll discuss how you can expand your audience and make your site more accessible to your users. Finally, we’ll explain how you can do this yourself with a WordPress multilingual plugin like Weglot Translate. Allons-y!
Why You Should Consider Translating Your Site
Did you know that 52% of all websites are in English? This statistic might not be so shocking, considering 25% of all internet users speak the language. However, what might surprise you is that while almost a fifth of all internet users speak Chinese, not even 2% of websites offer the language.
While English has become a sort of default language online, times are changing. Internet usage in the non-English speaking parts of the world is growing rapidly, and websites should start to catch up. Sites only using English are effectively shutting out a huge, growing portion of the market.
In fact, your site might have significant untapped potential in foreign language markets. One way to find out is by investigating your site’s analytics to see where your visitors are based. If you find portions of your audience based in specific countries, you might want to consider aiming your content more to them by translating it into their native language.
You might also want to consider performing keyword research for specific locations. This will let you determine if there could be a demand for your content or products in that area.
Now, you might be thinking that while you’d like to translate your site, you don’t have the resources to do so. You may only have English speakers on your team, can’t afford to hire translators, or simply don’t have the time to manually translate the content. Fortunately, these are not the only options, and translating your WordPress website is actually much easier than you might expect. However, before we explore how to do it, let’s look a little closer at why you should.
4 Reasons to Translate Your WordPress Website
We’ve already touched on the possible benefits of creating a multilingual website. Let’s dig deeper and look at why you should consider translating your WordPress website.
1. It Expands Your Potential Audience
As we mentioned earlier, a huge portion of internet users do not speak English, or only use it as a secondary language. This fact alone should make the main benefit of creating a multilingual website clear. Quite simply, by only using English you’re closing the doors for a massive potential segment of the market.
This goes both ways too. If you use a non-English language, you’ll have an even smaller potential audience. It comes down to simple maths. By adding more languages to your sites, you’re opening it up to those parts of your potential audience who speak those languages. It probably sounds obvious, but plenty of sites overlook the possibilities for growth that translations can offer them.
Because the results speak for themselves. By translating your site into multiple languages, you can see a huge increase in traffic almost immediately. For an example of this, Neil Patel tried translating his website into several different languages and saw a 47% increase in traffic. These are numbers that should make your ears perk up, but being multilingual won’t just help bring more people to your site.
2. Native Speakers Are More Likely to Convert
Naturally, more traffic will usually translate into at least a modest increase in conversions. More users equal a greater likelihood that those users will sign up or make a purchase. However, there’s more to having a multilingual audience than sheer numbers.
It turns out that users are substantially more likely to convert if the site uses their mother tongue. Again, this might sound obvious when you think about it, but there are still plenty of sites not taking this factor into account.
Earlier we mentioned that the second most common language among internet users is Chinese, yet only a fraction of sites uses the language. If this sounds like a giant untapped potential market, you’re right. Consider how you could increase your global sales if you provide your content in Spanish (8.1% of internet users), Arabic (5.3%), and Portuguese (4.1%).
The languages you use depends largely on what locations you serve, and where you believe your target audience resides. Remember to investigate your site’s visitor statistics and perform keyword research to optimize your site for your intended audience.
3. Translations Make Your Site More Accessible
While increased conversions are naturally desirable, translation isn’t just a question of commercial growth. In fact, it’s an important part of making your site accessible. Web accessibility simply refers to the process of ensuring your site can be used by as many people as possible.
WordPress actually makes it fairly easy to create accessible sites, many thanks to the work of the Make WordPress Accessible team. Translations are no exception. The WordPress platform supports many languages, and a few years back the number of non-English installations exceeded the English ones.
This indicates that the idea of English being the default language online is slowly eroding. Simply catering to an English-speaking audience is both financially unviable, but culturally inattentive. As we already touched on, people are more likely to trust and understand you if you speak to them in their own language. If your site provides information or resources, providing those in a way that more people can access helps to create a more open and accessible internet.
4. Multiple Languages Can Improve Your Site’s SEO Ranking
One important boon of multilingual sites is that they can actually improve your site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In fact, this is something we touched on a few years ago, and still remains an important point.
The reason why is simply because of the way Google indexes and ranks sites. First of all, Google looks at the number of visitors a site gets and the amount of time they remain on the site to determine the site’s quality. Google can also index the different translated versions of your site independently, while still counting the traffic to each towards your site’s overall ranking.
The key is making sure you serve the different language versions of your site through unique URLs. You could do this in a few different ways, such as appending a unique code to the end of the URL for each version, such as /en/ for the English site, and /fr/ for the French. You could also use a different top-level domain for each, or add a subdomain.
We recommend you check out and follow Google’s guide on multilingual sites. This will help you improve your site’s SEO ranking in no-time.
How to Translate Your WordPress Site Using a Plugin
The benefits of providing your site in more than one language should be abundantly clear by now. Even so, it might still seem like a lot of work, even considering the possible gains. However, at the beginning of the article, we mentioned that you don’t necessarily need to have a professional translator on hand to get the job done.
In fact, there are a number of WordPress plugins available that can do the majority of the work for you, such as Weglot Translate and WPML. We’ve actually covered the latter in the past. WPML is a great plugin that enables you to translate your entire site, including your posts, categories, and even all the text included in your theme.
As we mentioned, another great WordPress multilingual plugin is Weglot Translate. This is one of the most comprehensive and effortless multilingual plugins for translating your site into over 100 different languages.
Weglot lets you translate your full site in a matter of seconds, and works with all themes and many popular plugins. For example, Weglot is fully compatible with WooCommerce, enabling you to instantly translate your store into the languages you require.
To use Weglot, simply download the free plugin and select the language you want to use. The plugin will translate your site and create different versions with unique URLs for each one. You will be able to customize a language selector, which visitors can use to select the language they want to use. This ensures all sites using Weglot will adhere to Google’s best practices for multilingual sites.
One issue with using automated translations is that no computerized solution is ever going to be 100% accurate. Weglot alleviates this issue by making it easy to edit any translation. You can manage your translations within a user-friendly interface that will list every piece of translated text:
You can also edit them directly on your page using the handy visual editor. This makes it really easy to quickly make changes to imperfect translations:
Weglot also gives you the option to order professional translators through their platform. This makes it easy to keep all of your translation concerns in one place, whether you want to manage them yourself or outsource it to the professionals.
If you want a powerful, low-effort way of translating your WordPress site, Weglot Translate is a great choice. The free plugin will give you a chance to test it out and see how easy it is to use, after which you might want to consider getting one of their premium plans. These include additional features, like more translated words, page views, and additional languages.
While the majority of internet users speak English, it’s not a good idea to limit yourself to only this segment of your potential audience. In fact, by translating your site with a WordPress multilingual plugin like Weglot Translate, you could enjoy several benefits that a single-language site wouldn’t.
In this article, we’ve covered just a few of the positive effects of translating your site. For example, it can:
- Expand your potential audience.
- Provide a higher chance of converting native speakers.
- Offer better accessibility.
- Improve your site’s SEO ranking.
Do you have any questions about translations your WordPress website? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.