Suggestions to develop a Multilingual Website?

TMO Group TMO Group

Along with eCommerce globalization, more and more company  offers a translated version of their website. Research has proved that offering your site in people’s native languages can boosts conversions and overall sales volume, which makes a lot of sense.

Regardless of the reason – if you have the in-house talent to deliver in more than one language, why not make your website reflect this capability? Here are some suggestions may help you to develop a multilingual website:

1. Determine the regions and nature of the language

If your language is Right-To-Left like many of Asian and Middle East languages, for example, Arabic, Persian and Hebrew, you should tune your operating system to be able to switch from Left-To-Right to Right-To-Left typing method to be able to type from Right and from Left. If you are a Microsoft Windows user, you can configure your system for multilingual and keyboards, each of them having different kind of input methods. 

2. Determine what content is relevant to these regions

You maintain a blog, an online store and a corporate website listing your products and services. At this point you are posting 10 blog posts per month and the content is only relevant to your American customers. Your online store can only ship to America, not other countries.

Blog – Keep this in English only since translating 10 blog posts a month is too much for your company to handle at this point. Online store – translate this into Chinese and French, but only allow people from the Americas buy online. For people coming from Africa, show them the catalog but do not allow them to order online, just provide product information.

3. Create a hidden Welcome Page

Adding a page to the Not Linked section of your Content Manager will hide the page from your navigation bar. This is a good option for creating a Welcome page that will link directly to the different language versions of your site. You can add a new page here by click + Add Page, or drag and drop any existing page from your Navigation section down to the Not Linked section. Take a look at our guide for more help.

You can add Links to hidden and external pages within your Folder Navigation by clicking + Add Page and choosingLink. Type the title you would like to appear in the Folder Navigation. Then click the Content tab, and select the hidden page you would like to link to. You can also link to an external page by pasting the full URL in the URL Field of the Configure Link box. We have guide to help add Navigation Links here.

Alternatively, you can create images that link to any page as well by adding the URL as a click-through navigation in the Image Block configuration.

4. Create Your Own Navigation

Some languages force to apply some changes in the design and navigation of your website.For example, if you have a vertical menu bar, you may put it in the left of your pages for English pages and in the right for Arabic pages because Arabic is a RTL language and people are used to start reading pages from right to left

First, ensure that your current Content Management System can support multilingual functionality. We build our websites on WordPress and Magento (known as Adobe Commerce since 2021), both of which have some great plugins that allow for multilingual sites (for WordPress we use WPML). Then, drag these pages to the Not Linked section of your site to hide them from your navigation. Finally, create text links on the pages that are written in your primary language that will point back to your alternate language pages and add the content to the respective multilingual pages.

5. Set up a Content Delivery Network (optional)

If you expect customers from around the world to visit your website, you may want to consider using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to make sure the website loads fast everywhere. The farther a visitor is from where the website is hosted (in the U.S. for most of our customers), the longer it will take to load and the higher the chance a customer will go elsewhere for what they’re looking for.

Website visitors in India and China can often experience page load times of up to 20 seconds for websites that are hosted in the U.S. If they are on a CDN, this load time is drastically reduced.

More details, please refer to multilingual eCommerce website development


Subscribe to our newsletter

News of the eCommerce world, best practices to use in your eCommerce platform, insights and analytics of Chinese and South East Asian eCommerce markets - all that and much more in our monthly newsletter.