Bilingual web sites are a growing phenomena on the web. Small Businesses are starting to realize that making a bilingual business website is a great way of expanding their client base and securing more conversions.
Going Global Vs. Keeping it Local
Lets take a European brand for example. The company is eager to maintain its local client/fan base but at the same time are dreaming of going global and attracting wider international clientèle. The best solution for this dilemma is taking that extra step and creating a bilingual or multilingual website. The concept might seem intimidating but sticking with keeping a few basic guidelines you’ll be rewarded in your efforts.
Navigation is the Name of the Game
Once a second language enters your website you’re adding a whole new layer of complexity to your design. This means you’ll have to carefully monitor usability and navigation and make sure your website caters to all target audiences:
- Do not mix languages side by side or above-below translations. Each language should have its own separate page.
- Provide language links that are noticeably visible on every page.
- Consider an introductory splash page with a language selection menu. This is highly recommended for multilingual websites.
Keeping A Coherent Design
The language factor should not interfere with your design. Once you’ve completed your design in Spanish for example, use the exact same design for your English pages. It’s important to keep the design coherent and not confuse the visitor by creating different designs for each language.
Organizing and Managing your Pages
When creating a multilingual website you’re basically creating two (or more) identical websites. Whether you’re editing a template or starting from scratch:
- Start by creating your welcome page.
- Create a new page by clicking “new page” on the top right area of the editor.
- Create your website.
- Go to “Page Manager”
- Duplicate your Website.
- Re-edit / translate your site into the target language.
- Go to the “Page Manager” again. Choose your welcome page and create a button for each language. Link the buttons to the relevant pages.
- Create a language menu on each page, allowing visitors to switch back and forth as they please.
Finally, check out this post for some amazing SEO tips for multilingual websites.