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How to launch a multilingual website

Please note that this is an automated transcript.

Welcome to The Bicultural Podcast. I’m so pleased that you’re here today and today I’d like to talk to you about launching a multilingual website and how to do it effectively. Now I’ve been freelancing as a website designer since 2017 so I’ve had lots of experience of designing websites and there are just things that come up time and time again. So before I launch into the specifics of launching a multilingual website, I’d just like to review what makes a good website designed and what other things that we need to be aware of.

So first of all, its website loading speed. Now I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I have abandoned a website if it hadn’t loaded within 10 seconds and even 10 seconds seems like a long time. One of the key benefits of a custom built website is that it’s built with the final design in mind. Often what we find with a template design is that we add and add more plugins to improve the capability of our website. But this slows our website down, whereas a custom website is already created using the final design in mind. So the developer codes the website so it’s capable and isn’t slowed down by the extra features. Now if you’re currently using a website template, then there’s another trick that you can do to help improve your website Loading suite. And that is to make sure that your images are web friendly by having the right dimensions and resolutions. So your images, for example, aren’t web friendly if there are 5000 pixels by 3000 pixels and have a resolution of 300 pixels per inch. Because those kind of resolutions are very big and they come with a lot of data, so naturally it would affect our website loading speed.

Another area of good website design is content structure. So to make your content engaging and more accessible, use the text name, such as heading one, heading two, body text, and also bullet points. And please don’t allocate a text name just because it has the right size, because this will be detrimental to your SEO, but also to audiences that use screen readers or even for users who skim your website. It’s because heading one refers to the main heading and then heading to is for a subheading and body text is for more information. And if we confuse, then we kind of alter the meaning of the content and it makes it more difficult to read the content and for the user to navigate to where they want to go.

Another area which I found often gets lost when people build or design their own website is alt text. So building in website yourself you might just add the images yourself and forget to add the alt text. And yes it feels like a tedious task but again it will help your SEO because Google will show you images in the image searches which also gives you another opportunity for the user to discover your website. Also importantly, users who are using screen readers will be able to appreciate the image description and get an idea of the feeling that you’re trying to portray through the use of the image.

And then name the action of your buttons. So that’s a really good tip that a lot of people forget to do. So naming the button on your website as click here is not user friendly because you don’t know where that link will take you. It is better to explain the action of what will happen when you click on the button. For example, if a button took a user to read the full article, I would simply write read the full article on the button. Clarity is key. You don’t want your users to get confused because confusion leads to them feeling frustrated. But also it’s not good for brand image.

Now if we move on to some points that are specific to multilingual websites, I’ll name a few. But to be honest, I think if you implement these tips already you have a good start.

So translation, make sure that your website is professionally translated. Yes, Google Translate may seem a lot easier and cheaper, but if you’re serious about offering your services to a new market, you need to appear as a local because remember, this is the new market that may not be aware of your brand name and you’re asking the audience to move away from a trusted brand name to a new brand name. Your brand name. And this move can only be possible through persuasive copywriting which a translator can offer you. But also there are some cultural things that we might not be aware of. For example, in English speaking countries we would recognize a home page for it to say home somewhere in the navigation bar. But I know in some countries if you translated the word home and basically told people that’s where you’d find the so called home page that they would get confused because they have a different word for homepage and that isn’t there. That word isn’t a translation of the word home.

Another thing that you might want to consider, and hopefully this won’t be too technical. And I’m sure a web developer or website designer can help you with this. But this is a HRF Lang tag, so you might be considering buying a specific country code domain for your website. So what I mean by that is, for example, in Germany, the website address would end in .de. So by doing it this way, it helps to build trust with your audience because they recognize that country code and they all know that you’re standing to that specific market. For example, Germany. And it also allows you to create a specific email address that ends in .de. So that’s really useful if you’re asking people to register for events or you’re trying to register for events that are hosted in that market. But it also helps with customer service because customers can write to a specific email address, which can be forwarded onto a translator who may be able to help with answering that question. But again, if you do decide to add a specific email address for that market, they would expect, for example, if your email address ends in dot de, that they receive a reply in German. Again, something to consider.

Another way of creating a multilingual website using HRF Lang Tag would be by basically having a domain name, for example and adding a HRF Lang tag. So you would have a webpage that would be .com/de to specify that the page is in German. And this really tells Google that the page is in German and is not just duplicated content because Google will scan all the pages of your website and it will recognize if a page has been translated into a different language. And obviously this really helps your customers but in terms of SEO ranking you don’t want to have duplicated content. So this basically tells Google that this is just a different language and that you’re aware of the duplicated content so it doesn’t affect your rating. So I hope you found this episode useful and if I can help you improve your website then please do book a free website audit with me using the contact details in the episode notes and I just be really excited for you to take that first step and create a website or a page on your website dedicated to your new market. Bye for now.

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