How to Create a Multilingual WordPress Site: Best Practices and Tools

25 Jun 2024

Multilingual websites act like bridges between the language gap, connecting customers from all over the world. It helps businesses bring leads, boost traffic, and attract wider audiences, providing a competitive advantage to them. By providing the solution in their native language, these sites promote a better version of doing business across the world.

A multilingual WordPress provides business expansion and wide reach bringing global customers to your website enhancing the brand visibility. It helps users to understand the content in their language adding trust and authenticity to the brand image, making your website a global storefront.

How to Plan Your Multilingual WordPress Site?

There are two most important things to consider before multilingual your WP website:

  • Assessing Your Needs
    When you are planning your multilingual WordPress website, make sure to look for local immigrant communities and analyze website traffic for interest by region. It helps in finding out the most common languages and regions your users are coming from. Focus on catering to a few languages to get the maximum impact and reach.

  • Content Strategy
    When planning your multilingual WordPress website, make a content strategy, and choose which content to translate first for smooth workflow management. Always start translating withconverting or lead-generating pages like product pages check-out or main pages. Translate your content according to the target audience’s needs. Focus on translating with shorter content and priority content and increase gradually as the website grows. It helps in maintaining the budget and analyzing the benefits coming from it.

    Utilize translation plugins to streamline the process, and invest in pro tools of translation for priority content while keeping the machine translation on the go with human editing for less critical pages. Try to build a style guide to ensure the brand voice is portrayed throughout the content in all languages. This technique will help your multilingual website reach a global audience effectively.

Let’s Start Setting Up Your Multilingual Website

  • Choosing the Right Plugin
    One should choose the best plugin for creating a multilingual WordPress website, but factors like budget and needs are also considerable.

  • WPML (WP Multilingual Plugin)
    This plugin is full of features and handles all complex sites with ease as it offers SEO optimizations with advanced technology and translation management tools. Having features and tools also has a price like you can get this plugin with a higher price than others and requires deep understanding to handle all the technicalities.

  • Polylang
    If you want to create a multilingual website with fewer languages and want a user-friendly interface with language management tools, thenPolylang is the perfect choice for it. It is affordable and can be used for small businesses due to the lack of advanced features like WPML.

  • Weglot
    It is a cloud-based plugin that seamlessly integrates with your WordPress site. It provides automatic machine translation, and professional translation services both. It has a limited free version for small websites, additional features, and advanced features that come with a premium paid subscription.

Begin Translating Your Content

  • Manual vs. Automatic Translation
    Translating your content is a crucial part of creating a bilingual WordPress site because it is a key factor in attracting your global audience and enhancing your brand image internationally. Manual translation provides accurate results and matches your brand voice but consumes time and added expense while on the other side automatic translation is free and provides quick results but lacks in accuracy and portraying brand image.

    For actionable results, use a hybrid strategy to make a draft using automatic translation while using human editors to align the content with the brand voice and enhance reach. This approach helps using the best of both translation versions.

  • Managing Translations
    Translating the content on your WordPress site needs tools. Using translation management plugins ease the process of visualizing content, and managing multiple languages. You can provide access to content creators to translate the basic elements of the content while keeping the final version and edits for professional editors and translators. This strategic and collaborative approach makes the process easy and fast, getting high-quality translations to your multilingual site.

  • Handling Media and Attachments
    Consider translating the text separately or using a version with editable text for each language. For videos, explore subtitles or closed captions in different languages. Some plugins even allow assigning different video versions based on user language. Remember, image alt text and captions also need translation for SEO and accessibility. Manage translated media files efficiently by using descriptive filenames and organizing them by language within your media library.

Implementing Multilingual SEO Best Practices

Optimizing Multilingual SEO

Making your website aligned with multilingual SEO best practices will ensure more visibility and relevant traffic. To be honest, it’s not that easy and simple to do SEO for a different-language website. For example, Arabic SEO requires right-to-left (RTL) writing, so you’ve to optimize your website design according to it. By doing this, you will be easily discovered by people who are searching for you in different countries.

For an accurate implementation of multilingual SEO, you can:

  • Use Hreflang tags for language targeting

Hreflang tags should be used in the content to accurately target audiences from different languages. You can insert Hreflang tags in the header of the page or the sitemap.

  • Create localized sitemaps

Set up your sitemaps in different languages to ensure that your website is easy to crawl and indexed by search engines. Use a separate sitemap for each country and language so you can easily target every region.

Keyword Research for Different Languages

  • Conducting keyword research for each target language

Thoroughly research keywords to ensure that you are targeting the relevant keywords in the right region. There can be different keywords for different languages. Find out the right keywords that are popular in your niche and correctly use them.

  • Adapting content to local search behaviors

Create content that directly communicates your message to your audience. Language can be a big barrier when it comes to content so crucially ensure that your content is made to cater to the right target market.

Designing for a Multilingual Audience

User Interface and Navigation

  • Creating language switchers and navigation menus

Incorporating easy language switch buttons will help your users receive the best possible experience while they are interacting with your website. Place your navigation menus clearly and in the center so your users do not have difficulty finding and using them.

  • Ensuring a seamless user experience across languages

Keeping the content uniform in every language is important. Make sure that the content you have presented on your homepage or your product/service is the same in every language.

Responsive Design Considerations

  • Adapting design elements for different languages

Use clear and consistent icons and symbols that are easy to adapt in every language. Ensure that while translating them, their meaning is not lost in translation.

  • Handling text expansion and contraction

Text expansion and contraction may pose a problem when you are translating for different languages. Use proper expansion and contraction so your text is accurately translated without any difference across languages.

Now Move To Testing and Quality Assurance

Thoroughly Testing Your Site

  • Conducting usability testing in different languages

Test your site’s usability for different languages to ensure transparency. Use native participants for every language who will give you the right response.

  • Ensuring all content is correctly translated and displayed

Check your content for correct structure and display. Sometimes, language can alter the way content is displayed across different languages. You need to check the content for every language so it remains the same.

Ongoing Maintenance

  • Regularly updating translations

When you are changing content, the translations should also be accurately changed. Significantly, you need to update your translations regularly so there is no difference in all the content that you have displayed on your site.

  • Monitoring site performance and user feedback

Regularly monitor the performance of the site to check for any errors. User feedback is important, so collect it and review it to make necessary adjustments. It will help you in providing an optimum user experience.

What Tools and Resources for Managing Multilingual Sites?

Translation Management Systems (TMS)

  • Overview of popular TMS tools (SDL Trados, Memsource)

TMS tools like SDL Trados and Memsource are exceptional translation software for computer-assisted translations. They help in the seamless transition of content from one language to another. They can also provide terminology management that further enhances the overall user experience.

  • Integration with WordPress

Direct integration of these computer-aided translators is not so easy but different plugins can make the process possible. Memsource can be easily integrated into WordPress through different APIs and connectors.

Additional Plugins and Extensions

  • Plugins for multilingual forms, e-commerce, and more

You can use different multilingual plugins such as WPML, Polylang, and TranslatePress for forms and other options. These plugins allow you to easily translate forms and other confirmation letters.

  • Enhancing your site with language-specific features

Create content that is specific to your local audience and their preferences. Use keywords and phrases that resonate with the local audience so the content is more relatable.


Targeting diverse audiences for your multilingual WordPress site can be troublesome if you do not use the right tools. By following the practices and tools outlined above, you can ensure that your website has the right sitemap that can attract your audience and convert them into profitable leads.


  1. What are the best plugins for creating a multilingual WordPress site?

TranslatePress, GTranslate, Weglot, Polylang, etc. are some of the best plugins for creating a multilingual WordPress site.

  1. How do I optimize my multilingual site for SEO?

To optimize your multilingual site for SEO, you need to organize the URL structure, use correct hreflang tags, incorporate relevant keywords in different languages, optimize the website’s speed, etc.

  1. Can I use automatic translation for my content?

Yes. Automated translation is quick and provides you with instant translations.

  1. How do I manage translations for dynamic content?

You can group your content into separate keys so it is easy to manage translations for different content.

  1. What are some common challenges in maintaining a multilingual site?

Maintaining a multilingual site can be time-consuming and expensive. There may be inconsistencies and errors due to different languages. Also, these sites can suffer from low search engine visibility.