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Have you ever wondered how to build a multilingual website? This is a guide for building a multilingual website with multiple-language landing pages, which are the building blocks of a multilingual website. We’ll start with defining what landing pages are, then move on to what exactly you need to build a multilingual website, and then we’ll see how website translation works and how it can help in the process.

Why do you need a multilingual website? Well, multilingual websites can catch the attention of consumers in their own native languages. If you have a landing page in Spanish, you’ll catch Spanish consumers; if you have a landing page translated into French, you’ll catch the attention of French consumers. The more languages you host on your landing pages, the more targeted your multilingual strategy will be.

According to studies, translating your website to other languages enables you reach 80% of the online purchasing power globally. That’s because consumers want to purchase on websites that host their native languages. If you aren’t translating your website, you’re missing out on 80% of the global market.

So, let’s discover precisely how you can start building your multilingual website through the use of landing pages, and the things needed for it to happen. Read on!

Also read: How to Create a Landing Page That Converts – 10 Critical Elements

What are multilingual landing pages?

When we’re talking about multilingual websites, we’re really talking about different languages represented on different pages. Those pages are called landing pages. Think about your website having sets of texts, one for each language. Each set is a landing page.

According to WSI, “A landing page is any webpage that a customer can land on…or a standalone page, distinct from your homepage, that serves a single or focused purpose.” For multilingual landing pages, this purpose is to have content translated into a language that you’re targeting.

Landing pages, on a multilingual website, lead back to the main global site, through a global template. We’ll talk more about this in the next section. But for now, remember that multilingual landing pages represent each, different language. You can have the main site in one main language, then landing pages in other languages.

Most multilingual websites have either all their landing pages translated into two or more languages, or have one main website that hosts a popular language and then landing pages as dropdown menus for other languages. The latter type of website is recommended because it can host as many multilingual landing pages as you need. So, for example, if you have English in your home page, you can create landing pages in German, French, Spanish, Arabic, and more.

What do you need for your multilingual landing pages for your website?

Each website has to be constructed so that it has a main landing page, and then subsets of different pages or landing pages. You can pick a structure, such as subdirectories or subdomains or ccTLD, and have dropdown menus of landing pages on your main home page. These structures can either be subdomains, subdirectories, or ccTLD.

You should also keep in mind that your landing pages have to have the hreflang attribute. This makes search engines identify this subdivision of your website correctly. Other things you need are hreflang, translated content, and multilingual SEO, all that will go into or have to do with your multilingual landing pages. Let’s jump in!

What are subdomains, subdirectories, and ccTLD?

Subdomains, subdirectories, and ccTLD are different types of subdivisions for your website. Here’s the breakdown of them:

  • 1. ccTLD – the Country Code Top Level Domain is used for international websites to indicate a country or region. You can use it if you’re targeting a specific region or country. Google then assumes that the page is relevant for that country or region. When your main domain is a gTLD, or general top level domain, such as .com, .net, .org or .info, your ccTLD landing pages will be .gb (if you’re in Great Britain), .us (if you’re in the US), and so on.
  • 2. Subdirectories – A subdirectory is a different division of your website, too, but subdirectories is basically a subfolder of your website, so that your subfolders are represented in your main website. They look like this: maindomain.com/es/ for Español, and so on. Subdirectories are landing pages / languages on your drop-down menu.
  • 3. Subdomains – Subdomains are similar to subdirectories in that they’re both divisions of your website, but subdomains act as separate domains of your main website but still tied to it. These are examples of subdomains: subdomain.maindomain.com or subdomain.maindomain.net. WordPress has subdomains, for example.

Here’s Google’s explanations of the differences between the three.

Using subdomains, subdirectories, and ccTLD are not done without the use of a global template. A global template will be the baseline of your website, when creating subdivision landing pages. The global template will carry the design of your website over from the main domain to the multilingual landing pages.

The global template will have the same design throughout the landing pages, but with few distinct changes to make the landing pages localized. This goes for the UX as well. Remember, when using a global template, you have to also localize the multilingual landing pages as well. Brand consistency, through a global template, will be key to making your website still carry your brand throughout different language pages.

What is hreflang?

Hreflang is an attribute, that, according to SEMRush, can be implemented in three ways:

  • 1. As a link in the HTML head of the page = rel=”alternate” href=”(URL)” hreflang=”(language and country code)”
  • 2. In the HTTP header (for non-HTML files like PDFs) = Link: ; rel=”alternate”; hreflang=”en”, ; rel=”alternate”; hreflang=”fr”
  • 3. On the XML sitemap = through the sitemap.xml

But what is an hreflang attribute? The hreflang attribute tells Google that you’re using a different language on the page, so that Google can give the right results to users searching in the language. It’s a simple tag, that when used right, can direct users to your multilingual landing page.

What content do you need?

When you’re making landing pages for a multilingual website, what content do you need on your site? Translated content, of course. And how will you get translated content–through website translation services. We’ll talk more later about website translation and the services that provide it, but for now, let’s talk about what goes into translated content.

Translated content is much more than translation, but it’s research in those countries to see what news or topics are relevant for them. Translated content is not duplicated content, remember. It has a lot of market research relevant for that region or language.

Translated content is key to making your landing pages multilingual. Content translation is a way for you to signal to users that you have the authority and legitimacy to conduct services or transact products in those languages.

What is multilingual SEO?

Multilingual SEO is a part of your translated content, where you use a great keyword strategy and localization strategy within your content. Multilingual SEO incorporates localized keywords in the region and in that language, in order to rank in Google. SEO and localization is a huge piece of what makes localized content work for a particular language landing page.

Multilingual SEO is crucial for ranking in international Google, such as Google.co.uk for the UK site or Google.com.au for the Australian site. Remember that there are different search engines for every language. A great multilingual SEO strategy combines SEO expertise with localized knowledge of the target language to create the best experience for the user, but also optimized to rank in search results.

Multilingual SEO keeps in mind a few things about their consumers:

  • 1. Who is the target consumer?
  • 2. What are the habits of the target consumer?
  • 3. What do they search for?
  • 4. What do they want to know more about?

Multilingual SEO that’s localized is one way to personalize the experience for a specific target language group. It’s a way for you to create quality traffic that will bring the consumers that you want, not the consumers that you don’t need, to your page.

What is website translation?

Website translation is more than just translation. It’s the process of building a multilingual website from scratch. It requires market research, keyword research, web development, design, UX, UI, localized and translated content, and more.

Website translation is taking your original website in its original state, and making it a multilingual website, too. This is so that it’s more accessible to international consumers. Website translators take into account language and regions, cultural elements, transactional elements, communication elements, and navigation elements of your targeted multilingual website.

We interviewed many companies for this article, and out of the companies that we interviewed, we found that language service provider Tomedes has been integral in the specialized process of website translation. Ofer Tirosh, CEO of Tomedes, says, “The problem with English-only websites is that they’re catering only to a small portion of the market. Creating a multilingual website that caters to the needs of the rest of the world not only attracts more customers but also contributes to the linguistic diversity of the whole internet space, where we often interact.

As you can see, website translation, which is more than just translation, will give your website a whole new perspective from the eyes of consumers. It will bring native language consumers who will connect with your translated website. But who has the expertise to translate your site? We’ll find out next.

How can website translation services help your website?

Website translation services are more than just translation, but rather, do linguistic assessment of all your projects. Translators have the knowledge of the industry as well as the knowledge of two or more languages, creating multilingual websites that go beyond, attracting international traffic, clients, and sales to your site.

How can this help your website? Through the work of website translation services, your website can attract more visitors which will create more traffic which might help acquire new customers which could enable more sales and revenue.

Website translation services are key to a more comprehensive consumer engagement. Don’t let your customers get lost in translation, but allow them to be navigated to a site that serves their needs and purposes.

Website translation is different from traditional translation because of the use of code, APIs, and even some automatic translation. Tomedes, RWS, and other technologically driven website translation services, use combinations of API and automatic translation, in order to bring the best results for your website.

Automatic translation or third-party plugs-in, though they may be ideal at first, will just translate your website, rather than build multilingual pages or localize your content. That’s why website translation services are the solution, rather than simplified automatic translation.

Website translation services will give you solutions that will bring quality customers to your website, at all stages of the funnel.

The Takeaway

If landing pages are the first step to creating the perfect multilingual website, I hope this article has you covered. Website translation, to begin with, is difficult to handle without the help of website translation services. Here’s a few things I covered in this article to keep in mind.

  • 1. Brand consistency across different languages through the use of a global template.
  • 2. In order to have the website translated, your services should be about more than just translation. They should be website builders, and website creator.
  • 3. Automatic translation or third-party translation plug-ins could run the risk of making your website inconsistent and inaccurate in translation. That’s why website translation services like Tomedes which combine technologically-driven solutions with smart human professional translators, are key.
  • 4. Your website will change over time, so make sure your website translation services can be creative enough to move with you.

Building a multilingual website through multilingual landing pages is a journey, but if you keep in mind what we’ve talked about, you’ll surely reach the end of the journey.

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