What Is A Multilingual Website And How To Build?

Last updated on March 27th, 2022 at 09:41 pm

There are currently 4.54 billion users on the internet, making it an excellent platform for companies and getting customers. It is the reason for the majority of businesses moving online in the hopes of gaining an edge and becoming more successful than their competitors.

It is a massive amount of effort; however, it’s doable. With various marketing strategies, innovative branding, and strong relations with their customers, companies can enhance their online presence and grow the number of loyal customers. 

Read Also: Read our detailed guide on What Is A Multilingual Website And How To Build?

One of these strategies is the use of a multilingual website which we’ll talk about now.

What’s a multilingual site?

Like the name implies, multilingual websites are websites with content that is in more than one language.

Although it’s evident that the English language still dominates the web (statistics indicate that 25.2 % of internet users use English), many other languages are extensively used, like Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, and others.  Have a look at this handy chart from Statista from the year 2019:

internet user
Source: https://w3-lab.com/what-is-a-multilingual-website/

These top 10 languages comprise 76.3 % of the world’s internet users. This is a substantial amount.

Imagine that if you would be like to add Chinese and Spanish to your website, that is only English-only. It gives the opportunity to reach 27.2 % more Internet users. This is the reason why multilingual websites are crucial.

Reasons for the requirement of a multilingual website

Are you still not satisfy the necessity of an international site? Here are some big and very significant reasons to include the use of multiple languages in your site:

The internet isn’t just used by English people.


Even though they comprise the majority of worldwide internet people who use the internet, English users aren’t all the ones who use it. There are other popular languages and, if you integrate them on your website, it will be able to connect with a lot more users.

After you’ve turned potential customers into clients, They will then refer your business to their relatives and friends. They may even share the business on social media, helping spread the word about your business, making you more credible.

Your customers should know you appreciate them


I was talking to my friend a couple of days ago, and she spoke about the difficulty of being able to find our language on the internet, and this led me to think about the issue.

Then, I asked her if she’d consider businesses more highly having websites that offer the option of switching into the Serbian language, and she responded that she would definitely.

This question shook me up a bit since she’s fluent in English; however, once I considered it for a while, it started to make sense. In her situation, it wasn’t just about whether she could read the site or not, but rather her passion for her first language.

I imagine the experience of people who cannot understand a word of English. It’s surely an amazing experience to go to websites that you don’t know what it means and not have to utilize an Google translation.

By incorporating languages that aren’t English by including other languages, you’re showing your customers who aren’t English-speaking that you value your customers as well, as their language can be equally important.

Increase sales by Multilingual websites


As we’ve mentioned, having multiple languages help to gain more customers. What happened when you’re dealing with more customers?  which means more sales.

If you include a different language on your site, you could see a sales growth of 100 %. Thus adding four languages that are widely used, your sales can increase by 400 %.

In terms of selling, multilingual websites assist in building trust, particularly for those who are hesitant about purchasing online.

Consider this: If you were to buy an item, but the website had a foreign language that you did not understand, what would you do to complete the purchase? The people I asked replied no.

If you wanted to own the product, you could translate the webpage yourself with online translators; however, they’re not as precise and may provide you with inaccurate information.

Most people don’t bother with this process and instead go to the site and search for a different site with similar products.

More Successful than opponents

We talked about how saturated each market is and how there is always a massive amount of competition regardless of your business’s industry.

A multilingual website is an excellent way to stand out from your competition.

Let’s consider the scenario from earlier. Imagine someone wanting to purchase a product, but their website didn’t have a multilingual option. Naturally, they’d leave and search for a site that offered the same product.

After that, they’d discover your website and notice that your multilingual website was available in their native language. It’s the method to defeat the opponent.

People searching for you via search engines

google translate

Google does not only provide results in English. There are numerous languages that you can pick from, and Google will provide results.

If you’ve got a multilingual online presence, it will be listed on the search pages for the languages your site is in, which means you have the chance of people coming across your company.

There are also additional search engines other than Google and in various languages as well. Take Baidu, for example. It is responsible for about 60% of the search users in China. Also, there is Naver, The South Korean search engine, and Yandex, which is the Russian search engine.

Suppose your multilingual site can support these languages. In that case, there’s the possibility that it will be displayed on the search results pages (do remember the other aspects that could affect this, and crawlers may not show your site if it isn’t compliant with the rules of search engines).

search engine

The ways that languages can be utilized on a multilingual website

There’s more than one method to display multiple languages. Three ways web developers can incorporate various languages in a website:

Drop-down menu

norlaSource: https://w3-lab.com/what-is-a-multilingual-website/

It’s a distinctive method of displaying different languages, and because of this, you will not find it very often.

If you use this technique, web developers can create two drop-down menus in different languages and put them next.

So, when visitors visit a website, they’ll be able to see the word “menu” written in their native language. They’ll hover over it and look at all the choices and links and be capable of reading the menus.

I could find only one example to demonstrate this is the former Norla Design website:

Tabs on a multilingual website

athemSource: https://w3-lab.com/what-is-a-multilingual-website/

The most commonly employed choice when it comes down to multilingual websites. Web developers develop small navigations which contain some of the words accessible on the site. After you click on them, the website will change in its language.

You can put them everywhere; however, we typically find them on the top right side of websites and sometimes even on the lower left.

Flags used to represent different languages

The design is old-fashioned. With minimalism in full swing, there’s no room for flags, and there’s not a lot of styles that they would fit in.

Web developers generally put them on the upper left corner of the screen. When you click the flag, a small drop-down menu will appear and display different flags and languages you can choose.

How can you turn your website multilingual?

Assuming that you have the diverse languages of your website and the languages you wish to display on it, it’s time to put them into place and make your site multilingual.

WordPress can be simple for users to utilize. It’s also the most well-known Content Management System (CMS) worldwide and consequently has the greatest variety of plugins available that are both paid and free.

The plugins are precisely what allows your site to switch between monolingual to multilingual.

There are numerous WordPress languages plugins among that TranslatePress and WPML have been among those most frequently used.



The TranslatePress plugin is available for free, but the multi-language feature, known as Extra Languages, is a premium feature that you need to purchase.

This is one of the most popular because of a variety of reasons. It is simple to install and utilize; it can interpret for you. Although it does use Google Translate for this, however, this tool can be effective in certain instances. It also allows users to view the translated pages as well as modify the translated pages.



WPML is another popular and powerful WordPress Language plugin. It’s highly compatible with themes and other plugins. Additionally, because it has various features it provides, it’s not completely free to use.

Based on what you want to achieve with your company and your website, offer three options in addition to 30 days of money-back assurance.

Beware of these mistakes when you’re developing your multilingual website.

It’s not easy or quick to translate.

Some websites require days to translate, dependent on the content’s size; however, even for smaller websites, it is important to be aware of mistakes, as they may result in conversion costs.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that web admins make when they are designing multilingual websites:

Incorrect language option

It is essential to ensure that the visitors understand the languages quickly. I remember going to a website some time ago and seeing the options for languages at the bottom of the page, in the footer.

I didn’t require a different language option, but I can imagine that those who do will have difficulty finding it when they need to scroll to the bottom and go through the footer’s content.

Translation error

I’ve mentioned Google Translate earlier and how it’s not reliable. The translator is free and can be useful in certain situations, such as when you’re trying to convey the main message from an entire paragraph, but the answer is a definite no when it comes to web translations.

Find a interpreter who can interpret your website. While AI is becoming better and better each day, machines are still not as effective as human translation. The cost of good translators isn’t cheap, but they are incredibly paying over the long term.

Lack  of any special characters

A lot of languages have unique characters, and the translations must have these characters. When they do not, it demonstrates an absence of professionalism on your part and your visitor could be irritated.

There’s a code that you can put on your site, known as UTF-8. It will ensure that certain characters aren’t omitted.

Incorrect formatting

Different countries use the same date and time format. If you use the wrong format, people think you’re not professional and care about your country.

Use the correct format of the formats of time and date when you translate your documents.


Language is a part of our identity, which makes it essential to all our lives.

Incorporating different languages on your monolingual website, you can gain a substantial number of new customers.

This can lead to greater sales and increase your company’s credibility and build a stronger relationship with your clients.

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