How can I build a website that supports multiple languages?

 

If you have a business or non-profit that serves a multi-language audience, you will want to make sure that your website has multi-language capabilities.

Gutensite can help you create a website that toggles back and forth between two or more languages without creating an overly complicated administrative headache.

Some CMS like Drupal have limited multi-language support that let you write alternative translations for each piece of content. But this approach is actually very limited, so we have opted for a different solution that is actually far more flexible.

Gutensite's approach to mulit-language websites involves the creation of two (or more) websites that are linked to one another in a way that appears like one website to the visitor. They can use the same design template across both websites (customized if necessary for one or the other) and may even share the same visitor accounts. But the websites have separate administrative control panel accounts so that editing the content on the Spanish website is done in one admin account, and the English website is edited in another admin account.

The visitor will see language selection options at the top of the website and when they click a language it redirects to the appropriate language website, which looks just like the original website. It's seemless and simple.

There are several advantages to this approach:

  • Flexible & Simple. Traditional Multi-Language support for every piece of content ends up creating an unnecessarily complicated management interface and only provides translations that are skin deep. Having separate administrative interface for each language website keeps things really simple to manage and 100% customizable.
  • SEO. By having linked but separate websites for each language, you can do more than just offer simple translations for the same content. You can specify a friendly URL, Keywords, Description, related files, and other SEO variables that are relevant to the language. So if you have an English page with a friendly URL like /Special-Summer-Announcement the corresponding Spanish page with have it's own friendly URL like /Especial-Verano-Anuncio along with keywords that support the terms being searched for in Spanish.
  • Optimized for Conversions. When you are targetting two different countries or cultures, you will often want/need to customize your message to each group. This may require including different promoted features on the home page, different pages in your menu, different sidebar promos, and even different featured images with photos that resonate with the local language, country and culture, etc. Often it isn't a one-for-one pure translation of an entire website, but a website that is optimized for conversions to each audience.
  • Delegated Editing. You may want to have different members of your team, or different global offices, be responsible for the content of their localized website. The separate administrative interfaces gives you this ability.
  • Local Domains. You can utilize local domains for each language, e.g. the French website can be www.domain.fr while the English website will be www.domain.com. This helps you relate to each audience more intimately.

While this approach may at first seem like more work (to maintain three websites), you will actually need to do all this work for each language no matter what solution you use. And because it actually gives so much more flexibility, you'll be able to more easily accomplish your goals for targetting each audience, which makes this a superior solution.

If you need help with a project like this, let us know.

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