Tue

09

Feb

2016

Design Tips for Your Multilingual Website

Last week we went over examples of different bilingual and multilingual websites built with Jimdo, and took a behind-the-scenes look at how they did it.

how-to-build-a-multilingual-website-part2-small
Once you’ve settled on the template and navigation menu for your website, there are a few other factors to keep in mind.

 

Multilingual Online Store


There are a few limitations on multilingual online stores that you should know about. First, your labels and tags will automatically appear in the default language you have set for your website. Second, you can only set one currency for your Store Items, so for example you can’t show prices in both dollars and euros.

 

One solution is to edit your labels to show both languages, as they have done on the Station Skate website. Notice how their button to add a product says “Anadir/Add” so that the button works for both languages. You can do something similar by going to your Site Admin and choosing Settings > Store > Store Settings.

 

Multilingual online store

 

You can also create two Store Item Elements and two product pages for the same product—one in your first language and one in your second. Doing so would be good for your SEO, because you’re creating content in both languages. If you go this route, just remember that you’ll have to keep a closer eye on your inventory.

 

You can also overcome these issues by creating two separate websites, as in the Camping Cherverny example.

 

Multilingual Blog


We all know that blogging is a great way to attract more attention for your business. If you can blog in more than one language, all the better!

 

To pull off a blog on your multilingual website, all you need to do is tag your posts with their corresponding language. Then, create a new page for that language and add a Blog Display Element. Set it to display only one tag (e.g. language) at a time.

 

For example, if you had a blog that had posts in German, you could create a new page called “Deutsch” and add a Blog Display Element to it, set to only show posts with the tag “de” — in this way, the Blog Display Element will show all the German posts at once, separate from the English ones.

 

Multilingual website blog By tagging each post with the right language, (in this example, “de” for German), you can then add a Blog Display Element which will show only posts in one language or the other.

 

Multilingual Website Style Tips


  • Try not to use multiple languages on one page. It might be tempting to create one page and just put text for both languages on it, but it’s better to avoid this. It’s hard for readers to have to wade through different languages, and neither audience will be totally comfortable.

  • Choose your fonts wisely. Whatever fonts you set in your Style Editor will apply to all pages, regardless of the language. So make sure you choose a font that’s easy to read in both languages and has all the characters you need.

  • Think carefully about the parts of your website that will appear the same to all visitors. Because of the way templates work, your website Header, Sidebar, and Footer will appear the same on every page of your website, regardless of the language. In other words, if you have English text in your sidebar, that English text will appear on every page, even your Spanish language pages. That could be confusing to some viewers.
    So if you have a multilingual or bilingual website, it’s a good idea to rely more on images or information that doesn’t need translating in your headers, sidebar, and footer. You can also leave these areas blank.

  • Fill out your SEO settings for each page. You want to make sure that customers using Google are directed to the right page on your site, in the right language for them. Take a few moments to write unique SEO descriptions for each page, in the correct language for that page.

 

Thanks to all the Jimdo websites that provided such good multilingual examples! If you have any other suggestions or things that you’ve learned from your own multilingual website, let us know in the comments.

 


Maggie

Maggie

Content Editor at Jimdo

 

Maggie joined the team to craft the voice of Jimdo for all products and marketing channels. In her previous work, she edited for organizations covering the environment, cities, and sustainable business. When she's not adding serial commas, you can find her camping with her husband, cooking, and reading New Scientist.