Iconic plugins can help you add all kinds of functionality to your WooCommerce store. But having functionality isn’t enough – you also need potential customers to take advantage of that functionality!
If you want people to add products to their wishlists, or choose delivery slots, you need to find a way to get shoppers to your store in the first place and keep them on your site and happy once they get there.
While there are all kinds of strategies to do that, one oft-overlooked method is making your store available in different languages.
In this post, we’ll dig into the benefits of going multilingual for your store. Then, we’ll show you how to use a WordPress language translation plugin to create a multilingual WooCommerce store, including the ability to translate all of Iconic’s plugins.
We’ll use Iconic’s Wishlists for WooCommerce plugin as an example, but the same basic principles apply no matter which WooCommerce extensions you’re using. Let’s get started.
How Does a WordPress Language Translation Plugin Help Your Store?
There are a few different benefits to using a WordPress language translation plugin, for both “regular” sites and eCommerce stores.
Let’s start with the two big benefits for all WordPress sites, including eCommerce stores:
Search engine optimization (SEO) and traffic
Going Multilingual Opens Up New SEO Opportunities
When you have a monolingual WordPress site, your site’s content ranks in Google for one language.
But here’s the thing:
People search Google in their own native language most of the time! So there are lots of people who are searching for the exact same content/products that you offer…just in a different language.
By going multilingual, you can start reaching those people in search engines without the need to create “new” content (that is, you’re just translating your existing content or products, rather than creating new ideas).
For example, look at how Etsy translates their product archive pages into Spanish to get a chance to rank them in Google, even though the products themselves might not be written in Spanish:
You can apply that same strategy to start bringing in more visitors to your WooCommerce store.
To get an idea of how big your potential audience might be in different languages, you can use the Google Market Finder tool. Or, most SEO research tools let you segment by language.
Going Multilingual Provides a Better Experience for Visitors
Beyond helping you reach new visitors in the first place, going multilingual also helps you offer a better experience for your existing (and future) customers.
See, as you’d expect, most people prefer to browse websites in their native language.
According to a survey commissioned by the European Commission, around 90% of those surveyed always prefer to visit a website in their own language when available. And 45% of respondents just flat out won’t use a website in a language other than their own.
This preference is especially important because we live in a multilingual world even within geographic areas. For example, the US Census Bureau estimates that 21.6% of US people age five and above speak a language other than English at home, and that number jumps to a whopping 44.6% in California alone.
To get an idea of which languages your visitors speak, you can use the Language report in Google Analytics:
Going Multilingual Benefits eCommerce, Too
Beyond the general benefits above, using a WordPress language translation plugin can also pay dividends for your WooCommerce store.
Essentially, the same idea that people prefer to browse the web in their native languages also applies to eCommerce shopping.
From that same Gallup survey above, 42% of respondents said they never buy products from a store in a different language.
So if you ship globally – or even if you just sell in a multilingual area – you might be missing out on sales from people who don’t speak the language used at your store.
By using a WordPress language translation plugin, you’re able to let that 42% of people shop in their preferred language(s).
What to Look for in a WordPress Language Translation Plugin
When you’re looking for a WordPress language translation plugin to create a multilingual store, you’ll want to consider a few important questions:
How does the plugin translate content? Does it use automatic machine translation? Will you need to manually translate content? Can you do both?
Will the WordPress language translation plugin work with my store? You’ll want a plugin that fully integrates with WooCommerce, as well as all the many WooCommerce extension plugins you might be using.
Is it SEO friendly? If you want to benefit from multilingual SEO, you’ll need a plugin that creates fully-indexable, SEO-friendly versions of each language.
It also lets you translate 100% of your WordPress content, including your theme, plugins (yes – Iconic plugins, too), and WooCommerce products, as well as implementing important multilingual SEO principles.
How to Use a WordPress Language Translation Plugin
If you want to use the Weglot WordPress language translation plugin, here’s a quick guide for how to set it up and use it to translate both your regular WordPress content, as well as content from any one of Iconic’s WooCommerce plugins:
Register for a Weglot account and copy your API key
Install the Weglot plugin at your WordPress site and add the API key
Choose your site’s current language and the language into which you want to translate your content
Adjust the default language switcher that Weglot adds, if desired
Once you’ve activated the plugin, users will be able to start browsing your machine translations right away – here’s an example:
How to Manage Your Site’s Translations
To help you manage your site’s translations, the Weglot WordPress language translation plugin gives you two different interfaces.
First, there’s the Translations List interface, which gives you a side-by-side look at the original text and the translation:
Then, for a more visual approach to translation management, you can use the Visual Editor.
With this interface, you’ll see a live view of the front-end of your site. To edit a translation, all you do is hover over the text you want to translate and click the green pencil icon.