How Do I Make My Enterprise WordPress Site Multilingual?
Learn how to localize your site content.
WordPress VIP makes localization for enterprise sites easier than most CMSes. Though the process of localization can be complicated, it comes with numerous benefits to both you and your audience. So, if you want to know how to make your site localized (and therefore multilingual), you’ve come to the right place.
Benefits of a multilingual, localized site
Offering personalized site content, tailored to specific languages and cultures, is well worth the investment. With a multilingual site, you’ll likely experience the following benefits:
- Improved customer experience and user experience (CX/UX), resulting in more conversions
- Expansion to new audiences and markets
- Better SEO performance and ranking
- More accurate audience targeting
What is the difference between localization and personalization?
Simply put, personalization is an all-encompassing term for everything that goes into creating a unique, custom content experience for your audience. This may include offering multiple languages, updating languages to fit a specific region, targeting content by demographic, etc.
Localization is an important part of personalization. Localization is the process of tailoring content by locale or region. It often involves translating content and internationalizing the CX/UX.
Localization options for enterprise WordPress
While you can manually translate and publish multiple languages on a single-site instance (or use a custom API), hosting each language on its own site within a multisite instance is recommended.
Comparing single-site and multisite solutions
|WordPress single site localization solutions||WordPress multisite localization solutions|
|Workaround solution(s) that can add complexity to WordPress core architecture||Built around WordPress Core using the multisite feature (no workaround plugins)|
|Easy to set up on an existing site, just requires a plugin||Requires additional time to launch additional sites, but offers greater flexibility|
|Scalable, but incurs performance issues maintaining complex relationships on a single site||High scalability and performance|
|Translated content on same URL||Translated content offers different URL and localization possibilities|
|Every language version uses the same design and widgets||Full design and widget customizability for individual languages and cultures|
|Plugins and themes require translation tool compatibility||Plugins and themes are administered on a network level for every site|
|Hard to migrate and each solution is unique to the vendor||No vendor lock-in because it follows WordPress multisite core conventions|
|Each language must be backed up||Stores each site’s data in a single backup|
|Every user has access to every language, even if it isn’t needed||Control user access per language and/or automatically route with geo-targeting|
Both single- site and multisite solutions have benefits. But for enterprises, a multisite solution is the clear winner based on the flexibility and scalability it provides.
Must-have multilingual site features
There are three main features necessary for a multilingual site to be successful.
- Geolocation detection
This is done automatically through various WordPress plugins. Geolocation detection pinpoints where the user is geographically and enables personalization for languages and content based on that location.
- Subdomains and/or subdirectories
Using a subdomain or a subdirectory helps map domains for a multisite setup. Enabling subdomains/subdirectories for a multilingual site offers additional flexibility for themes, content, etc., and provides a more personalized and localized CX/UX.
- Automated or machine translations
Automatic translations, done via machine learning or artificial intelligence (ML/AI), are sometimes less accurate but save time and enhance editorial workflows—especially for small content teams. There are numerous plugins and APIs available with WordPress VIP.
How to localize your enterprise site on WordPress VIP
Each localization process looks different based on the size and scope of the project, but there are a few common threads.
Single site instance localization
- Install translation or multilingual plugin(s), or manually translate and add content
- Assign custom post types and taxonomies per language or region
- Assign custom permissions for user access to specific languages or regions
Multisite instance localization
- Begin a multisite launch
- Install multisite or migrate to a multisite instance
- Launch a new network site in the existing multisite for each language
- Install and activate multilingual plugin of choice
- Review restriction methods for unlaunched content/translated sites under development
- Map new language domains
- Assign user permissions based on network sites