Whether you run a cloud-based business, an e-commerce platform or a personal blog, there’s no denying that WordPress is the best CMS you could settle for. The reasons for its dominance on the market are numerous, ranging from affordable WordPress hosting, ease of use and frequent updates to its plethora of themes and plugins available for customization.
One such aspect of customization worth keeping in mind is translation or the process of making your content available to as many people across the globe. According to Shutterstock, 60% of consumers rarely engage a website which is exclusively in the English language, with 80% stating that they would be willing to purchase items from websites which offer a high level of personalization, or in this case, translated content for their convenience.
Choosing the right plugin from a variety of different developers, lists of features and business models can be daunting, however. With that in mind, we’re here to take a look at several important aspects of translation plugins for WordPress websites, why you should care about them, as well as how you can pick the best one for your needs.
The Advantages of WordPress Website Translation
Before we get into the details on how to choose the best translation plugin for your website, let’s talk about the importance of translated content for your website as a whole. One of the most essential aspects of content optimization for WordPress hosting on the web lies in SEO.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of trends and algorithms governed by Google and their search engine. Due to the advancement in Google’s machine-learning AI, content with personalization and accessibility will always rank high in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) as opposed to links riddled with popular keywords. Thus, adding translation or localization to your WordPress hosting, content and sitemap in different global languages will effectively increase your organic traffic, conversion rates, and industry reputation.
Most importantly, your content will be available to a variety of readers, customers and followers regardless of whether they speak English, Spanish, German or Italian (just to name a few). Given that translation’s importance for WordPress websites cannot be overstated, let’s dive further and talk about different plugin characteristics which you should keep in mind when choosing your translation tools going forward.
Translation Plugin Points to Consider
The Types of Content you Produce
The first order of business in regards to choosing your WordPress translation plugin is to think about its application. Rather, you should think about all the content types present on your website. Every translation plugin has a certain niche in which it excels compared to others in its category.
Some plugins work well with multimedia content and caption generation while others work wonders with forms, PDF files or even product description translation. Make sure that you know what kinds of files and content your translation plugin will have to localize into different languages before you settle for the perfect tool for your website.
The second item on your list of considerations should be to focus on who will use the plugin and how in regards to your content. Different plugins come with a variety of options, customization features, and basic or in-depth functionality.
Depending on how advanced your translation activities will be, you should choose a translation plugin which will match your needs. Don’t pick the most complex plugin “just in case you need it”. Likewise, don’t settle for the fool-proof option since you might require certain advanced features unavailable in simple, lightweight plugins.
The Price Point
Translation plugins, just like any other WordPress plugin out there, come in two forms – free and premium. While both types are self-explanatory, you should take time to consider which business model suits your needs the most.
If you require constant, day-to-day translation of dozens of different pages into a variety of languages, premium might be the choice for you. On the other hand, if you only require occasional translation and don’t publish written content frequently, basic, free translation plugins might do the job quite adequately. Discuss your content strategy with your creatives and writers before settling for the choice which suits your delivery style and available resources.
The Language Selection
When discussing translation, it’s worth noting which languages and regions you would like to cover with your content before opting for a plugin. Do you intend to offer the typical selection of English, German, French, Italian and Spanish to your readers? Or do you require more niche options such as Greek, Russian, Japanese or Scandinavian languages?
Platforms such as The Word Point can help you fill in any gaps in the language selection and content translation if your plugin lacks certain writing options. Make sure that you pick translation plugins based on the number of languages which they support contrasted to your website’s needs. It’s pivotal that you do this beforehand in order to avoid uninstalling selected plugins and searching for new ones with the right languages later down the line.
Automated vs. Manual Translation
Just like with their business models, translation plugins for WordPress websites come in two forms based on their automation and accessibility. Automated translation plugins are self-explanatory and operate in a similar fashion to Google Translate, although with more complex databases available. Manual translation plugins, on the other hand, will allow you to translate content by hand, either personally or with the help of a remote professional.
Again, it comes down to the type of content you intend to publish and whether or not you have someone in mind when it comes to manual translation through the WordPress plugin. Don’t settle for automated translation without research on what is best for your website and its future development – make sure to get it right on the first try.
We’ve touched on SEO algorithms and their importance for your website’s performance and user engagement in previous paragraphs. However, SEO can and should find its way into your content optimization strategy in some form, whether through the translation plugin or separate from it.
If you already have an SEO strategy in place apart from your translation initiative, don’t worry about SEO in the plugin itself. However, if you lack proper SEO tools on your WordPress website, it might be a good idea to select a translation plugin which is equipped with rudimentary keyword optimization and content formatting options all-in-one. This is important since you will have to add language-specific trending keywords and phrases to each of your languages if you want your content to rank well with local search queries across the globe.
Support & Updates Availability
Lastly, one of the biggest points to consider when choosing your translation plugin revolves around how active it is from the development standpoint. Just like with your WordPress hosting, the translation plugin should be in active development or at least currently exist in a fully realized, functional version available to the public.
It’s also worth considering how easy it is to contact the developers and ask for feedback or further functionality to be added to the plugin if they are still working on new versions of their plugin. Don’t choose outdated, abandoned translation plugins since they will affect your website’s SEO performance in a negative way. Settle for options which are widely regarded as functional, active and feature positive reviews and testimonials from other websites which will add credence to the plugin’s overall quality.
When it comes to settling for the best translation plugin for your website, the dilemma can be paralleled to choosing the WordPress hosting solution in its difficulty. After all, the tool you choose and the translated content it produces will reflect in your business’ reputation and public reception around the world.
Don’t rush into the decision simply to compete with other websites in your industry as soon as possible. Do what is best for your website and business as a whole and inspect different plugins before settling for the perfect match.