How to Build a Multi Language Website

Discover the Best Way to Create a Multilingual Site

If you’re reading this guide, it’s likely you already know how important a multi language website can be. Did you know, for example, that 75% of global consumers prefer to buy products in their native language?

There are two main ways to build a multi language website, which we’ll walk you through in this guide. The first method is to use a website builder, while the second method is to build with WordPress.

Website builders are best if you need something quick, easy, and professional. Alternatively, WordPress is best if you have time, basic tech skills, and want ultimate control over your site. We’ll help you choose the best method for you, so read on to get started!

Option 1: Use a Website Builder

How to Build a Multi Language Site Using a Website Builder: 9 Steps

  1. Choose the best website builder for you.
  2. Sign up to the right plan for you.
  3. Register a unique domain name.
  4. Pick a template you love.
  5. Customize your design.
  6. Add and format (and translate) your site’s content.
  7. Make it multilingual!
  8. Preview and test your website.
  9. Publish your multi language website online.

Step 1: Choose the best website builder for you

The very first thing you need to do to build your multi language website using a website builder is, well, choose a website builder!

There are hundreds of different builders out there, which can make picking the right one difficult. Luckily for you, our expert team has put in the hours finding the very best website builders on the market. Our careful research cuts through the noise to bring you only the top rated platforms – so all you need to do is pick one!

Our three best rated website builders are Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly. You can see how they scored in our research below:

Best All-Round Website Builder

4.7out of 5

Top Choice
Ease Of Use

4.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.5 out of 5 stars

Best Design Orientated

4.3out of 5

Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

4.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3 out of 5 stars

Best for Small Business & Portfolios

4.1out of 5

Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

3.5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.5 out of 5 stars

To bring you the best results, we test different areas of every website builder we review. These areas include ease of use, features, value for money, help and support, and design. Each area receives a star rating out of five, and the builder receives an overall rating, too.

You can read our full methodology to learn more about our website builder research process.

Here’s a guide to our star ratings and what they mean:

star rating system explanation

As you can see, Wix received the highest star rating, making it the best website builder overall. One of Wix’s standout strengths is that it’s extremely easy to use, while still offering tons of creative freedom – you don’t have to sacrifice customization for easy editing.

Each of these builders comes with its own set of pros, cons, features, and strengths that may appeal to you. We’ll quickly walk you through each one to help you decide.

Wix

Overall star rating: 4.7 out of 5

Best overall website builder

Free plan? Yes

Cheapest price plan: $13 per month (billed annually)

Multi language features: Wix Multilingual feature built into your site settings

Wix earned its top spot in our rankings with its huge range of over 500 stylish template designs, its easy to use editor, and its ability to provide total creative freedom, even for beginners. You don’t need to code to use Wix, and its free plan means anyone can get started.

But what about multi language options? Once you’ve built your site, you simply enable Wix Multilingual in your site settings, and you have over 100 languages to choose from. We’ll discuss this in more detail later!

Find out more

Like the sound of Wix? Read or full Wix Review to discover more about our top rated builder.

Squarespace

Overall star rating: 4.3 out of 5

Best website builder for creatives 

Free plan? No – 14-day free trial instead

Cheapest price plan: $12 per month (billed annually)

Multi language features: Create different sets of pages for each language

Squarespace can’t be beaten in terms of template design – its award-winning designs are professional, modern, and attractive, making them perfect for creatives. It has a 14-day free trial, and you don’t need coding skills to create a website with Squarespace.

That said, Squarespace isn’t as easy to use as Wix – and this applies to its multi language features, too. It doesn’t have built-in multilingual tools like Wix does – instead, it recommends creating a set of pages for each language.

Out of the three builders, Squarespace is the hardest one to create a multi language website with. The process takes time and patience, and if you’re not technically confident, we recommend Wix or Weebly for your multi language site instead.

Find out more

  • Are you excited at the thought of Squarespace’s stunning designs? Our in-depth Squarespace Review will help shine a light on whether this builder is right for you.

Weebly

Overall star rating: 4.1 out of 5

Best for small businesses 

Free plan? Yes

Cheapest price plan: $6 per month (billed annually)

Multi language features: Use a multi language app from Weebly’s App Center

With a free plan and a strong ecommerce focus, Weebly is a popular builder that’s great for small businesses. It also comes with impressive blogging and SEO features, and a huge app store to help customize and scale your website.

The best way to create a multi language website with Weebly is to use one of the multi language apps available in Weebly’s App Center, which you can install with a single click.

Find out more

  • Weebly is a feature-rich and affordable builder – learn more about what makes Weebly so popular (and what it’s not so good at) in our detailed Weebly Review.

We know picking the right builder can be hard, so here are a few tips to help you make the best choice:

  1. How technically confident are you? If you’re a tech beginner, you’ll want an easy to use builder – in this case, pay extra attention to our “ease of use” star ratings!
  2. What’s your budget? If you’re on a tight budget, look for affordable pricing plans. We don’t recommend using a free plan for long – try to only use it for testing out builders and their features.
  3. What sort of site are you building? Blogs and online stores have different needs, for example, so make sure to research any features you need thoroughly.
  4. Can you try the builder for free? We highly recommend making the most of free plans and free trials – it’s super important to try before you buy! Sample a few different builders to see which one you like the best before committing.
Before moving on, make sure you have: 

  • Looked at different website builders
  • Tried out your favorite options
  • Chosen the right builder for you

Find out more

  • Not a fan of any of our top three builders? No problem – we have a whole list of the Best Website Builders on the market for you to choose from!

Step 2: Sign up to the right plan for you

Once you’ve picked the builder you want to use, you’ll need to choose a price plan.

We’ll start off by saying that although a lot of website builders let you build for free, we don’t recommend this if you want a professional website. Free plans aren’t designed for long-term use – they’re not scalable or built to support serious growth.

The good news is, even website builders’ paid plans are much less expensive than hiring a web designer.

When choosing a plan, look at the features on offer as well as the prices. For example, if you’re building a multi language store, then you’ll need a plan that comes with ecommerce tools!

You can choose between a monthly or annual subscription, but a quick heads up – builders usually advertise monthly prices for annual plans. For example, Wix’s $13 per month Combo plan is billed annually, which means you’ll actually be paying $156 upfront for the year.

Before moving on, make sure you have: 

  • Compared different price plans
  • Found one that suits your needs as well as your budget
  • Decided whether you want a monthly or annual subscription
  • Signed up to your chosen price plan

Find out more

Step 3: Register a unique domain name

When you sign up, chances are you’ll be able to register a domain name as part of the setup process. Your builder may give you a free domain for one year, in which case you can choose and register your domain without paying a cent!

Most builders let you buy domains directly through them. If your builder doesn’t come with this capability, you’ll need to buy a domain from a registrar like GoDaddy, and then connect it to your site. Buying directly from your builder is much quicker and easier, though!

Domains vary in price, but on the whole they cost between $12 and $30 per year.

Domains are unique, meaning you have to register one that doesn’t belong to anyone else. We’ve put together some top tips for choosing a domain below:

  1. Make it short – domains should be memorable, so try to make yours short and snappy!
  2. Keep it relevant – ideally your domain should reflect your website or brand.
  3. Avoid complex language – if nobody can spell your domain, chances are they’ll struggle to find it.
  4. Don’t use numbers or punctuation – when you say a number aloud, others don’t know if it should be written out or not. For example, www.lucyscupcakes2.com sounds exactly the same as www.lucyscupcakestwo.com, which is confusing!
  5. Make it unique – you can’t use the same domain as anyone else, so register yours before it’s too late! If your domain is already taken, don’t just add a number on the end or change the spelling slightly. Try to find a domain that’s completely yours. 
Before moving on, make sure you have: 

  • Checked if your builder lets you register a domain in-house
  • Checked if your chosen plan gives you a free domain
  • Decided on your ideal domain
  • Registered your domain name so that nobody else can take it!

Find out more

Step 4: Pick a template you love

So you have an account and a domain, but still no website. That’s about to change, though!

Now is the time to pick a template design. This will provide the base for your website’s layout, design, and page structure, so it’s worth taking your time and picking a template you love.

multilingual websites squarespace templates
Click the image to browse Squarespace’s template gallery.

You can customize your design to make it yours, so don’t worry if you don’t love everything about your template. Still, you should be happy with the general style and aesthetic, as changing everything is a lot of work!

It’s worth mentioning here that Wix’s Multi Language feature is only available if you build your site using the traditional Wix Editor, rather than Wix ADI.

When you build using the Wix Editor, you follow the steps we’re describing in this guide. You sign up, pick a template to customize, and build your site yourself.

Wix ADI is Wix’s design assisted builder. It builds a website for you, by asking you questions to tailor its designs. In this case, you don’t choose a template first because Wix ADI creates a tailored design based on your specific needs.

While this may sound appealing, you can’t build a multi language website using Wix ADI, so we recommend using the traditional Wix Editor.

You can learn more about Wix Editor vs Wix ADI in our helpful comparison.

multilingual website wix templates
Click the image to browse Wix’s templates and start creating your multi language website.

Luckily, all of Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace’s templates can be used to create a multi language website, so we’ll just leave you to explore their designs for a while. Happy browsing – join us for step five (customizing your design) whenever you’re ready!

how to build a multilingual website weebly templates
Click on the image to browse Weebly’s selection of templates.
Before moving on, make sure you have: 

  • Previewed different designs to see which one you like the best
  • Selected your favorite template

Step 5: Customize your design

Once you’ve chosen your template, you get to have fun customizing it!

None of our three top builders require you to know any code, so you can create a unique site without any serious tech skills.

Change up the colors on your site, pick your own font, upload your own images, add galleries, and mix up the general page structure – don’t be afraid to put your own spin on your template! Here are some of the key things to think about when customizing your site:

  • Color schemes
  • Fonts
  • Images
  • Buttons
  • Menus 
  • Logo placement
  • Headings

These are just some of the basic elements you can easily change to give your website a more unique and branded design. To learn more about the best ways to customize your template, check out our guide on How to Design a Website for eight simple steps to follow.

Whatever design customizations you make, always make sure your choices – your color scheme, for example – are consistent across your website.

Before moving on, make sure you have: 

  • Experimented with different design options
  • Customized your design until you’re happy
  • Made sure your design is consistent across all your pages

Step 6: Add and format (and translate) your site’s content

Now you’ll have a beautifully customized website, but it’s not looking quite right. It’s still got the sample text that came with the template!

Now is the time to write, upload, and format the copy for your website. This includes a welcome page, your About Us page, button text, blog posts, product descriptions, and so on.

We have a guide revealing our top tips for writing for the web, to help you get the most out of your online copy, so check that out when you have a minute!

website builder expert writing for the web infographic

When formatting your text, try to avoid large paragraphs or small fonts – you want your text to be as easy to read as possible. Use headings and white space to break up your text and keep your readers engaged.

Once you have your site’s content sorted, it’s a good idea to start translating. Sadly, not many website builders have tools that can translate your content for you, so starting the process now will speed things along in the next section!

Before moving on, make sure you have: 

  • Written content for your website
  • Uploaded it onto your site, replacing the sample template text
  • Formatted your content to make it readable
  • Started translating your text

Step 7: Make it multilingual!

How you go about translating your website will depend on which website builder you’re using, as each one has different multi language features and capabilities. We’ll walk you through translating your website using Wix in most detail first, but we’ll also look at Squarespace and Weebly in just a second.

Using Wix Multilingual

Wix Multilingual works by creating versions of your website. It does this instead of creating duplicate sites, which can become difficult to manage. You simply switch between these versions to make changes.

When you add something new to your site – a button, for example – it appears across all versions of your site, meaning you effectively only need to design your site once. You then go through and make any necessary translations in each language.

So, how do you get started with Wix Multilingual?

wix multilingual settings
You can find the Wix Multilingual feature in your settings while editing your site.

Go to your Settings in the Wix editor, select Wix Multilingual, and click “Get Started” to add it to your site.

wix multilingual get started
Wix Multilingual makes it easy to translate your site into multiple languages.

Then, choose your main language and your secondary languages. It’s easy to switch between languages in your editor using the Switch Languages panel at the top of the Editor.

wix multilingual main language
wix multilingual second language

Translate your site menu by simply double-clicking on each menu item and entering the translation, then clicking Done to finalize it.

Translate your site’s content by clicking on the text you want to translate. Two buttons appear – one that says “Edit Translation”, and another that says “Translate With Google.”

wix multilingual editing text
When you click on a text box, you’ll see two buttons appear to let you translate the content you’ve selected.

The first is a manual option – handy if you’ve already translated your content, or if you speak multiple languages. The second option uses Google to automatically translate your text right there inside your editor, which is helpful but not always 100% reliable.

By selecting images and clicking “Edit Translation”, you can change the image settings for different languages, and even replace the image completely so that different audiences see different content!

wix multilingual image edit translation
Click on Edit Translation to make changes to images for different languages.

You can translate some Wix apps, including Wix Stores, Wix Events, and Wix Chat. Not all apps are translation friendly yet, but Wix says this is something it’s working on. These apps are usually translated from the Multilingual dashboard (rather than from the editor like text and images).

wix multilingual dashboard
You can manage your translations and translate apps from your Multilingual dashboard.

These are the basic steps to using Wix Multilingual – you can find more detail and examples in Wix’s guide to translating your site if you still have questions!

Squarespace doesn’t have built-in multi language functionality like Wix does, meaning it doesn’t make your life quite as easy. Squarespace’s official recommendation for creating a multi language website is to create separate sets of pages for each language.

This is a lot more work than using a built-in tool, so just a heads up that if you want something quick and easy, this option isn’t for you. The easiest way to create a multi language Squarespace website is to use a third party plugin like Weglot.

If you want to follow Squarespace’s official multilingual guide, you’ll need to set up a homepage to link to each version of your site, a set of pages in each language, and a drop-down menu of each language option.

While Weebly doesn’t come with built-in multi language capabilities, it’s still easier to set up than Squarespace. This is thanks to Weebly’s huge app center, where you can add extra functionality to your website in a couple of easy clicks.

Simply search “multilingual” in Weebly’s App Center, and choose the multi language app you want to install (there are both free and premium versions). Weebly apps are easy to install – all it takes is a click or two, and they appear automatically in your site editor.

The translation features you get depend on the app you choose. For example, the ConveyThis app can actually translate your content for you, while the Bablic Translation app provides free one-on-one consultations and a network of professional translators.

We recommend checking out the ConveyThis app first – it has a free plan, carries out automatic translations for you, and provides professional translators to help you with proof-reading and corrections.

Before moving on, make sure you have: 

  • Looked at the best way to translate your website
  • Set up your site for translation (for example, by installing an app)
  • Translate your site!

Step 8: Preview and test your website

Before you hit publish, it’s always a good idea to preview and check over your website to make sure there aren’t any formatting issues that need fixing. Here are a few things to look out for when previewing your website:

  • Broken links
  • Images that aren’t loading
  • Slow-loading pages
  • Spelling mistakes
  • Inconsistencies in design 
  • 404 pages or error messages
  • Confusing menu navigation
  • Clunky mobile view

Checking your website is a common step in building a website – but it’s even more important if you’re building a multi language website!

You need to go through each language and check for the common glitches we’ve listed above. If you have different content or images for different audiences, there’s more room for error to sneak in, so go over everything with a careful eye to ensure everything looks as you planned.

It’s also worth double-checking your translations. Automatic translators are never 100% perfect, so if you copied and pasted from Google Translate, chances are there are mistakes in your copy.

Think about hiring a professional to proofread your website before publishing. Some translation services and apps come with a network of translators you can hire, or you can always look on Fiverr for freelance translators.

Before moving on, make sure you have: 

  • Checked your website is free from errors
  • Double-checked your translations

Step 9: Publish your multi language website online

Once you’re happy with your website, you can publish it for everyone to enjoy, no matter what language they speak!

Here’s a quick recap of the steps you’ve followed to reach this exciting moment:

  1. Choose the best website builder for you.
  2. Sign up to the right plan for you.
  3. Register a unique domain name.
  4. Pick a template you love.
  5. Customize your design.
  6. Add and format (and translate) your site’s content.
  7. Make it multilingual!
  8. Preview and test your website.
  9. Publish your multi language website online.

Once your site is live, it’s up to you to keep it updated, promote it, and help it grow – but that’s a topic for a different article (our How to Promote Your Website guide, for example!)

If you’re still not convinced a website builder is the right choice for you, then skip to the next section, where we walk you through how to build a multi language website with WordPress. If a website builder is the right choice for you, then happy building!

Using a Website Builder: FAQs

Ah, we thought you might ask that! The “website builders are terrible for SEO” myth has been around for ages. Like many myths, it is grounded in truth – back when website builders were still new, many of them did have pretty awful SEO features.

But things have changed! These days, a Wix site could certainly rank in the top spot for Google, as long as the site owner knows what they’re doing.

Technically, yes! Both Wix and Weebly have free plans that come with no time limit and no hidden costs. However, we don’t recommend building your site for free. Your website won’t look professional, you’ll have adverts displayed on your site, and the features will be pretty limited. As tempting as it is, avoid staying on the free plan for longer than you have to.

Yes! You’ll just need to choose an ecommerce plan, which will let you accept payments and unlock the sales tools provided by your builder.

Wix’s cheapest ecommerce plan costs $23 per month (billed annually), while Squarespace’s cheapest ecommerce plan costs $18 per month (billed annually). Weebly, meanwhile, actually lets you sell for free!

Option 2: Use WordPress (with Bluehost)

How to Build a Multi Language Site Using WordPress: 9 Steps

  1. Decide if you want to use WordPress.
  2. Choose the best web host for you (we recommend Bluehost).
  3. Register a unique domain name.
  4. Install WordPress to start building.
  5. Pick a theme you love.
  6. Customize your site and create your content.
  7. Make your site multilingual!
  8. Install any extra plugins you need.
  9. Check, preview, and publish your multi language WordPress site.

Step 1: Decide if you want to use WordPress

WordPress is an open-source platform, which means that you have total control over your website.

WordPress is powerful, flexible, and scalable – it can handle everything from baby blogs to incredibly complex websites, and there’s no glass ceiling in your way. The downside is that it takes more time and work to make a WordPress website successful than if you used a website builder.

WordPress is probably right for you if: 

  • You want full control over your website
  • You enjoy the thought of getting hands-on with your website
  • You’re planning a complex website
  • You dream about unlimited customization
  • You’re not in a rush
  • You’re happy to get a little technical now and then

Sound good? Awesome – let’s get on with finding you a web host!

Before moving on, make sure you have: 

  • Considered if WordPress is right for you
  • If it’s not right for you, look at a web builder instead
  • If it is right for you, read on!

Step 2: Choose the best web host for you (we recommend Bluehost)

WordPress is a self-hosted platform (unlike a website builder, where your site is hosted for you). Hosting is like a home for your website, and it’s important to pick the right one. If you choose a subpar web host, your site will struggle to succeed.

Luckily, we’ve spent hours researching, rating, and comparing hosting providers, so you can choose from the very best. And when it comes to WordPress, you won’t find any better than Bluehost

Bluehost not only outperformed its competitors in our research, scoring 4.8 stars out of 5, but it also comes with an official recommendation from WordPress itself.

Best WordPress hosting provider

4.8out of 5

Top Choice
Hosting Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Disk Space

5 out of 5 stars

Uptime

4 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

We recommend Bluehost because it has WordPress-specific plans with features to support WordPress sites. These features include automatic WordPress updates and automatic one-click WordPress installation, designed to make your life easier.

Of course, Bluehost isn’t the only great web host for WordPress users on the market – check out our carefully researched list of the 8 Best WordPress Hosts for more options.

Pick a Hosting Plan That Suits Your Needs

Hosting providers will often advertise their cheapest prices, but don’t jump straight onto the cheapest plan you can find. Shared hosting is the cheapest type of hosting, but it’s also the most limited, suitable only for very small blogs and brochure sites.

We recommend shared WordPress hosting – or even better, managed WordPress hosting – for your multi language WordPress website. 

Managed WordPress plans come with more advanced features than shared plans. To give you an idea of what good managed WordPress hosting looks like, Bluehost’s cheapest managed WordPress plan comes with an all-in-one marketing center, daily backups, malware protection, and domain privacy on top of the usual WordPress auto-updates.

how to build a multilingual site bluehost managed wordpress plans
Bluehost’s managed WordPress plans come with features designed to support a professional WordPress website.

Managed hosting is usually more pricey than shared WordPress plans, because it comes packed with more features. For example, Bluehost’s cheapest shared WordPress plan costs $2.95 per month, while its cheapest managed WordPress plan costs $19.95 per month. These are introductory discount prices when you choose a 36-month subscription.

Before moving on, make sure you have:

  • Researched the top web hosts to find the right one for you
  • Chosen a hosting plan that’s affordable and has the features you need
  • Signed up for your hosting plan

Step 3: Register a unique domain name

When you sign up to a hosting plan, you’ll usually find that you get to pick and register a domain as part of the signup process. Some hosts, including Bluehost, even give you a free domain for your first year as part of your plan!

If you already have a domain, you can connect it to your site during the signup process – but if you don’t have a domain name already, then now is the perfect time to register one. Your host will guide you through the process and add any cost to your checkout.

building multi language site bluehost domain signup
Whether you already have a domain name, or you need a new one, you can easily set it up during the signup process.

When choosing your domain name, try to make it unique, relevant, short, and memorable. Your host will tell you if the domain you want is already taken, and will usually suggest alternatives for you to choose from.

Once you’ve found a domain name that hasn’t been registered yet, you can claim it for yourself and continue setting up your hosting plan!

building a multi language site bluehost domain available
Bluehost helps you find a domain as part of the setup process. However, you can skip registering your domain and do it later if you’re in a rush.

Is Your Domain Still Available?

You can’t register a domain name once somebody else has claimed it, so don’t wait! Check if your domain is still available before signing up.
Before moving on, make sure you have: 

  • Thought of the domain you want to use
  • Checked it’s still available
  • Registered a domain for your website

Step 4: Install WordPress to start building

If you’ve chosen a WordPress-specific hosting plan, this should be a quick and easy step, because your host should do all the work for you!

Bluehost comes with automatic WordPress installation. This means that as soon as you’ve signed up for your hosting plan, Bluehost automatically installs the latest version of WordPress, meaning it’s ready for you to start building with straight away.

Installing WordPress manually is possible, but we don’t recommend it. Honestly, it’s not worth the hassle. If your host doesn’t come with automatic WordPress installation, see if there’s a plugin you can use to install WordPress for you, rather than trying to do it yourself.

Before moving on, make sure you have: 

  • Checked if your host offers automatic WordPress installation
  • Installed WordPress

Step 5: Pick a theme you love

To create your website’s layout, structure, and design, you need to pick a theme. There’s an official WordPress theme library where you can browse through thousands of themes, so that’s a good place to start!

how to build a multi language site wordpress theme library
The WordPress theme library has thousands of themes to choose from. Luckily, you can use the feature filter to narrow down your options.

You can apply filters to help narrow down your search, such as only showing full width templates or themes designed for blogs. One filter that we recommend applying is “Translation Ready”, as this will make creating your multi language site much easier!

There are third party theme stores too – such as Theme Forest and Themify – where you can find even more themes.

A word of caution – always be picky when it comes to the theme you choose. Anyone tech savvy enough can create and sell WordPress themes, and some can contain malicious code designed to corrupt your site. Read reviews and do your research to make sure your theme is safe.

  1. Is it mobile-responsive? Internet users (and Google) no longer have time for websites that aren’t mobile friendly!
  2. Is it translation ready? You can find translation ready themes by using the feature filter in the WordPress theme library.
  3. Do I love it? This theme forms the basis for your website’s design – you should love it, and be excited to start working with it on your own website!

Once you’ve found your perfect theme, install it into your WordPress site!

Before moving on, make sure you have: 

  • Browsed themes to find one you love
  • Checked it’s translation ready and mobile-friendly
  • Made sure the theme seems safe
  • Installed your theme

Step 6: Customize your site and create your content

It’s time to customize your theme and upload your content!

You can add content to WordPress by creating new pages (static pages that are always relevant, such as your homepage or About Us page) and new posts (more timely articles, such as blog posts).

WordPress’ editor, Gutenberg, has introduced a block-based editing style, where you choose sections and build your page from a menu containing elements such as text boxes, images, buttons, and so on.

If you want truly unlimited customization in WordPress, it’s worth learning a little bit of code to take your design tweaks to a new level.

Before moving on, make sure you have: 

  • Written and published new content for your site
  • Customized your theme

Step 7: Make your site multilingual!

Now that you have a website and content to translate, you can set about making your website multilingual.

We recommend using the WPML plugin to create your multi language website.

We have a much more detailed guide on how to use this plugin in our How to Make a Multilingual WordPress Website step-by-step walk through. Right now though, we’ll take you through the basic steps to get you started.

First, backup your WordPress website

It’s important that you have a saved version of your site, just in case anything goes a bit sideways.

Buy, download, and install the WPML plugin

Visit the WPML website, pick the plan you want, then download the plugin. You can then install it from your WordPress plugin dashboard. Remember to click Activate to get things started!

Set up your plugin

This involves setting your default language, choosing your secondary languages, and deciding if you want flags or written menus for your language switcher.

Translate your content

The plugin splits your content into sections down the left-hand side of your screen – you can then enter your translation into the boxes on the right. This ensures you don’t miss anything out when you’re translating your pages!

WPML also has an automatic machine translation, which is available on its two most expensive plans. This translates your content for you, without needing to leave WordPress – it does it all in your editor.

WPML also leaves room for you to:

  • Translate content yourself
  • Use a different translation tool (like Google Translate)
  • Find your own translators
  • Use WPML’s Translation Management service, where you can send pages off to be translated by a professional (for an extra cost)

Translate categories, themes, plugins, and menus

With a WordPress site, you rely on a lot of different components to work together to display your site properly. Make sure to translate all the different parts of your site, so that you don’t get random sections in different languages!

Before moving on, make sure you have:

  • Backed up your website
  • Installed the WPML plugin
  • Translated your content
  • Translated plugins, your theme, menus, and so on

Step 8: Install any extra plugins you need

The WPML plugin is useful for translating your WordPress site, but it isn’t the only plugin you’ll need. WordPress sites don’t come with built-in features, so you’ll need to install plugins for all the features you want your site to have.

WordPress has an official plugin directory, which has thousands of plugins to choose from and is a great place to start looking for any extra features you might need. Popular plugins include:

  • SEO – Yoast SEO
  • Security – Wordfence Security Firewall & Malware Scan
  • Contact forms – Contact Form 7
  • Anti-spam measures – Akismet Anti-Spam
  • Ecommerce features – WooCommerce
  • Backups – UpdraftPlus
popular plugins wordpress building multi language website
There are thousands of plugins in the WordPress plugin directory – here are some of the most popular choices.

Try not to add too many plugins, as they can slow your website down – there’s no official recommendation for the correct number, so just keep an eye on your load speeds. Try to aim for around 20 to start with, and see how you go.

Before moving on, make sure you have: 

  • Thought about which plugins you need for your website
  • Found the best plugins – check reviews!
  • Installed extra plugins to use on your site

Step 9: Check, preview, and publish your multi language WordPress site

By now, you should have a beautifully designed, content-rich, multi language WordPress site that’s full of handy features and ready to go live!

As always, you should preview, check, and double check your site. Ask a friend to explore your website and point out any errors they see – you can become blind to your own mistakes, especially if you’ve been working on your site for a long time.

Once you’re happy that your translations are correct, your links are working, and your site is displaying beautifully (and quickly) on all devices, go ahead and publish!

Let’s take one more nostalgic look back at the steps you’ve taken to get here:

  1. Decide if you want to use WordPress.
  2. Choose the best web host for you (we recommend Bluehost).
  3. Register a unique domain name.
  4. Install WordPress to start building.
  5. Pick a theme you love.
  6. Customize your site and create your content.
  7. Make your site multilingual!
  8. Install any extra plugins you need.
  9. Check, preview, and publish your multi language WordPress site.

And there you go – one stunning, multi language WordPress website to delight your international visitors.

Using WordPress: FAQs

Yes! One of the great things about WordPress is how flexible it is. You can switch your theme as many times as you like – just always be sure to save a backup of your site before making any major changes.

No! But it’s the one we recommend, and the one we write about in our guides, because we used WPML ourselves when we translated Website Builder Expert into Spanish, French, and German.

WordPress itself is free, but you can’t actually build or publish your site for free with WordPress. That’s because you have to pay for hosting, and then there are optional costs such as premium themes and plugins, and any developer fees if you decide to hire someone.

The good thing is, these costs are in your control, so WordPress can be as cheap or expensive as you like.

Should You Use a Website Builder or WordPress to Build a Multi Language Website?

Just to be clear, there is no right or wrong answer to the question “should you use a website builder or WordPress to build a multi language website?” Instead, it’s about finding what’s right for you.

Website builders are best for anyone who wants a website that’s easy to build and manage, where you don’t have to focus on the technical side of things too much, and that you can publish pretty quickly.

Website Builder Pros Website Builder Cons
Very beginner-friendly and easy to use, with no tech skills needed Some builders can be limited, meaning you hit a glass ceiling as you grow
You can get a site up and translated quickly Not all builders have multi language capabilities
It’s a cheap option that delivers professional results You have less control than using WordPress

WordPress is best for those who want to create a large, complex website, and don’t mind getting hands on with the technical side of setting up and running a site. This is for people who are happy to take their time learning their way around WordPress, and want total control over their site.

WordPress Pros WordPress Cons
It’s extremely flexible and powerful, giving you ultimate control over your site Using the WPML plugin requires you to be pretty technically confident, especially if you’re translating a large site
It’s free, meaning you can set your own costs by choosing cheap hosting, plugins, etc. WordPress is more time consuming to build with and maintain than a website builder
WordPress is scalable, and can handle complex websites – perfect for very large businesses Prices are hard to calculate because there are multiple costs involved – hosting, security, plugins, etc.

5 Things to Avoid When Building a Multi Language Website

#1. Relying 100% On Google Translate

We hate to parrot your French teacher, but please don’t rely on Google Translate! It’s helpful to a certain extent, but the worst thing you can do when translating your website is to copy and paste whole pages of content into Google Translate and back again.

Yes, it is really quick and easy and useful – but it’s also not always very accurate. 

We’re not saying never use it, we just want to recommend that you don’t rely on it for all of your translations. Use it to check words and short sentences, or just as a helpful reference.

Google Translate is helpful for ensuring that visitors will get a general idea of what you’re trying to say. But, if you want to impress your visitors, win new businesses, and sound professional, then Google Translate is probably not the best option for you.

#2. Too Many Duplicate Pages On Your Menu Bar

So even if you’re willing to manually translate the text on your website, how are you going to create a website where the menu bar doesn’t show multiple pages of the same thing, but in different languages?

The last thing you want to see is a menu bar with three home pages in three different languages. Three versions of every single page will overload your menu bar, and really diminish the user experience for your visitors.

This is where having a language switcher comes in, where you have different versions of your site in different languages – it makes for a much smoother user experience!

#3. Using Fonts That Aren’t International

It’s an easy one to forget, but make sure you choose a font that displays special characters. French accents (like this: é) can totally change the meaning and pronunciation of a word, so they’re important to include and get right!

#4. Including Culturally Insensitive Photos or Words

This usually applies if you’re using outdated stock photos, where cultural stereotypes can sometimes raise their unwanted heads. Make sure the images you’re using are inclusive, and represent the people you’re writing for.

Don’t enthusiastically but carelessly translate your site into 50 different languages, but only show images of one country, one nationality of people, or one style of cuisine, for example.

The same applies to the language and words you use. The basic rule is: think before you speak (or write) – especially if you’re writing for an international or diverse audience!

#5. Messing Up the Date and Time

If you’re displaying the date of blog posts on your site, are you formatting them day-month-year or month-day-year? This is a small, simple thing that can cause endless confusion, even between American and English people!

If you want to avoid confusion, it’s safest to simply write out the full date: July 23rd 2020, for example.

How to Build a Multi Language Website: Conclusion

Creating a multi language website isn’t always as easy as we wish it would be, but there are ways to make your website’s content multilingual. You can even do it without tech skills, or paying someone else to handle the hassle!

The key choice is whether to use a website builder or WordPress to build your multi language site. Website builders are faster, easier to use, and more convenient, while WordPress has more powerful – but also more difficult – multilingual capabilities.

If you choose a website builder, we recommend Wix, with its built-in multilingual features, or Weebly with its choice of apps. Squarespace is a top builder, but it’s more difficult to use.

If you choose WordPress, we recommend Bluehost for your hosting needs, and the WPML plugin for your translation functionality.

Whatever you choose, you’re now all set to go on to create your own multi language website with our step-by-step guide at your side!

Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight. Click here for further information.

45 comments

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  • tranh dong
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  • Catherine Mesot
    Just a comment on WIX. Their multilingual option only works if you have a simple menu and not a drop-down one. So if you website is straight wich just a couple of main pages, it will work but no sub-pages.
  • Deeks
    Smoolis offers both multi-lingual and multi-currency native builder. I havent tested the platform yet but looks interesting. Any one have any comments on this? We just hope the other builders such as Weebly and Wix offer similar native solutions soon. Also, does anyone know if the weebly solution will also work for E-commerce products? -- Regards, Deeks.
    2 replies
    • Rolland
      Hey Deeks, Thank you so much for your information/tip. While in search for a multilingual website builder, I came across to your comment and I had the chance to take a look at Smoolis. It seems a pretty solid solution when it comes to building an online store or a website with multiple languages and currencies. Over the past few months, I've tried many different platforms and slowly figured out that they didn't work for me. Smoolis is a very advanced platform, and I was able to build a multilingual/multi-currency website without any additional programming. Although they miss some features that I'd love to see in the near future, such as the customer login and blog option, I can see that these advanced functions are already on their roadmap, so I'm happy to see that. As they clearly state on their website, so far it is built exclusively for small businesses, but I can see that the platform itself has a lot of potentials! And last but definitely not least, their support is EXCELLENT! Anyway, I am so happy to have discovered their service. Cheers Deeks :)
    • Tom Watts
      Hey Deeks, Thanks for the tip. I've reached out to Smoolis to ask how they have succeeded where companies like Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix and Weebly have fallen down! If I get a response, I'll post to this thread. Multi-lingual + multicurrency websites are definitely something that need addressing, that's for sure. Just so you know, Wix have addressed this in their help guides (more info here). It's a straightforward concept, but a bit time-consuming. Essentially you need to duplicate your site + translate each page, then create a new site menu out of buttons for both your default language and secondary language pages. Not ideal by any means - but a fix! The Weebly fix below is also a clever way of navigating around the issue, but as I mentioned previously, it is beyond the technical ability of many of our readers to do this (but not impossible if you take the time to understand CSS). I haven't tested out the Weebly fix myself, so I'd recommend trying it out if you have the time. Otherwise if anyone else can let us know then please get in touch! thanks for your comment, - Tom
      1 reply
      • Deeks
        Thanks Tom. I look forward to hearing your feedback from Smoolis. I intend to test Weebly and would post once I have an update on that. I would also like to know if you have any recommendations to make the website store show multi-currency? Again this is a challenge in many sites. Somehow Smoolis claims to have both multi-lingual and multi-currency pinned down! Your guidance would be much appreciated. :) Thanks. -- Regards, Deeks.
  • Greg
    This might not be the slickest way of doing it, but I have one dual-language subsite which I approached the following way: The single page contains the entire content, in both English and Chinese, with one stretch of text running after the other. The English content is marked as a specific class (, and so is the Chinese (). I then created two separate style sheets. The default style sheet is set to hide all "chinese" spans. The alternative style sheet is set to hide all "english" spans. There is a button to toggle between them. I also created an extremely simple cookie allowing the page to remember the visitor's choice, so that opening a new page does not revert to the default (that is, English). This could probably also be set for multiple languages.
    1 reply
    • Tom Watts
      Hi Greg, It certainly sounds like you've found an interesting approach to the problem of multi-language sites! However, I fear that it is a bit beyond the scope of our discussion here, as creating classes and editing your CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are not the easiest things to work with or quickly grasp if you're not too tech-savvy. Thanks for joining the discussion though + sharing your novel approach - it's great to hear such innovation! - Tom
      1 reply
      • Deeks
        Hi, It would be nice to get a bit more detail / guidance on how to implement Greg's solution. I'd also like to try out the cookie approach where we can remember user's preference. Thank you, -- Regards, Deeks.
        1 reply
        • Tom Watts
          Hello Deeks, As I mentioned below, Greg's solution is beyond the scope of of the conversation here and I wouldn't feel confident trying to explain his flash of ingenuity. I think he's given enough to go on though if you have a working knowledge of CSS. Likewise, configuring cookies is beyond my own scope of knowledge and may require a wider search online. sorry I couldn't be more help - Tom
  • Phil Richardson
    My search on Google for info on multi language websites allowed me to discover your website at an opportune moment as I am about to create a website in multi languages. By strange coincidence I am also about to register with Wix and as they have an Multi Language app it makes even more sense to do so. A year ago I used Weebly but they have limitations that I now know that Wix does not. Many thanks Jeremy.
    1 reply
    • Tom Watts
      Hello Phil, Thanks for your feedback, it's good to know our discussions have proven useful to you. Best of luck using Wix, it's a great platform that is extremely versatile. Thanks for reading - Tom
  • jihan dee
    Thank you!!!
  • Alex Marsh
    Translator tools has made the things easier for regular translations. It provide results in few minutes which cut down the unnecessary translation cost by human translators. These tools are really helpful. Thanks for sharing!!
    1 reply
    • Jeremy
      Thanks for your comment, Alex!
  • Mark
    Just want to say thank you for that deeper dive into that painful topic. And by the way: Jimdo has not a solution ready besides building to sides or using the first navigation level which is not really state-of-the-art.
    1 reply
    • Jeremy
      Hi Mark, Thanks for your comment and adding to this discussion! Jeremy
  • Kiki
    I have GoDaddy for 3 of my websites. And I've been trying to do a multilingual site for about 2 months. I keep failing. And have even spoken to GoDaddy several times for help. But it cannot be done. If I switch to another websitebuilding company, like Wix or Weebly, which is the better one for the multilingual site? And which has the most easiest transition from swapping all accounts from GoDaddy to the new one? Thanks for the advice.
    1 reply
    • Jeremy
      Hello Kiki, I'd suggest signing up to both website builders to see which one you enjoy working with. Also test out their language conversion tools to see which one you prefer. Each has their own app so will work differently. Try translating a few paragraphs of text to see which one is technically more accurate. Jeremy
  • Harry Kasabian
    Google translate works "some of the time".....
    1 reply
    • Jeremy
      "some of the time" indeed. Whenever I use Google Translate, I can understand what the foreign language is trying to say. But the translation is never perfect. At the end of the day, you can't beat a manual translation, but I suppose not everybody has the financial resources to pay for proper translations. Jeremy