Successful startups and companies are growing fast. It is therefore not surprising that national borders (or language borders such as in the DACH region) are quickly crossed and that products and services are offered abroad. This is where websites that rely on Webflow quickly run into a “problem”:
Webflow does not (yet) offer a native solution for offering websites in multiple languages.
But that is definitely not a broken leg. The obstacle has been known for a long time and therefore there are some really good solutions for how multilingualism works.
Automate the multilingualism of your Webflow website with Weglot
Weglot calls itself “the easiest way to translate a website.” From our experience, this is absolutely true for Webflow websites. Once registered, Weglot offers a quick and easy setup. At the end, a simple script is used to embed it in <head>your own website and the Language Switcher appears at the bottom of the screen.
Benefits of Weglot:
- quick and easy setup (< 5 minutes, possible without a developer)
- high scalability due to the selection of over 50 international languages
- Automatic recognition and translations for new languages
- High translation quality, as it is based on AI (e.g. Deepl or Google Translate)
- Individual adjustments to the translated texts
- 1-Click to add more languages
- Adjustments to the texts in the glossary or via the practical visual editor
- Custom URLs for languages
- Automatic redirection of website visitors to their preferred language
- Top customer service and quick help
Disadvantages of Weglot:
- Swapping pictures for other languages is a bit cumbersome (but possible)
- Country-specific content can only be used in a scalable way with additional custom code (e.g. if other testimonials for other countries are to be shown)
- Custom URLs for languages only available from the Pro plan
- Relatively high pricing (but the higher price is quickly worthwhile due to scalability)
- Complex language switcher design adjustments are only possible with custom code
Is Weglot good for SEO?
It takes a lot of things to be successful in the SEO “game” (read also: The Webflow SEO Guide for Beginners). If these points are implemented in the main language of the website, Weglot is like a booster on the international level. The 3 main features that are important for internationalizing your SEO strategy and that Weglot does for you fully automatically are:
1. Dedicated language URLs
Weglot automatically creates new URLs for each language. These can be set up as subdirectories (e.g. /en/...) or as subdomains (e.g. en.yourwebsite.com). These URLs are the foundation for Google and other search engines to index your multilingual pages.
2. Hreflang tags
Hreflang tags tell search engines the language of your website and thus help improve understanding and indexing of your website. Technically, these are relatively difficult to implement, but Weglot does this automatically.
3. Translated meta data
Meta data, such as the titles or descriptions of your website sub-pages, is largely responsible for whether a person chooses your website in the search results. Weglot automatically translates them and thus ensures that your website ranks better in international search queries.
4. Full server-side translation
Weglot automatically recognizes all content that needs to be translated. This includes content in menus or complex CMS structures. Translations are done on the server side (an SEO-friendly option, as the translations are done before they are sent to the website visitors' web browsers) and website texts in other languages can be extracted directly from the source code. The problem with “semi-translated” websites that could confuse visitors and bots is therefore also a thing of the past.
Update: Webflow Announces Localization for Fall 2023
The fact that Webflow is missing a native multilingual feature is an open secret. But something is finally moving at Webflow HQ: Webflow Localization has been announced for fall 2023.
What is localization and is localization different from multilingualism?
Localization can be understood as a collective term for all website features that aim to adapt the website experience for different countries/languages. Multilingualism is therefore a component of localization, which allows content to be available in other languages.
In addition to multilingualism, localization also includes:
- Content adjustments based on user location (e.g. an image from Rome should be shown when the website is loaded in Italian)
- Country-specific content (e.g. different testimonials for different countries or showing and hiding sections based on relevance for other country markets)
What should Webflow Localization be able to do?
Only information from this blog post is available yet. However, these suggest great features:
- You can switch between languages in Webflow Designer
- Texts from static and CMS-based pages can be adapted for all languages
- Both manual translations and automatic AI translations, as well as external providers (such as Weglot) should be possible here
- There should also be a flexible API, which should be used to connect further services for translations
- Images and content can be varied for specific languages
- Alt tags and meta data can be set granularly for all languages
- URLs for multilingualism can be managed via subdirectories
- The visibility of elements can be set for different languages
- Styles (such as headlines and paragraphs) should be adaptable for different languages
- There will be a customizable language switcher
- Content can be published for all languages or only for specific languages
- The automatically generated sitemap includes all URLs and in future also the Hreflang tag
Webflow's announcements are huge. It remains to be seen which of the above features we can expect as early as autumn. However, it will be exciting how Weglot goes hand-in-hand with the new native solution.
As a Webflow and Weglot Partner Agency, we are also available to our customers for complex multilingual projects. For example, the new parking depot website (Webflow Development by Virtual Entity) was published as a case study by Weglot: https://www.weglot.com/customers/parkdepot