One of the best ways to expand your business is by building a multilingual website. To help, you might need to hire a developer.

But it is not as simple as hiring someone and leaving them to it. There are steps you can take to help your developer and ensure your new website finds new clients.

To find out exactly what you can do, WPML has spoken to WPML Contractors. They are experienced WordPress and WPML developers. The contractors told us what business owners can do to help them in the process of building a multilingual website.

Here are the key topics covered:

You can check out the full responses from the 7 developers.

Below we have a summary of their advice.

Common misconceptions about building a multilingual website

According to developers, businesses add too many languages to a website. They also fail to understand that simply translating their content does not guarantee traffic.

The WPML Contractor Pieter Bos says “Many businesses want to add >5 different languages. But they forget that when making content available in those languages, clients also expect to be able to contact them in those languages.” Therefore, businesses need to commit resources to translate the whole purchasing process.

Pieter Bos helped build Wogen’s multilingual website

Companies might also neglect keyword research when translating. Black Donkey Lab says you need to combine decent translation with intelligent researching and matching of keywords. Doing so brings in longtail organic search engine traffic.

What should clients know about the process of building a multilingual website?

In one of the first conversations, clients will be expected to offer a clear definition of what they want from this project and to agree on the plan going forward.

Milan Latinovic says “days of planning can save you weeks of coding.” He explains how it is first important to understand the requirements and timeframe of the project. He also says both sides will invest hours researching structure issues before the actual development takes place.

Milan Latinovic helped build Chicago Travel Tours

Mike Gordon adds that once the planning is out of the way the developer will get to work and will keep you updated. After they have added all the content you will both perform a page by page review to make sure it is up to standard.

What businesses should prepare beforehand

Businesses should plan how they will use their resources and time while the developer is building the website.

Jevgenijs Cernihovics says businesses owners should assign resources to find a translation service you trust. After all, they will be the ones handling all of your content. Relying on machine translations such as Google could be a costly mistake.

The developer Mike Dickson warns businesses to be patient with the website. He says “for every language, you’re doubling the site content and it takes time to manage it.” Therefore, you should ensure other activities you are working on are not relying on its progress.

Benefits of a translated website which businesses might not be aware of

Businesses tend to overlook the impact of SEO when building a multilingual website.

Christos Vasilopoulos says businesses don’t know having a page with different languages could be bad for SEO. This is the case if you do not make adjustments. He says people do not know the rules on how search engines rank and penalize websites.

Christos helped build Daphnes Club’s multilingual website.

How to make a developer’s life easier

Developers say you can help by explaining any ideas you have. You should also be flexible about solving problems.

Mike Dickson tells us that as long as you can articulate a concern they can solve it. However, he warns businesses not to fixate on a solution they think is best. Instead, they should be open-minded about alternative approaches.

Black Donkey Lab agrees it is important to communicate. It says companies should explain the strengths of their business and what products and services they want to focus on. For example, which product has the highest profit margin. That way they can build a plan that will bring long-term success.