Building an eCommerce site with WordPress can be easier than you think. If you are new to the area of eCommerce, you might initially find making your eCommerce store a challenge. A variety of new concepts need to be dealt with: products, prices, shopping cart management, shipping, provision of different methods for online payments, and so on. Another issue is in making the site multilingual.
We have good news for you. Ready-to-use solutions are available to simplify your life. Today, Yardena Epstein, a WordPress developer from Israel, tells us how she built a multilingual store using the Avada theme, WPML, and WooCommerce plugins. Yardena’s experience shows that building a multilingual eCommerce WordPress site is a straightforward job, so long as the proper components are used.
About the project
The site ceremonietea.co.il is a Hebrew–English eCommerce site created for a client, the owner of a company called Ceremonie Tea. Currently, 45 products are being sold via the site.
What were the reasons for creating an online store
The tea provided by Ceremonie Tea is normally sold in their stationery stores. However, the company wanted to give their customers the option to buy online, particularly those who could not buy the products in the traditional way.
What were the reasons for making the store bilingual
Hebrew is the language of Israel, whereas English is an international language. In making the site bilingual, the company aimed to reach more foreign customers. Moreover, by having the store set and tested for handling two basic languages, the client could easily handle the task of extending the site’s functionality to accommodate additional languages in the future.
What were the challenges to the project
- Right-to-left (RTL) language support
- Hebrew, the main language of Yardena’s project site, is an example of an RTL language, in which writing starts from the right of the page and continues to the left. The second language used in the site is English, which is a left-to-right language. In building a website dealing with these two ways of writing, you have to keep Right-to-Left_Language_Support in mind.
- A user-friendly interface for product translations
- English is the mother tongue of the site owners, and consequently, dealing with product translations is easy for them. The only challenge here was in providing a friendly WordPress interface to manage translations in different languages.
About the site maker
Yardena Epstein creates WordPress sites with Premium Templates for small businesses. She has built about 30 sites in the last three years. Before getting into WordPress, she coded HTML for 10 years at a web design company.
What Yardena says about herself
“I am neither a graphic artist nor a ‘real’ programmer. This is why the system of building WordPress sites based on ready-to-use templates has been a perfect opportunity for me. WordPress, templates, and plugins become increasingly sophisticated and awesome each year.
I have really found a great niche in building small websites for small businesses. In the past, only ‘real’ companies/organizations created websites, and they used ‘real’ website developing companies to build such website. At present, every ‘one-man show’ small business needs a website, and they need a ‘one-man show’ to build it, and that’s me!”
You can read more about Yardena and see the other websites she built with WordPress by visiting her site: http://www.yardenasweb.com/.
Building an online store: What solutions were chosen
For the Ceremonie Tea project, Yardena chose the following WordPress solutions:
- WooCommerce, to deal with eCommerce issues
- WPML, to make the entire site multilingual
- WooCommerce Multilingual plugin, to handle product translation management
- Avada theme, to minimize the custom work to be done to meet the project’s special requirements (RTL support and product presentation, including product reviews and related products viewing)
At this point, let’s have a closer look to see why she decided to choose such solutions.
The WooCommerce plugin is one the most frequently chosen solutions by WordPress users to extend their site with eCommerce functionality. It is free, and so far, it has been downloaded more than two and a half million times from the WordPress repository.
Yardena learned about WPML from the LinkedIn WordPress Experts Group. If one is making a multilingual website, WPML is the only go-to plugin to use.
Yardena lives in Israel, and consequently, many of her clients want a Hebrew–English site. She has built many small business websites with WPML. Ceremonie Tea was her first eCommerce site built with WPML.
How Yardena learned WPML
“I mostly learned WPML from just installing it and finding my way around. As I mentioned, I am not a real programmer, so I need things to be intuitive as I try to stick with default settings. When elements don’t work as they should, I would email support to get help.”
WooCommerce + WPML = WooCommerce Multilingual
To ensure full support for the multilingual eCommerce WordPress site based on WooCommerce, you have to install the WooCommerce Multilingual plugin.
This is a dedicated plugin for WooCommerce product translation management created by WPML makers. The plugin is free and can be downloaded from the WordPress repository.
How the plugin helped Yardena translate the products
By using the WooCommerce Multilingual plugin, all product-related information could be handled easily, including:
- single product information (compare pictures below)
- product category translations
- product tag translations
- product attributes translation (e.g., bag weight)
Even the tag archive pages for viewing the products are fully available in both languages: English and Hebrew.
The WooCommerce Multilingual plugin also supports dealing with different currencies. As Ceremonie Tea currently only ships within Israel, the prices appear in NIS only.
The site was based on Avada theme customized by Yardena to meet her customer’s needs.
Yardena says that she started using the Avada theme months ago and continues to use it for most of her sites for the following reasons:
- Great design and multiplicity of built-in options
- Yardena says that the Avada theme looks sophisticated and offers various customization options and great support. She used to give her clients a choice of themes, but then decided against it because, as she says, “Avada has it all. No need to look at others.”
- WPML support
- The Avada theme was certified to be “multilingual ready” with the WPML Go global program.
- WooCommerce support
- If a theme is WooCommerce ready, then the majority of your work as a WordPress developer has already been done for you. You don’t have to add any custom CSS to make your product pages fit your main site design.
- RTL support
- The most important reason Yardena used the Avada theme was its support for RTL languages, which is necessary for her Hebrew sites. Yardena comments: “Last summer, when Avada came out with RTL support, that meant I was finally going to be able to create a Hebrew (RTL Language)/English-WPML-WooCommerce site. Avada has it all in one.”
What was the most difficult part of building a multilingual eCommerce site?
In combining themes, such as WPML and WooCommerce, the biggest challenge is in understanding the systems to overcome problems that may come up. In Yardena’s case, she had to know which support forum to turn to for help:
“Most of the time, I got it right, but I had situations where I was back and forth with WPML about an issue for a week, and then it hit me that the issue was a WooCommerce issue. Thus, I wrote to WooCommerce, and they quickly helped me resolve the issue.
It is challenging that support forums (WooCommerce, WPML, and Avada) don’t have the same insight I have using all three systems together. This gap gives a lot of stress to a non-programmer like me,” she adds with a smile.
Amir, the CTO of OnTheGoSystems comments:
“We realize that having to ask for support from different sources is frustrating. To improve our clients’ experience, we are undertaking a major update to our support system. Our development and support teams are already working closely with developers from leading plugins and theme houses. The forum update that we’re doing will allow the developers of WooCommerce as well as of other plugins and themes to join support threads. This way, when clients report issues, their problem will be resolved in one place, instead of having to bounce among different platforms and support staff.
We believe this move will serve everyone, including our clients, staff, and colleagues. It will reduce the time required to support clients by allowing everyone involved to communicate in one place.”
Yardena successfully built her first multilingual and RTL language eCommerce site with the Avada theme, WPML, WooCommerce, and WooCommerce Multilingual without having to hack in PHP code. Here’s how she summarizes her work for the Ceremonie Tea site:
“I had been very excited about the possibility that I, Yardena, a non-programmer and non-graphic artist, could put together a Hebrew/English-WPML-WooCommerce site! It is amazing and all owing to the systems of WordPress, WooCommerce, WPML, and Avada, which have created the opportunity to do so.”
Your approach to creating multilingual online stores
What is your method for making your online stores, and how do you deal with different languages? Feel free to share your comments with us.
If there is anything special about your site as regards the use of WPML, please also let us know. Interesting cases will be covered in the next articles in this new Case Studies series.