Translating your website into multiple languages is a great way to enhance the user-experience for international visitors — and will greatly improve your website traffic and search engine presence.
I’ve spoken with the Weglot team many times since its launch in 2016, as they regularly sponsor European WordCamps, and they’re a friendly group of people who are incredibly passionate about what they do.
While Weglot is known for its popular WordPress plugin, it’s worth noting that it also works with any type of website. In addition to WordPress, it offers dedicated plugins for platforms such as Shopify, Squarespace, BigCommerce and Weebly.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can use Weglot to translate your website content.
What Does Weglot Offer?
Weglot will translate your content into any language you select, and let you approve translations through its in-context editor.
Translations are processed automatically using DeepL, Google Translate, Microsoft Translator and Yandex Translate, and multiple team members can edit and approve suggested translations to ensure you’re happy with the outcome. Professional translations are available directly within the Weglot dashboard too.
If you edit translations, the changes are automatically applied to your website in real time.
Weglot supports ‘Multilingual SEO’ in a number of different ways. Firstly, it translates content on the server-side, so search engine bots recognise the translated versions of pages. Secondly, it translates your whole website — including navigation menus, widgets, headers, footers, titles and more. In other words, Weglot translates 100% of a page — not just the content area.
Language sub-directories or sub-domains are created so translated content is correctly indexed by Google, page meta information is translated too, and you can choose to redirect users to pages in their own language.
Thankfully, you don’t need to be a website developer or a search engine whizz to use Weglot effectively, as the service handles all technical aspects of translating pages for you.
Getting Started with Weglot
All you have to do to start translating pages with Weglot is take three simple steps:
- Sign up to Weglot.
- Download the Weglot plugin.
- Enter your account API key in the plugin configuration page.
When you create an account with Weglot, you’re given a ten-day free trial to test the service. If your website has fewer than 2,000 words, your account will be automatically switched to the Weglot Free plan once your trial has ended.
For live websites with more than 2,000 words, once the trial expired, they will have to select a Weglot premium plan or stop using the service..
WordPress users can integrate Weglot into their website using the official Weglot WordPress plugin, which can be downloaded from WordPress.org or from your WordPress admin area.
Once you’ve activated the Weglot WordPress plugin, you’ll be taken to its main configuration page. All you have to do here is enter your Weglot API key, define the language your website is published in and select the languages you want to translate into.
Your website will now be translated through Weglot, and you’ll see a language selection menu at the bottom right-hand side of your pages.
Let’s configure things a little more.
Configuring the Language Button & Excluding Languages
Once your API key has been accepted, the Weglot WordPress configuration page will be expanded to show options for changing the language button and design.
Weglot kindly upgraded my account to the advanced plan to allow me to test all of the features of the service, so I was able to display ten available languages on my language selection menu.
If you prefer, languages can be presented in a list instead of a dropdown box, but I think most people will prefer the dropdown box option as it’s cleaner.
There are four styles of flag available, and you can change the flag for many languages — for example, with Spanish, you can select one of 20 Spanish-speaking countries.
Weglot also lets you disable language names from the language selector, and you can style languages individually using CSS.
While I’m sure many website owners will be happy with the default position of the language selection menu, Weglot also helps to integrate the menu into any part of your website design using HTML, widgets and the WordPress menu system. You can also add the menu to posts and pages using a shortcode.
The default behaviour of Weglot is to translate all content on your website, but you can add conditional exclusions on the main Weglot website to remove certain pages from translation. You can also define an exclusion CSS class, and then use it to hide parts of a page.
For some website owners, this method could be counter-productive — for example, if you have a hundred-page website and only want to translate five pages, you’ll need to set up a rule to exclude 95 pages.
At the bottom of the WordPress configuration page, you’ll see options to redirect users according to their browser language, translate emails and AMP, and enable searching in a visitor’s native language. You can also restrict translations to admin, which is useful when testing things out.
On posts, pages and other custom post types, the Weglot WordPress plugin adds a configuration box for changing the URL slug for each language.
By default, the original URL slug from your native language is used.
The Weglot WordPress plugin makes integrating Weglot a breeze, and simplifies things by placing all major settings on one page. However, you need to access the main Weglot website to manage your translations.
Managing Your Translations on Weglot
The main Weglot website is where you manage translations, view translation statistics, modify settings, check billing and more. When you log in, a dashboard gives you an overview of your plan, as well as the total number of translated words and views for the month.
All of your languages can be viewed from the translations page. Each language shows the total number of translated words and percentage of reviewed words, and there are options to make translations private and also display automatic translations.
Those of you who select a Weglot Advanced or Enterprise plan can also import and export translations in CSV or XLIFF format.
You may have noticed in the above screenshot that each language shows 0% reviewed words on my account. This is because I’ve been content using Weglot’s automatic translations. However, Weglot allows you to manually change the translation of every word on your website.
Filters can be applied on this page to narrow your results, and, if you select a word, you can see a history of the translation, view suggestions, apply labels, mark it as reviewed and more.
To order professional translations, you need to select the words you want to translate from the word review page and add them to your shopping cart. The cost of professional translation depends on the language you’re looking to translate.
A standout feature for me is Weglot’s Visual Editor, which lets you browse your website and make translation changes directly. You can use this tool to modify any content, but it’s particularly useful for changing SEO meta information and navigation menus.
Weglot also allows you to create glossary rules — for a given word, you can choose to always translate or never translate it into other languages.
As mentioned earlier, Weglot doesn’t automatically translate page URLs. In the Weglot WordPress plugin, there’s an option to change URL slugs for each language, but this has to be done manually in the WordPress admin area.
On the main Weglot website, you can view all URL slugs and select to auto-translate the URL. Unfortunately, there’s no option to translate all URL slugs, nor is there an option to make auto-translate the default setting. This is a feature I hope Weglot adds in the future, as translated URL slugs could improve search engine rankings in other countries.
Weglot gives you full control over each translated word on your website, but it’s important to remember that you only need to make changes in the translations area if you aren’t happy with the automatic translations that are generated.
The statistics page breaks down translated page views over any time period, and displays a line chart showing how views have changed over days, weeks and months. The five most translated pages are also shown.
Translated page views are key to understanding how Weglot is helping your business and which languages visitors are reading your website in.
At the time of writing, Weglot had only been active on my website for a week, but I was already starting to see additional traffic from international visitors.
Additional Weglot Settings
There are a host of additional settings in the Weglot settings area that could potentially improve your translation setup. In the general settings page, for example, you can improve automatic translations by type of website you’re translating, the industry it’s in and your role in the project.
Another important setting on this page is ‘Auto Switch’. Enabling this setting will automatically redirect visitors based on the language defined in their browser, which could dramatically increase the number of views to translated pages.
The language switcher page lets you modify the default settings for your language button; the changes you make here will update the settings you defined in the Weglot WordPress plugin (and vice-versa).
The order of languages can be changed on this page too, and this is another setting that can be changed in the Weglot WordPress plugin settings page.
When you integrate Weglot into your website, the service automatically translates all content into the languages you selected. You can create an exclusion CSS class, and then exclude all content within that class from being translated, which could be used to exclude translation for parts of a page, or from areas such as your header or footer.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to upload a list of URLs you want to exclude from translation, therefore you need to exclude URLs one by one or use rules to exclude groups of URLs.
URLs can be excluded from translation from all languages or from selected languages; keywords from the URL can be entered and you can then set rules based on containing the term, starting with it, ending with it or matching exactly. For example, you could choose to exclude URLs that contain the term ‘News’.
As a WordPress user, I’d love to see this functionality expanded, so we can exclude post categories, tags, post types and more.
Your account API key can be retrieved from the settings ‘Setup’ page. In the WordPress settings page, you can choose to translate all emails and allow visitors to search in their native language, and you can translate Accelerated Mobile Pages too.
The Weglot Pro plan and above lets you add team members — all you have to do is enter their email address and then assign them as a manager or as a translator.
That’s all there is to using Weglot. As you can see, it’s a simple service to configure.
Does Weglot Slow Your Website Down?
Website performance is an important issue to me and something I always pay attention to whenever I integrate a new WordPress plugin or service into my website.
I’m pleased to say Weglot didn’t affect the performance of my website, which was a pleasant surprise, as I’d wrongly assumed my website would be a little slower as a result of integrating Weglot and displaying thousands of additional pages.
Weglot only affects website performance if you choose to display flag images in your language selection menu. This is because Weglot stores hundreds of flags on one image file, which is 11,712 x 48 pixels in size and between 35KB and 84KB in weight. However, as flag images undoubtedly make your language menu selection more visually appealing, you may want to continue using them as the effects are minimal. For example, displaying flag images slowed my website down by around 0.2 seconds.
Interestingly, website benchmark services such as GTmetrix didn’t report the additional weight of the flag image file, which created a strange situation where GTmetrix reported translated pages as 0.1 to 0.2 seconds slower than the original page, but showed a lower total page size.
Weglot is able to translate a whole website into multiple languages and not slow it down because it handles everything on the server side. This technique means Weglot won’t increase the size of your WordPress database beyond a couple of rows in the options table to store settings.
If you use a WordPress caching plugin, though, Weglot will greatly increase the number of cached HTML pages for your website. In the space of a week, Weglot required an additional 2GB of storage to accommodate all of those additional files, and this number is increasing rapidly as more pages are translated.
These additional cached HTML pages can be cleared at any time through your caching plugin, but, since the Weglot WordPress plugin doesn’t have any uninstall functionality, you’d have to remove the Weglot rows from the WordPress options table manually.
The Cost of Using Weglot
Weglot states that the cost of using its plugin depends on two variables: The number of words in your project and the number of translated languages you need. This doesn’t tell the full story, though, as Weglot also restricts the number of websites you can use it on and the number of pageviews that are permitted every month.
Pageviews are based upon the number of visits to your translated pages.
As noted earlier, all Weglot users receive a ten-day free trial when they create their account. At this point, the majority of website owners will have to select a premium plan, as the Weglot Free plan has a restriction of 2,000 translated words and 2,000 pageviews.
Five premium plans are available, which increase resources: Starter, Business, Pro, Advanced and Enterprise.
These retail at €9.90 a month, €19 a month, €49 a month, €199 a month and €499-plus a month, respectively. Two months of service are provided free of charge if you choose to pay annually.
Upgrading from the Free plan to the Starter plan increases permitted words and pageviews to 10,000. It also gives you access to professional translators and allows visitor language redirection. Moving up to the Business plan allows you to translate up to three languages and increases your word and pageview limit to 50,000.
The Weglot Pro plan increases supported languages to five, websites to three and words and pageviews to 200,000. This plan also provides statistics of translated pageviews and allows two team members to access your account.
The Advanced plan allows five team members and increases resources to ten languages, ten websites and a million words and pageviews. Translations can also be imported and exported with this plan.
Weglot’s Enterprise plan is a tailored solution for companies that need more resources. In addition to dedicated email support, Enterprise customers also have an account manager and solution engineer assigned to them.
Those of you who want to ensure the highest-possible translation quality will need to take the cost of professional translations into consideration too.
Professional translations cost between €0.08 and €0.20 per word, and pricing depends on the language you’re translating. For example, Spanish and Dutch cost €0.08 per word, Simplified Chinese costs €0.17 per word and Danish costs €0.20 per word.
It’s Not for Blogs
Publishing your website in other languages will extend your reach and increase traffic, which makes Weglot an attractive solution for online shops and businesses, as additional traffic can significantly increase sales and profits.
If you choose to pay yearly, Weglot’s Pro plan only costs an effective rate of €40.83 a month and supports five languages, three websites and up to 200,000 translated words. When you consider how much Weglot can help a business to expand its reach into other countries, it’s easy to justify this cost.
Unfortunately, Weglot’s pricing structure makes it difficult to recommend it to bloggers, because of the volume of content blogs typically publish.
To help you to determine which plan to select, Weglot provides a word count tool that analyses your website and estimates its total number of words. When I analysed my personal blog, the word count tool reached around 740,000 words before timing out and recommending Weglot’s €499-a-month Enterprise plan.
After using Weglot for a week, it’s easy to see why the service is so popular. Integrating it into your website is simple, and, while you can change many configuration settings, leaving features at their default settings will suit many website owners. I would, however, like to see Weglot add additional options for excluding content from translation.
What really impressed me about it was performance — I had incorrectly assumed it would negatively affect website page loading times, so I was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t.
When it comes to pricing, I wish Weglot were more generous with its lower-priced plans, and included features such as statistics and importing and exporting content. Additional language support across all plans would be welcomed too.
Whether Weglot’s premium plans offer value will depend on your situation: It’s easy to recommend it to online shops and businesses, as they’ll quickly see a return on their investment, but its pricing structure means blogs and other websites that publish content frequently will be priced out.
- Easy to configure and use.
- Great support for SEO.
- Fantastic website performance.
- More expensive than alternative translation solutions.
- URL slug translation and URL exclusion could be improved.
To learn more about Weglot, please visit the official Weglot website.
Used/using Weglot? Thoughts and experiences?