Want to build a multilingual WordPress website the right way? You’re in the right place. This post continues our series on how to build a multilingual WordPress website with a focus on installing WPML. Not sure what WPML is? Read our last post here. And if you want to send your developer to our video series on the same subject—but with step-by-step instruction—you can access it here.
Small warning #1: installing WPML is a bit different compared to installing a normal plugin from WordPress.org. So even if you’re a WordPress plugin guru, you’ll want to make sure you install WPML correctly. (In other words, jump ahead to Step 5 at your own risk!).
Small warning #2: This blog offers more step-by-step instructions than previous posts, so be sure to take your time to ensure proper installation.
Don’t Forget the Add-Ons
To start the installation process, you’ll need to visit WPML.org and click the “Buy and Download” button. Once you’ve purchased WPML, you can revisit the site and login in the top right. Then go to your website’s WordPress dashboard, scroll down to “Plugins” and click “Add New.”
In this example, we’ve downloaded four different add-ons from WPML.org, as seen in the below example.
The add-ons include sitepress-multilingual-cms (the main WPML plugin), media-translation, string-translation and translation-management. We’ll go over each of these add-ons shortly, but just know that you’ll need to make sure you install more than just your main WPML plugin. The add-ons are very important to the functionality of your website.
Let’s Install Your Plugins
Now that you have your main plugin and any add-ons, let’s click “Install Now.” Once your plugin installs, don’t click “Activate Now” just yet. To save time, just return to your installer and install each add-on. Then go to your “Installed Plugins” page and click the “Inactive” tab.
Now you can activate all of your plugins at once. And with WPML installed onto your WordPress site, you can now see the WPML button at the bottom of our WordPress menu.
WPML Translation Nuts and Bolts
The first thing we want to do is go to “Languages” and scroll down to the SEO section. Now, marketing gurus have told you that multiple versions of a website are considered “bad” when it comes to Google. Not so with multiple languages. Leave that box checked. (Or check it if it’s unchecked.) The earlier we can tell Google we have multiple languages on our site, the better off we are.
You’ll also notice an option to display that WPML is doing your translation. It’s up to you to advertise for WPML for free, so do as you wish.
There’s an option to store language cookie for AJAX. This is not the cleaning supply—it simply means that if you plan to have e-commerce functionality, you’ll most likely want this checked.
The next section, Translation Feedback, is a relatively new feature for WPML. It allows your website’s visitors to offer feedback specifically about your translation quality. Depending upon your brand, and your website monitoring administration, this may come in handy. Or it could be a burden.
Now let’s go back to the top of the Languages page and choose a language.
Finally, your language options! Here are all the different languages that can be used on your website. In this example, we’re going to choose Spanish. You can choose whichever language you’d like, of course. And once you do, you’ll notice there are many more options on the page than previously. By adding Spanish, for example, we’ve added more than 10 new options to go through!
Luckily, you’ll notice convenient links at the top of the page, which jump you right to those sections. This may seem overwhelming, but no worries, in our next blog post, we’ll take a look at how WPML enables translation on your website.