With a multilingual website you will have a larger range of visitors. The disadvantage is that maintaining a multilingual website is more work, especially if the website has not been set up efficiently.
We build efficient multilingual websites with Joomla CMS. This Content Management System has multilingualism as standard functionality. No plugins need to be installed so that the technical management remains simple.
With a multilingual website you have to deal with system languages and content languages. System languages ensure that system texts at the frontend (e.g. the "read more" button) are displayed in the correct language. This can be done via language files. Such system texts can be adapted via so-called language "overrides".
Content languages allow website administrators to offer articles in different languages. If necessary, articles and menu buttons from one language can be linked to articles and menu buttons from another language. Experience shows that not all content needs to be available for all languages. Consider in advance which parts are important for other languages.
Most languages are read from left to right. Arabic and Hebrew are RTL languages and are read from right to left. This has consequences for the layout of the website.
In general, domain names from a certain country extension (e.g. .nl) will score better with search engines with the same country extension (e.g. google.nl). By using plugins it is possible to make the different languages from the multilingual website available via different top level domain names (e.g. domain.nl for Dutch, and domain.com for English).
Managing a multilingual website takes more time. In general, every article needs to be offered for all languages. And more people can work on a website, each in their own language area. It can also happen that languages are used that are not readable for everyone. We advise you on a good workflow.
A multilingual website is about making the content of a website available in several languages. Languages sometimes have several variants. For example, British English and American English use different words and/or spellings.
Furthermore, languages do not respect national borders. A Spanish-speaking person in San Francisco, USA will probably visit your website in Spanish, but is interested in products available in that city. If you want to make parts of your content available to specific countries, a language button is not sufficient.
We have experience with both multilingual websites and location-specific content.
A good example of a multilingual website with 5 languages is "the-best-website.com". This website is about what makes a good website and how to test it.
The website consists of one Joomla website with 4 extra language files. A custom plugin makes sure every language is available under a toplevel domain name:
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