Internationalising a website is the practice of making it easy to localise it. Localising a website is the practice of adapting a website to meet the language, cultural or other requirements of a particular geographic target market. W3C has a good explanation of this here: https://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-i18n
Ecommerce sites often have a large number of factors that need to be considered for localisation, including language, currencies, payment gateways, shipping, taxes and product inventory.
There are a number of different ways to internationalise a WordPress/WooCommerce site. Our preferred approach is to use MultiLingualPress which we will go into in further detail later.
Qala is optimised for international WooCommerce sites, running the best in class plugins from the WordPress ecosystem that cover most aspects of an internationalised site. Further, there are Qala-specific plugins which fill some of the gaps like a global cart. Because Qala is a product with EU heritage, it includes a number of specific enhancements designed to make selling within, into or from the EU especially awesome!
A good user experience for an internationalised website includes several factors:
- Upon requesting the website, the specific locale requested is served but the AC Geo IP Redirect pop-up allows the visitor to change locale.
- Automatic redirection is avoided because it can cause issues with SEO.
- Locales are typically geographically-based with country-level localisation being most common. Further localisation is common where there are more than one official language (so Canadian English and Canadian French for example) but localisation can also be regional or more granular depending on the nature of the website.
- Because of the sheer number of possible locales a visitor may come from, it’s typical for internationalised websites to focus on several key markets, perhaps have simpler websites for other specific markets and then have a default or global locale for any other visitor.
- Website visitors receive the best possible experience based on their local needs – such as a website in their spoken language
- Website owners can manage different locales individually – for example only offering specific product ranges in particular locales
- Website owners can ensure that appropriate integrations and services are connected – for example payment gateways and shipping partners that are able to service a particular market
- Website management teams can be given the freedom to run local campaigns – for example to recognise a local cultural event that is not relevant to visitors in other locales
- Using WooCommerce Sequential Order Numbers Pro allows store managers to prefix the orders with something that identifies the orders for that specific site which is helpful with order management across internationalised sites – this is an optional module in Qala