Webflow Localization: pros and cons of this new native multilingual
Find out what I think of the native multilingual option on Webflow. This article explores its full potential as well as the current limitations of this feature.
1. Benefits of Webflow Localization
In this article, I am going to weight the pros and cons of Webflow Localization, based on my personal experience, and after having had the chance to install it on my own site (yes this one). I'll share practical insights and observations to help you understand how this feature can improve your digital presence.
1.1 Easy to get started for Webflow developers
One of the most significant benefits of Localization is its ease of use, especially for developers who are familiar with the Webflow environment. This feature is designed for integrate seamlessly into your workflow.
All the features as you know them will be perfectly translatable directly from the same place by switching between languages at the touch of a button:
This ease of use opens the door to greater accessibility, while maintaining a high level of quality and consistency in design without disturbing each other's habits.
1.2 High-quality machine translation
Webflow Localization integrates features of machine translation that greatly simplify the process of creating multilingual sites. This feature is particularly useful for site owners looking to quickly and effectively translate their content without the manual intervention of a translator.
Webflow's machine translation uses advanced technologies to provide accurate and contextual translations, ensuring that the meaning and tone of the original content are maintained. This saves time and costs, while ensuring reliable translation quality for international audience. However, I recommend that you always do a short review of the translation before publishing your content.
1.3 Expand your international audience with adapted content
This feature allows you to customize not only the text, but also the visual and structural elements of the site such as:
- The images
- Alternative tags
- Structured data
- The URLs (only for the Advanced version)
By localizing content, you're creating a more relevant and engaging user experience for diverse language groups. Such targeted adaptation is crucial to effectively connect with varied audiences and strengthen the international presence of your brand.
What is the difference between a multilingual site and a localized site?
The key difference between a multilingual site and a localized site is the level of customization for specific audiences. A multi-lingual site simply offers content in various languages, allowing users to choose their preferred language.
On the other hand, a localized site goes further by adapting not only the language, but also its content. A localized site will therefore not necessarily have the same elements on its version intended for the English-speaking market as on its version intended for the Chinese market for example.
Localization therefore aims to offer an experience that is fully adapted to the cultural and linguistic particularities of each target market.
1.4 Visitor routing, redirect your visitors according to their location
Visitor routing? What is that? It is simply a process that automatically redirects visitors from your website to a specific website version based on their geographical location or the preferred language defined beforehand in their web browser (chrome, Firefox, Safari...).
Important: this option will only be available if you have subscribed to the Advanced plan.
Why should you be careful before implementing this practice?
It is crucial to ensure that the redirection does not disrupt the user experience. Incorrect or intrusive redirects can frustrate visitors and increase bounce rate.
But the most restrictive point concerns Google robots who will want to crawl your site in order to index it in its various languages. If this robot comes from an English-speaking area, for example, but wants to check and index your site on its French version, it will be permanently redirected to an English-speaking version leading it to leave your site. This will therefore penalize your natural referencing and may even cause you penalties in some cases.
2. Disadvantages of Webflow Localization
Although Webflow Localization offers many advantages, this functionality is not yet perfect and should be improved a few points.
2.1 Only accessible from the Webflow Designer
The biggest black spot in my opinion is the absence of an interface for editing different languages via Editor mode. This requires you to master and know how to navigate the Webflow Designer in order to modify translations on the different versions.
In my case, I am used to training customers only on Webflow's Editor mode because more than 90% will only want to apply content changes to their site and not to the structure. That therefore requires familiarization with the Webflow interface and can potentially slow down the content update process for those who are not familiar with the platform.
Update: Webflow recently added an “editing” mode directly from the Webflow designer giving you the ability to interact with your content without risk.
2.2 For SEO, it is not (yet?) possible to translate your schema.org
Another disadvantage of Webflow Localization, in my opinion, is the limited flexibility of SEO settings for multilingual sites. Although Webflow offers you the possibility to translate your title tags and meta descriptions you will not be able to modify your schema.org so that they correspond to your chosen language:
The problem is therefore as follows: if you add an “article category” schema.org for example to your blog as I did on my website there will be no problem on the French version but on the English version, the url of your category in your schema.org will always be in French!
Warning: You should not add a default language code in your project settings because it will take over the hreflang chosen by the user and will impact your SEO:
If you want to audit or improve the performance of your site in the search results, do not hesitate to discover my offer. SEO optimizations
2.3 A language switcher not yet ready
Currently, although functional, It lacks some key features that would make it more intuitive. For example, the language switcher could benefit from smoother integration and more extensive customization options.
I admit that I had a bit of trouble not using the default dropdown for this element and understanding how to interact with the customization options when it corresponded to the current language.
Note: This element is presented as a Beta version and I have no doubt that Webflow will offer us an optimized version in the coming weeks
2.4 A fairly high rate
And last but not least, the price. You should know that Webflow offers 2 different pricing(excluding the business plan):
The Essential Plan
The least expensive offer but also the least complete. For 9usd per month and per language you can:
- Add up to 3 languages to your project
- Automatically translate your content
- Interacting with your static and dynamic content (CMS)
- Change the translations of your metadata
The Advanced Plan
The most complete and most optimized offer for natural referencing but also the most expensive (29usd per month and per language):
- Everything on the Essential plan
- Add up to 5 languages to your project
- Edit/Add/Remove your content
- Translating your URLs
- Redirect your users based on their location
You can find complete information on the Webflow pricing page
If we do the math, for a site like mine for which I chose the Advanced plan for a single language. It's more expensive for me to pay for the Localization option (29usd/month) than the Webflow project itself (23usd/month).
Webflow Localization is a very promising tool that should evolve and improve over time. Currently, it offers a practical solution for creating multilingual sites, facilitating access to a wider international audience. Although it presents some challenges, its potential is undeniable and I have no doubt that Webflow will make it evolve very quickly.
With the continuous advances in the field of web development and the regular updates of Webflow, we can expect this tool to become even more robust and user-friendly for everyone.
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