Agents are always looking how best to serve their buyers and sellers, and some of whom may be international. So it’s logical as an agent to want to support multiple languages for their website. Let’s go over the options:
Option 1: Google Translate
Google Translate is the quickest, cheapest, and most common solution for most sites. It can be as simple as adding a link or installing a plugin. Typically you will see this displayed as a dropdown list of the languages or as a series of country flags images.
- Free to Least Expensive
- Easy and Fast to complete
- Provides no SEO value
- Translated Pages won’t display in search results
Tip: Be sure not to let the address or other similar info for your listings get translated. You can stop it by simply adding translate=”no” to your HTML tags, or using class=”notranslate”.
Option 2: WPML
This is specific to WordPress, but when it comes to translations plugins, WPML is king at the moment. With WPML you can create language specific pages for content, widgets, menus, etc.
- True SEO Value for your content
- You must write/manage the content for each language manually
- The plugin tools can be a bit confusing to learn/master
- It is a Paid Plugin
- Updating and Managing this plugin can be a pain at times
OPTION 3: Separate Website for each Language
This option is very similar to option 2, except it offers improvements over managing content.
Common Myths for Translating Websites:
Website must be hosted within the country/language you want to target. This simply is not true, while that might be ideal for site performance it’s not a requirement, and with CDNs and other improvements it may just not make sense. However it does typically still make sense to have a domain TLD associated with that country. For example, if you are targeting Brazil, its best to get use a .com.br domain vs the regular .com.
What about the big portals, do they support multiple languages?
The big portals have bigger dev teams and many more resources than most agents, so surely they do a great job supporting multiple languages right?
- Zillow — No Support, but they do have the notranslate class on listings.
- Trulia — No Support.
- Homes.com — No Support.
- Realtor.com — No Support.
Doesn’t look like it is an important feature for them at the moment, but that’s not to say it shouldn’t be important for your business. In fact it shows that if you are diligent this is one area where you can get a leg up on the big providers.
What about translations for IDX?
So many of the IDX solutions out there don’t play too well with any of the best options above. The Google Translate button is many times the only option for IDX pages/sites. There are some more advanced work arounds based off of using APIs, but this really leads us into the next option on the list.
Option 4: Advanced Custom Solutions
Hey maybe you want the ease of use as Google Translate, but the SEO and other benefits to having a separate install for each language. Well it’s possible, and I haven’t seen anyone really built it yet for real estate, most likely because of cost. But if you think this is a vital need for your business, feel free to reach out to me.
Most agents need to target hyper local clients.
So if I am a Real Estate agent, I would ask myself these questions before considering adding such a feature:
- Do I really expect to have valuable leads from non-English speaking visitors? How many of your current/past clients are non-English speaking?
- Do I have a lot of international listings?
- Can I or my team handle these leads in a reasonable time-frame? Meaning I’m not waiting a week until I can get my friend who speaks XYZ language to translate.
- Can I truly give a full experience in the client’s language? What about automated email responses, mailing lists, customer support, etc?