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Creating a multilingual site in Squarespace

If you serve an international audience, having a multilingual site can help you reach your target markets.

There are a few options when setting up a multilingual site:

  • Create one site with a set of pages for each language. This is the option we focus on in this guide.
  • Create separate sites for each language and connect them with links. This is a good option if you want each site to look and behave differently. Each site is billed separately.
  • Create a site in one language and use a third-party web translation or localization service to translate it. Third-party tools fall outside the scope of Squarespace support.

This guide shows you how to build a single Squarespace site in multiple languages.

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Basic structure for multilingual sites

While a site's structure varies by template, content, and taste, multilingual Squarespace sites generally follow this formula:

  • A homepage that links to each version of the site, so visitors can choose their preferred language
  • A set of pages in each language
  • A drop-down menu of links for each language, to help visitors navigate through the content

If you're familiar with the Squarespace platform, here's a quick snapshot of how we recommend setting up your site after translating your content:

  • Main Navigation - A folder for each language creates a drop-down menu. Each folder contains pages in that language, with consistent titles and URLs.
  • Not Linked - A Cover Page, set as the homepage, links visitors to each language.

If you need more guidance, see our steps below. You can also see our multilingual site examples for other ways to structure your site.

basic-structure.png

SEO for multilingual sites

Presenting your content in multiple languages can affect your site’s SEO. Although SEO strategy falls outside of the scope of Squarespace support, Google Search Console and Moz have tips on keeping your multilingual site search engine-friendly.

Best templates for multilingual sites

You can create a multilingual site in any template. However, each template comes with built-in features and style options. We recommend the following templates as good options for multilingual sites:

  • Adirondack - Has on-page navigation bars
  • Nueva (or any template in the Brine family) - Has long scrolling Index Pages, multiple navigation areas
  • Pacific (or any template in the Pacific family) - Has long scrolling Index Pages

The following steps use the Nueva template as an example. Nueva is in the Brine family. If you haven't yet chosen a template, you may want to choose one in the Brine family so you can follow the steps below exactly.

Tip: If you've already chosen a template, see which family it's in. You can switch templates at any time.

Step 1 - Plan and translate your content

Before you start building pages in Squarespace, create content in your main language and prepare translated versions. Squarespace has tools to organize and design your site, but we don't provide language translation services.

We recommend preparing an outline of your navigation first. Planning your site’s structure now will save time when you create it in Squarespace.

Step 2 - Add a homepage

Cover Pages can be a powerful introduction to a site and guide visitors to pick their language. To use a Cover Page to create a landing page with buttons leading to the different language sections:

  1. Add a Cover Page to the Not Linked section.
  2. For now, leave the default style and go back to the Pages panel. (You'll update the style in Step 5.)
  3. Set the Cover Page as your homepage.
Tip: If you prefer, you can use a Regular Page or an Index Page as your homepage.

Step 3 - Create drop-down menus

After deleting the demo pages, create a drop-down menu of links for each language:

  1. In the Main Navigation section, click the + icon and add a folder. The folder name should be the name of one language, like "English" or "Español."
  2. Add a second folder for the second language.

In the next step, you'll add links to this menu.

Tips:

Step 4 - Add pages

To add pages for each language:

  1. In the first folder, click + Add Page to add all the pages in one language.
  2. Add a second version of each page in the second language. To speed up the process, you can duplicate pages from your first language and then update the text.

Tips:

  • The titles and URLs of the pages should be consistent for each language.
  • Make the landing page for each language the first page in its folder. In the next step, you'll link to those pages from the homepage.
  • You can create a custom page of text, images, audio, forms, and more, or use a collection page to create a blog, calendar, album, store, or gallery.

nueva-example2.png

Step 5 - Design the homepage

Next, finish the Cover Page homepage you added in Step 2:

  1. Click the page title.
  2. In the Actions panel, add buttons with content links to the first page in each language's folder.
  3. Follow the steps in Building a Cover Page to complete your Cover Page.
Tip: If you used a Regular Page or an Index Page, add links or Button Blocks to connect to the language landing pages.

nueva-example1.png

Step 6 - Finishing touches

After setting up your site, add the finishing touches:

Examples

Here are some example sites built on different templates: Nueva, Pacific, Adirondack, and Bedford. Click through and interact with them for inspiration and to see different structures in action.

Nueva

Visit nueva-multilingual.squarespace.com to see a multilingual site built on Nueva. Nueva is part of the Brine template family.

Here are some features of this site:

nueva1.png

Pacific

Visit pacific-multilingual.squarespace.com to see a mutilingual site built with the Pacific template family.

Here are some features of this site:

pacific1.png

Adirondack

Visit adirondack-multilingual.squarespace.com to see a mutilingual site built with the Adirondack template family.

Here are some features of this site:

adirondack1.png

Bedford

Visit bedford-multilingual.squarespace.com to see a mutilingual site built with the Bedford template family.

Here are some features of this site:

bedford1.png

How navigation displays

If you structure your site using folders as described above, the navigation menus display on every page of your site except Cover Pages.

If you only want one language's navigation links to display at a time, there are a couple options:

Single-page sites

Some templates include an Index Page, which presents content from multiple pages in one location. With a stacked Index Page, you can create a single scrolling page for each language.

Tips:

pacific-index.png

Use multiple sites

If you prefer, you can set up multiple sites, one for each language. This is a good option if:

  • You want to offer a different currency for each store
  • You only want navigation in one language on each site
  • You want different URLs in the browser for each site
  • You want to use a different template on each site

Tips:

  • Start each site as a trial, then upgrade them. Each site is billed separately.
  • Link to other sites with external links.
  • Consider setting up a landing page that links to each site. You can follow the suggestions for using a Cover Page in Step 2 and Step 5 above.

Use a translation service

Instead of manually building multiple language pages on your site, you might consider using a web translation or localization service like Localize.

Note that Localize is a third-party code solution that falls outside of the scope of Squarespace support. To learn more, visit Using Localize with Squarespace.

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Creating a multilingual site in Squarespace