If you serve an international audience, having a multilingual site can help you reach your target markets.
This guide shows you how to build a Squarespace site with a set of pages for each language. To see what this might look like in practice, visit this example site.
Basic structure for multilingual sites
While your site's structure can vary depending on your content, multilingual Squarespace sites generally follow this formula:
- A homepage that links to each version of the site, so visitors can go directly to their preferred language.
- A set of pages, or a single scrolling page of multiple sections, 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 homepage that links visitors to each language.
Before you begin
- Create content in your main language and prepare translated versions. We also recommend preparing an outline of your navigation structure, including page titles and URLs, which will save time when you create them in Squarespace.
- If your site is currently public, consider adding a password while you rearrange your content.
- The settings that help you navigate Squarespace and edit your site will all be in one language, which you can change.
Structure your pages
To set up a multilingual site:
- Set a homepage and move it to the Not Linked section of the Pages panel. We recommend starting with a blank page, then customizing it later. You'll come back to your homepage at the end of these steps.
- In your Main Navigation, add two folders. Each folder name should be the name of one language, like English or Español. These will be the drop-down menus that appear on every page to help your visitors navigate each page in their language. If you just created your site, you'll also want to delete any other demo pages.
- In the first folder, click + Add Page to add all the pages in one language. The first page in the folder should be the landing page for that language.
- In the second folder, add a second version of each page in the second language, copying the same order as the first folder. To speed up the process, you can duplicate pages from your first language, then update the text.
- Return to your homepage in the Not Linked section and click Edit. Add text or buttons that link to the first page in each language's folder.
- Finish styling your homepage.
- When you're ready, publish your site. If your site is new, you can go through our site launch checklist to ensure that every part of your site is ready for visitors.
Here are examples of how your navigation and homepage might look.
How navigation displays
If you structure your site using folders as described above, the navigation menus display on every page of your site.
If you only want one language's navigation links to display at a time, there are a couple options:
- Add all your pages to the Not Linked section, then use content links on each page to create a navigation.
- Create multiple sites, and add links to the Main Navigation.
Commerce for multilingual sites
You can use Squarespace Commerce features on your multilingual site, but there are certain limitations to keep in mind:
- Currency - Each Squarespace site can only sell products for one currency at a time.
- Site language - Each Squarespace site can only display built-in text, like on the checkout page, in one language. This also affects certain metadata throughout the site, like dates on Blog Pages.
If you need to have different currencies or built-in languages, the best solution is to use multiple sites.
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.
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 domains or subdomains in the browser for each site
- You want built-in text, like checkout pages and blog metadata, to display in different languages
- You want to use a different design for each site
Keep these tips in mind:
- Start each site as a trial, then publish them. Each site is billed separately.
- Link the sites to each other with external links.
- Consider creating a landing page that links to each site.
Tips for using version 7.0
If your site is on version 7.0, there are different ways to customize your multilingual site:
- To create a single scrolling page for each language, use Index Pages.
- We recommend these templates:
- Adirondack - Has on-page navigation bars (example)
- Nueva (or any template in the Brine family) - Has long scrolling Index Pages, multiple navigation areas (example)
- Pacific (or any template in the Pacific family) - Has long scrolling Index Pages (example)
- Use a Cover Page as your homepage to guide visitors to pick their language.
- Some templates can automatically translate all built-in text (like dates, form field labels, and navigation controls) to any of our supported languages. This applies to all built-in text on your site, which can be helpful if you're using multiple sites for each language.
- Review the guide for your template to learn about other unique features.
Watch a video
This video is for version 7.0.