The question of adding the Ukrainian language on the website, and in general the creation of multilingual websites, is one of the most pressing for the Ukrainian business.
On July 16, 2022, the norm of the law of Ukraine comes into force “Про забезпечення функціонування української мови як державної” the penalty is imposed on business owners who not only do not have a Ukrainian version of the website but it is not installed by contract, i.e. it is not the main one when opening the main page of the website.
Many businesses, especially owners of online stores, have been putting off the transition to the Ukrainian version as the main one until recently, due to a number of problems and doubts.
- Loss of audience and traffic from other (Russian) versions of the site.
- Difficulty in keeping up-to-date and creating content for several language versions, especially for large online stores with thousands of items.
- Increased costs for the server and administration of the site due to an increase in the number of pages and load.
Let's consider each of these points separately and how to solve them.
How to switch from the Russian to the Ukrainian version of the website by default
The checklist for adding Ukrainian (or other languages) to the site includes:
- Designing a scheme of URL addresses for the new language version of the website.
This is one of the most important points, which will depend on keeping the position of the site in search of the language version, which was set before the switch to Ukrainian. If there is such a version and it is planned to leave it, rather than completely change to Ukrainian, then the addresses of pages should remain unchanged so that users will not get to non-existent pages with the error 404 - page not found.
There may be two options for adding a new language version. The first way is using folders, then the addresses will look like https://site.name/ua. The second is to create a new version on a separate subdomain, then the new version will look like https://ua.site.name/.
Both options have their pros and cons. First of all, they are associated with the complexity and strategy of further SEO promotion.
As a prefix for the Ukrainian language you can use it as its international designation UK (from the name of the language Ukrainian) or more familiar to Ukrainian users UA, although it is not quite by the standard.
- Adding the hreflang attribute to the structure of web pages, which gives the search engine an idea of the presence of content in certain languages.
- Adding og:locale attribute for Open Graph markup (if it is used on the site). Values for Ukrainian and Ukraine will be uk_UA (country_language code).
- Create sitemap.xml for Ukrainian version (and other languages).
- Translation of the site interface in Ukrainian or other languages (buttons, menus, forms, texts of e-mails and messages sent to customers, the texts of modal windows, etc.).
The interface translation should be as complete as possible, including the ability to substitute different language versions of logos (if it is tied to the language), alt and title parameters for images.
- Translation of content into Ukrainian or other languages.
- Adding the meta tags title, description, keywords, etc. to the pages of the Ukrainian version of the website.
For this item, we recommend not just doing literal translation from Russian, and prescribing meta tags in the Ukrainian-speaking semantic core for the most frequently used keywords and queries on the subject of the site.
- Adding a language selector to the desktop and mobile versions of the website.
Oddly enough, it is not always possible to find the switch on parts of sites, even though there are several languages. Often in mobile versions, it is either forgotten about or hidden somewhere that the user can't find it.
- Adding a new language version of the site in google search console to speed up the indexing of new language versions of pages.
Works on adding Ukrainian language to the website can be performed by yourself according to this checklist. However, this process is not as simple as it seems at first sight and requires proper knowledge in programming and SEO optimization.
If you are not confident in your abilities, you should contact a web studio or find a programmer and SEO specialist, who will perform it quickly, efficiently and competently. Mistakes at this stage can affect the promotion of the site in search and loss of customers, and the correction will take a long time.
Difficulty in supporting two or more language versions of the website
There is no simple answer to this question, in any case, it requires additional time and resources, which incur additional costs. Some CMS have solutions for automated translation, e.g. using Google Translate API. However, the quality of such translation is not the highest and taking into account that this solution has a limited volume of entries for free use, it can be quite expensive for some websites.
Increased costs for servers and administration
For most sites with a properly designed structure and verified CMS, the load on server resources will increase insignificantly and will most likely be within the limits of the existing hosting package. For sites with tens of thousands of pages will have to involve additional 15-20% of server resources for normal operation of multilingual site.
As for administration, it will also depend on the number of additional languages and pages. But for most sites will not be very significant.
Is it worth removing the Russian-language version if it used to be the main version
This issue is one of the most popular with our customers and sometimes quite difficult, because it combines a rational and emotional part.
If the site receives customers and traffic in which there is a significant share of Russian requests, then disconnection of the site will lead to a decrease in traffic and a drop in sales. The situation can be partially resolved by setting up the correct redirection of pages to the Ukrainian version. However, all the same over time will lead to the loss of some requests and reduced traffic.
Keeping two versions, however, you can increase traffic at the expense of getting some of the Ukrainian-language records to the already existing ones.
In any case, at the initial stage of the transition to the Ukrainian version, as the main, it is optimal to support two dual language versions. Then analyze and decide whether to keep only the Ukrainian version, or to continue maintaining both versions.
Is it worth adding languages other than Ukrainian to the site
If a service site or online store works exclusively with customers within Ukraine, the Ukrainian as the basic one will be enough, and additionally the Russian version, if the analysis of search queries in Google shows that there are many such queries and you do not want to lose this audience.
For manufacturers or service companies that intend to promote their goods and services in other countries, we recommend adding other language versions, which will provide additional traffic and customers.
We recommend that you do not limit yourself to English, but add the local languages of the country where you plan to sell. For example, if the promotion will be aimed at Poland, you should have a Polish version of the site. This will work much better than adding only English and trying to promote this version to different countries outside Ukraine.
Price for the service of adding the Ukrainian version to the website
The cost of this service depends on the number of content pages on the site and the type of system ("engine") on which the site is running.
Our studio provides services for adding Ukrainian, English, Polish and Spanish language versions to a site for the most popular CMS systems: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, OpenCart, OCStore, OkayCMS, Modx, PrestaShop and others. In addition, the work is possible to translate sites on the marketplace Prom, Rozetka, Epicentr.
The cost of adding the Ukrainian version of the service consists of a base fee of $ 120 + $ 1 for each page of text and graphic content, regardless of its volume and subject matter. For sites with more than 1000 pages of content individual discounts are possible. For other languages cost is discussed individually.