First of all, we have no grudge toward Weglot, for many sites Weglot will work just fine and their support team have been very helpful and patient in sorting out issues we’ve experienced (thanks Alexis). Some of the issues has been bug related and some issues has be related to technical limitations in Weglot we learned about along the way.
We started out using Weglot on a couple of small one-pager sites and found Weglot to be a simple, low-threshold solution. The big selling point being that all content can easily be available (and indexed by Google) in multiple languages. The out-of-the-box auto translation of content offers multilingual support without the need for professional translators or extensive language knowledge for the client. The clients was generally happy.
This led us to the bold move of selling in Weglot for multi-language support on the redesign of a larger enterprise site. With a more feature-rich site, demanding lots of custom functionality, the limitations of Weglot started to be more obvious. Better research from our side before the sales pitch would of course have revealed many of these limitations. Some of the limitations we were able to solved with custom coding.
Here I’ve listed some of the most important things we found out along the way, that you should be aware of when using Weglot:
- Weglot lets you review and edit the initially auto-translated texts in the Weglot dashboard, but if the client later on makes ANY changes in the original text in the Webflow CMS, Weglot will automatically replace the formerly reviewed text with new auto-translated text on the live site. The client will have to login to Weglot and track down the new auto-generated text block and the old text block with the reviewed/manually translated text and copy/past to the new text block, then delete the old text block. If the client does lots of minor text edits in the Webflow CMS, this will result in duplicated text blocks in Weglot for EVERY edit made in Webflow. It can be very hard for the client to know what is the latest version of the text blocks and what of these text blocks is actually in use on the live site. This is a really bad UX experience for the client!
- If professionally translated texts will be used on the site, the limitations mentioned above will be even more problematic in administrating translated texts and translators.
- Weglot adds correct hreflang tags to all the pages that is translated with Weglot, but NOT to the original pages in Webflow. By default, the Weglot script you paste in to Webflow custom code when setting up Weglot will add a hreflang root-URL (e.g: mysite.com/), but this will also be used on ALL sub pages, resulting in a wrong hreflang setup. Google will not be able to separate the different language versions in the SERP results. You will have to use a custom Github script supplied by the Weglot support team (on request) or set the correct hreflang tags manually on every page in Webflow.
- The sitemap generated by Webflow will not work on the translated pages, only the original Webflow pages.
- The URL-slugs will not be translated (Weglot offers this, but only in the Advanced plan at €1.990 /year!)
- Weglot does not support multilingual versions of other content than text (e.g. if you want to have youtube videos in different language versions embedded in the Webflow CMS).
- Weglot does not support setting up 301-redirects from old multilingual URL’s to the new multilingual URL’s (subdomains) supplied by Weglot. This can result in a dramatic drop in the google page ranking when moving old multilingual sites to Webflow/Weglot.
- Be aware that if the word count supported in your Weglot plan is exceeded, Weglot will stop serving the translated language! If going unaddressed over a longer period of time, this can really harm your SEO.
To sum it up, Webflow, please give us native multilingual support! It’s one of the few big obstacles remaining that stops us using the Webflow platform for “professional” enterprise sites!