In a forum thread posted this week by ThemeForest.net staff member Will Herring, a new fact was brought to light surrounding how multilingual WordPress themes outperform their competitors. According to the ThemeForest staff member, the difference is as high as three to one when comparing themes that are available in multiple languages rather than just English.
“The Marketplace Growth Team is constantly analyzing data and looking for new ways to help you earn more revenue,” wrote Herring. “The Growth Team recently examined the WordPress category and uncovered a gem: multilingual themes are outperforming single-language themes. In fact, multilingual themes have on average 3 times more sales than non-multilingual WordPress themes. This is a remarkable discovery and a testament to the global reach of the internet.”
WordPress Multilingual Plugin
As a result of this discovery, Herring informed ThemeForest members that OnTheGoSystems (the creators of the WordPress Multilingual Plugin – also referred to as WPML) will be offering free developer accounts to encourage authors to make their themes and plugins multilingual ready. The effort – dubbed as the Go-Global Program – allows Envato account holders to apply for the free developer account in order to take part in an effort to make as many WordPress products as possible user-friendly with as many global consumers as possible.
Due to the growing amount of WordPress users who do not use English as their first language, the need to cater to a non-English market has resulted in more products being offered with multilingual compatibility as soon as they are downloaded. This greatly helps reduce administrative confusion while also streamlining the entire webmaster experience as WordPress users can share experiences despite speaking different native languages.
In an effort to narrow the gap between developer understanding of how to make themes and plugins multilingual by using the WPML plugin, OnTheGoSystems has also set up two separate Questions & Answer Sessions for this upcoming week. The workshops will be divided into two categories: WordPress Themes and WordPress Plugins. The first session will take place on Tuesday, July 9th at 10:00am Eastern Time, while the WordPress Plugins Q&A will happen on Wednesday, July 10th at 10:00am Eastern Time.
Herring suggests that authors visit the WPML Compatibility Tutorial for Themes and Plugins in order to receive advance notice on some of the concepts that will be discussed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The original ThemeForest thread has received well over 10 replies since it was created, with theme author Cubell offering a different take on why multilingual-ready products sell more. “If you look at [it] a different way, if a theme has multiple languages included, that may simply imply that the author made a bigger effort than one who made a theme without extra languages. In other words, if you include languages, you probably included other cool features too + worked on the site longer, which would ultimately = more sales.” Fellow author ZxxxZ agreed with his colleague’s analysis, but also acknowledged that approximately 30% of those who visit WordPress websites are from countries whose official language is not English.
In response to Cubell, ThemeForest.net staff member Will Herring replied, “I originally attributed this to effort. But during a conversation with the CEO of iCanLocalize, he informed me that developers of themes that had become WPML-compatible reported an increase of at least 30% in sales. The increase came after they added Multilingual support.”
Another theme author who goes by the name deckerweb encouraged his colleagues to include WPML in their internationalization strategy, but not to get too locked up within it by forgetting to also consider other multilingual plugins available on the market. “It seems a common misconception to think that if a theme is ‘WPML compatible’ you’re done with internationalization. That is not true,” he said.
Regardless of one’s take of how large of a role WPML plays when it comes to internationalization, the Q&A sessions along with the developer account could in many ways assist authors with making their products multilingual ready.