Adding a language switcher to your Instant Site

If you sell in a region that has several official languages (like Canada, or Italy, or Switzerland), you might want to offer your store and website in more than one language. The same goes for your international sales — if you sell globally, you are likely to operate in multiple languages.

When you sign up to Ecwid, you get a forever free Instant Site with an Ecwid store already added to it. The website is easy to set up, looks good on all devices, and is highly customizable. Unlike the store section, the Instant Site can be set up in one language only. In this guide, we will tell you how to add a language switcher to your Instant Site.

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Adding a language switcher is a workaround and requires more than one Ecwid account.

Before you start

If you need several languages for your business, you can always make your Ecwid store multilingual and then add it to any website that supports multiple languages. This can be a WordPress, Wix, or a custom site that you’ve developed yourself. This way, customers will be able to shop in their preferred language defined by the language of their browser.

You can have a multilingual store on Ecwid’s Business and Unlimited plans.

Using Instant Site for your multilingual sales, however, requires a different approach, as one Instant Site can exist in one language only. So you’ll need two (or more) Ecwid accounts.

You can register as many Ecwid accounts as you need for free.

Each of the accounts (store and Instant Site) will be dedicated to one of the languages that you operate in, and the language switcher will link the websites. This way, customers can seamlessly switch between your Instant Sites.

The workaround allows you to make your store and Instant Site multilingual while remaining on our Free plan (unless you need any of the paid features, like more products and categories or switching between the stores). You can also use a language switcher in a multilingual catalog — in case you prefer using your Ecwid store as a catalog, — or to create an attractive website for your business in several languages without the store block.

Please note that having two (or more) Ecwid accounts means having two separate stores. This results in two different shopping carts (one for each store/language) where your customers can check out, so you need to track orders for both accounts. In case you decide to upgrade to a paid plan or install a paid app from our App Market, then — depending on the feature — you may need to pay twice, for both your accounts.

Step 1. Create your accounts

Let’s say you sell in Canada and need a French version of your website along with the English one.

First, register two separate Ecwid accounts — one for each language that you need for your business. If you already have an account, just create an additional one.

When you’re done creating accounts,

Now your Account 1 has the storefront and Instant Site in English, while your Account 2 has the storefront and Instant Site in French. The same goes for invoices and email notifications (both admin and customer notifications) in these accounts.

Feel free to have your account admins in any language you feel comfortable working in. Store admin language does not affect the language of your store and website. So, if you prefer English, simply choose English at the bottom of the admin:

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Step 2. Set up your accounts

After you choose the language for your accounts, it’s time to set them up: add products and business information, enable payments, choose delivery/shipping methods, etc. Learn more about getting started with Ecwid →

Please note that you’ll need to add texts — including product names, descriptions, category names, payment, and shipping instructions (if you use them), and so on — in the language of the account. That is, in English for Account 1 and in French for Account 2.

In case you plan to offer the same set of products in English and in French, you can save time on setup. For that, add your products to Account 1, then export them, make the necessary changes (including translations) in the CSV file and import this file into Account 2. This way, you will have the same list of products in both of your stores. To make additional mass changes to the catalog after import, you can use the Bulk Product Editor.

To copy your catalog from one store to another, you can also contact support@ecwid.com

Now, when you have your stores configured, it’s time to set up your Instant Sites.

Step 3. Name your Instant Sites

First things first, name your websites. All Ecwid’s Instant Sites have a free .company.site domain. By default, your site will have this kind of URL: https://store123.company.site, where ‘123’ is the ID of your store. You can always change the store123 part.

For consistency, we recommend you naming both your sites in a similar manner. For example, my-cool-store.company.site for Account 1 and my-cool-store-fr.company.site for Account 2 (that is in French).

To change the Instant Site URL:

  1. From your Ecwid admin, go to Website → Domain.
  2. In the Site address block, click Change Address.
  3. Type in your desired name:

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  4. Click Save.

To make navigation even smoother, consider connecting Instant Sites to your own custom domain and subdomain. For example, you can connect your English Instant Site to your domain (say, your-domain.com) and then connect your French site to its subdomain (fr.your-domain.com). This way, customers will feel like they are browsing the same website. Learn how to connect a domain to Ecwid Instant Site →

Step 4. Set up Instant Site design and content

After you decide on the name for your websites, you can start setting up their design. For that, go to WebsiteEdit Site (or Overview → Manage Instant SiteEdit Site) and make the necessary changes to the site blocks.

Learn more about configuring design and content for Instant Sites→

We recommend creating the same design on both sites so that customers have a seamless website experience when they switch to another language. Make sure to set the same cover image (it’s the first thing customers see when they enter your website), colors, and fonts.

Also, remember to enter website texts in the language of the corresponding account. That is — in English for Account 1 and in French for Account 2.

Step 5. Add a language selector

Now all you need to do is interlink Instant Sites with a language selector. You can do that via action links in the website headers.

To create a language selector:

  1. Log in to your Account 1.
  2. From your Ecwid admin, go to WebsiteEdit Site (or Overview → Manage Instant SiteEdit Site).
  3. Сlick the Header block.
    You can click the Cover block instead if you have three different languages and need to add two action links.
  4. Click Add Action Link and enter the title of your language switcher in the Title field. For example, En français (“In French”), as you’re currently setting up the English version of your website.
  5. Choose Open page in the Action on click dropdown and enter the URL of your Account 2 Instant Site. In our example, it’s my-cool-store-fr.company.site:

    Adding_a_language_switcher__2_.png

  6. (optional) Change the appearance, font, size, shape, and color of the action link on the Design tab.
  7. Save and publish the changes.

That’s it! Now you have a language switcher in the header of your Instant Site. Once a customer clicks it, they will enter the French version of your website.

Now add a similar “In English” action link to your Account 2 Instant Site that is in French, and you’re all set.

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