How to Run A English-Chinese Bilingual Blog with WordPress

When I decided to set up my travel blog, Travel Kudos, I knew I wanted it to be a bilingual blog. Besides publishing my content in English, I also wanted to reach the Chinese audience.

WordPress has a WordPress Multilingual (WPML) plugin which lets you fully optimize your site in multiple languages. You can translate everything from pages, posts, custom types, taxonomy, menus and even the theme’s texts. A regular WPML account costs $79, with a yearly renewal payment of $59. That is expensive for part-time bloggers such as myself who is not earning anything from blogging. 

It is actually pretty easy to run a bilingual blog on WordPress.

If you are writing in Chinese, you have to make sure that the permalink is in alphabets and numbers. You can either use date or hanyupinyin in the permalink.

Search engines can only understand hanyupinyin if they are all joined together. So write “hanyupinyin” instead of “han-yu-pin-yin” in the permalink. 

If you want to use the same pictures in both English and Chinese posts, things gets a little tricky. One important aspect of search engine optimization is the “image alt text”. This text allows search engines to better crawl and rank your website. 

Bilingual Blog - Media File Renamer

I recommend this WordPress plugin called Media File Renamer. It allows you to rename your uploaded files. 

Make sure you have downloaded and activated the Media File Renamer plugin and

  1. Name the pictures to be uploaded in English 
  2. Upload into WordPress 
  3. Go to Media Library and edit the pictures
  4. Add in the Chinese titles before or after the English titles 
  5. Copy the title to Alternative Text below the image
  6. Click on Update  

Viola! Now your pictures and post can be found by both English and Chinese users. 

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