Tag Archives: Drupal

Multi-language blog

RSSI am writing articles in French and English since october 2008, so I review my experience about multi-language blogging; what are the pros and what are the cons.

The major reason which you may decide to write articles in two languages is pretty simple and obvious :to reach more visitors. Especially in my case, as a French-speaker person, writing articles only in French is « limiting » me to much fewer visitors from 24 French-speaking countries. 

About 180 millions persons in the world, probably less because all this people don’t have Internet and have also probably no interest for what you may be writing… only few people are remaining to read your stuff!

Whereas English is spoken by « only » 300 to 400 millions persons as native speaker, but a lot of people that uses it as secondary language. I hate English, but I have no choice to recognize that it IS the international language. Blogging in English allows you to reach much more people, that’s a fact. I could easy say that if my blog was only in French, The traffic would be divided by half.

In addition to this, if you use social networks as Twitter and Facebook, to blog in English allows you to open your network to many English-speaking people. If you work as a freelancer, this could also help you to get an international job. Even for you regular (say French-speaker) customers, blogging in other languages makes you looking more professionnal and open on your world, on many levels : it shows you love and are able to speak about your profession, whatever the language.

BUT, I think many bloggers start a multi-language blog with their eyes closed, without thinking about what it implies. A blog, single language, needs you to put a lot of work into it. That’s simple : multi-language blog will need you to put multi-efforts into it! Don’t forget that translating manually an article may be quite difficult. We all speak and write English well or enough well, but it is often more difficult when you get to do it for a 1000 words text. In my case, I often do grammar mistakes and often use the same vocabulary, that’s a proof of it. All this shows how multi-language blogging may bring you more visitors but much more work. No doubt about it.

It isn’t all! If you are working on SEO of your blog, you’ll have to do the same with your english pages… yes you will. This is not all bad, because trying to rank your english articles opens you many websites in English you may use to promote them and get backlinks from : English directories, forums, digg-likes, dofollow English blogs, etc… It is useless to tell you there’s much more space in the English world for you to get backlinks 🙂

In addition to this article, I’d like to review some CMS solutions for your multi-language blog.

Joomla! : With component Joomfish, you can translate all your pages easily. It works well, but if SEO is important for you, you won’t be glad to see you have no control on URL rewriting for each language. The original URL is used for all translations, what sucks for your ranking. It is the most important reason why I ignored Joomla! for this blog, although you can purchase a professionnal version of Joomfish! which includes multi-URLs.

WordPress : Since recently I didn’t find any module to use multi-language articles + multi URLs + multi metas, but I have found module WPML which works perfectly. I think I’ll migrate to WordPress soon…

Drupal : With Internationalization (I18N) module, you can create single pages for each translation (and link them together), while you controle all SEO about them (metas, titles, URLs, everything). It is pretty nice to use, but it was hard to setup at the first time. I often make backups, because I’m not sure I would easily find how to do it again 🙂

As conclusion, I’d say that multi-language blogging brings lots of advantages to your blog, but you’d better be ready to work. As many Web stories, magic though isn’t. What do you think about it?

Create a Google Sitemap for your website

A Google Sitemap is a very important element for ranking of your website : it is used to tell Google which pages it must include in his engine. It also helps your new pages to be ranked quicker, and to be sure that all your relevant content is indexed.

A Sitemap, it’s basically a map of your website (I hope you already guessed it); a tree of pages in which the level of importance of certain pages over some other pages is cleary visible.

Of course, it’s not mandatory to create a Sitemap for your website, its purpose is especially to help Google (then also yourself). It is possible that not all the pages you included in your Sitemap will be added in Google. Even if you show him the way, Google isn’t dumb, it will only rank pages that are really relevant.

This means that you should give up for contact pages, help pages, or any other page that is not relevant. Rather than this, try to rank your « best » pages, those that have content of quality.

Depending on how your website is build (static website or dynamic website), the way to build your sitemap may vary. This article will show you some common ways to do it.

At any time, you should refer to the Google documentation about Sitemaps.

Create a static Sitemap

When I say static, I mean a Sitemap you have make yourself, line by line, and that won’t update itself automatically. That’s what we normally use for websites that only have static contents, pure HTML.

To do this, don’t waste your time in writing it yourself, you can rather use an automatic Sitemap generator. You can also use it for a dynamic website that doesn’t rewrite URLs, but you will have to generate it everytime you want to update it (usally, often) – this is something you’ll forget to do, for sure.

Create a dynamic Sitemap

A dynamic Sitemap will update itself automatically, which is useful if you update your website on a regular basis. The method given here is using URL Rewriting to make it more clean and simple.

First, create a .htaccess file, located at the root, or modify the .htaccess file you may already have :


Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteEngine on

# Link for the Sitemap
RewriteRule ^sitemap\.xml$ /sitemap.php [L,NC]

This way, sitemap.php will allow us to automatically generate the content of the XML file (the real Sitemap). Each time Google will try to open sitemap.xml, sitemap.php will be executed and will make an update of the XML « file ».

Create a file named sitemap.php. In the example bellow, we get the content of articles of an imaginary blog.

The structure of the table used in the example bellow :


CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS `blog` (
`id` mediumint(9) NOT NULL COMMENT ‘ID of the article’,
`texte` text NOT NULL COMMENT ‘Text of the article’,
`date` date NOT NULL
) ENGINE=MyISAM DEFAULT CHARSET=latin1 COMMENT=’Articles of blog’;

The content of the file sitemap.php :

// MySQL Connection$host = “localhost”;
// normally, it’s localhost
$user = “USERNAME”;
$pass = “PASSWORD”;
$bdd = “NOM_OF_THE_DB”;

@mysql_connect($host,$user,$pass) or die(“Unable to connect : “.mysql_error());
@mysql_select_db(“$bdd”) or die(“Unable to select dabatase : “.mysql_error());

// Indicate file type : XML document
header(“Content-Type: text/xml”);

// MySQL query to get articles of the blog
$requete = “SELECT id, date FROM blog ORDER BY date DESC”;
$resultat = mysql_query($requete);

// Writing of the XML file
// Headers :
$sm = ”;
$sm .= ‘xmlns:xsi=”http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance”
xsi:schemaLocation=”http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84
http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84/sitemap.xsd”>’;

// Articles of the blog
while ($blog=mysql_fetch_array($resultat,MYSQL_ASSOC)) {
$sm .= ‘‘;
$sm .= ‘http://yoursite.com/blog?id=’.$blog[‘id’].’‘; // you may adapt the URL syntax to your need, this is an example
$sm .= ‘‘.$blog[‘date’].’‘;
$sm .= ‘monthly‘;
$sm .= ‘0.7‘;
$sm .= ‘
‘;
}

$sm .= ”;

echo $sm;

As you may guess, the Sitemap schema is working on this structure :






<loc> Location of the page. Don’t forget to write the domain (http://www.domain.com).
<lastmod> When was the page updated the last time (or when was it created). This data is normally recorded in your database by your scripts. You must give this value with a W3C valid format.
<changefreq> What is the frequency of updates for this page? (always, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, never). This is only to help Google, Google may not respect this indication. This is useless to set always if you do not plan to update a page once it is created.
<priority>

Priority is a way for Google to know which pages are more important than some others in your website. This comparison doesn’t apply to other websites. It is useless to put 1 everywhere, you won’t help yourself. Give a higher priority to pages that seem more important and that updates often.

If everything is well working, you should be able to see your Sitemap if you try to reach the page sitemap.xml. Check if it is valid, and then submit it to Google.

Bien sûr, il est possible d’améliorer ce script de plusieurs façons. Par exemple, vous pouvez stocker dans vos tables de données, dans une colonne priority, la priorité à donner à chacune des pages. Même chose pour le changefreq.

Of course, it’s possible to upgrade this script in many ways. For instance, you also could store your pages priorities in an additional column. Same thing for changefreq.

It’s of course a lot less complicated with CMS.

Create a dynamic Sitemap for Joomla!

For Joomla!, you have 2 major choices of components :  xMap and Joomap, both available for J!1.0x et J!1.5x versions.

Je n’ai pas essayé Joomap, mais xMap fonctionne très bien. Il existe des extensions pour la plupart des composants connus (Sobi2, Adsmanager, Community Builder, …), ce qui est indispensable. Il s’agit des deux plus connus, mais il existe d’autres composants.

I didn’t try Joomap, but xMap works fine. There are extensions for most of the popular components (Sobi2, Adsmanager, Community Builder, …), which is very important. xMap and Joomap are the most known components, but there are other components you may want to try.

Create a dynamic Sitemap for Drupal

Install the XML Sitemap module for Drupal, disponible pour Drupal 5.x.

Créer un sitemap dynamique pour WordPress

Download the plugin of Arne Brachhold, which works fine. If you are interested into SEO, I invite you to read my article about SEO Ranking with WordPress.