How to Use Your Website to Get Translation Clients
This is a summary post from Tess Whitty’s ebook Quick Start Guide: 10 Steps to an Optimized Website, published in 2019.
Having a website is one of the best ways to maximize your online presence. Your website serves as the hub for all your marketing activities and is a good place to store information about your products and services. When someone performs a search for your services, a website can “prove your existence” as a freelancer. As soon as the customer visits your website, they will be convinced of the consistency and seriousness of your translation services.
Many people think that creating a website requires a high level of coding and design skills, but that’s no longer the case. Today’s website platforms make it easy for anyone to build a professional-looking website. And it only takes ten steps to get there.
Planning Your Website
Good websites are a product of careful planning and purposeful design. So, we’ll start there. Even if you already have a website, you’ll still benefit from asking yourself the following questions:
- What’s the purpose of my website? Are you trying to drive sales? Show off your skillset? Educate potential customers? Structure your site around its purpose, adding and deleting pages as necessary. My site, for example, puts a lot of emphasis on my marketing brochure.
- What value can you provide? Think about what you and your site bring to the table. Can you educate them? Give them access to coupons and valuable offers? Whatever it is, structure your website in a way that highlights these offers.
- Do you have a good domain name? Your URL is the first impression most people have of your website or brand. So, make sure that it’s a good one. Pick a domain name that’s related to your service and easy to remember. If you’re stumped for ideas, check out these domain generators: webflow.com/blog/domain-name-generator.
- What host and template should you use? The layout and hosting service you use are key to your site’s performance. There are several platforms to choose from, and most of them can give you what you’re looking for. If you want something popular, go with WordPress. More than 50% of the websites on the internet are built using the WordPress Platform. If WordPress isn’t what you’re looking for, or you want to start with done-for-you-platforms, there are a few other options:
– Squarespace (www.squarespace.com)
– Google Sites (sites.google.com)
– Webs (www.webs.com)
– Wix (https://wix.com)
- What content will you need? Start by putting yourself in your client’s shoes. If you were looking to get something translated, what information would you be looking for? Is there something about your services they should know? After this exercise, outline what kind of copy you’ll need. At the bare minimum, you’ll want a small biography, concise list of services, and some contact information.
- What keywords should you use? What search terms are your clients using to find you? Is there a way to incorporate their searches into your website content? Write down a list of high-value words and make sure you pepper them throughout your website. Information will be key to your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I’ll get to that in a minute.
Just be careful not to turn your website into a resume! Your website needs to do a lot more than tell people who you are and what you do. It also needs to provide value and cement that you’re the authority in your given language and subject. In short, it needs to be more about your client and less about you.
General Design Tips
You don’t have to hire a web designer, but you’ll need to make sure that your website has the following:
- A professional logo: Picture a can of Pepsi. I’m betting that red and white ball is the first thing that popped into your head. Your logo is a key part of your branding and needs to be prominently displayed. Make sure you to use a high-resolution image and place it in the upper-left corner of your website.
- White space: It’s easy to overload your visitors with flashy images and multiple calls to action. But don’t do it! Instead, keep things focused and make ample use of white space.
- High-quality images: Good images draw the eye and provide an emotional connection to the content. Just make sure they’re relevant. While you love your photos from Japan, they’re not exactly the best way to broadcast your German-to-English translation skills. If you’re having a hard time finding images, try stock image sites like Pexels or Shutterstock.
- Prominent calls to action: Put your calls to action and contact information above the fold. Be sure to style these items in a way that allows them to stand out.
- A responsive design: In web design, a responsive website is one that adjusts to the viewer’s screen size. With more than half of all browsing occurring on smaller screens, it’s important to keep screen size in mind.
- A good color scheme: Make sure your colors go well together. If you find that your text is hard to read, change it. Not sure where to start? Try this color scheme generator.
Most people don’t have time to read your copy. So, you need to make it easy to scan and digest. This means breaking big ideas into bullets, making liberal use of white space, and keeping your paragraphs to five lines or fewer.
When it comes to web content, less is more. When you’re editing your copy ask yourself if what you’re reading:
- Helps you meet your goal: If a line or paragraph doesn’t help your clients convert, it needs to go. The more goal-focused your content, the better it performs.
- Motivates your clients to take action: People come to your site for a variety of reasons. Some want an education. Others want to hire you. Structure your content to align with your visitor’s motivations.
- Lessens a customer’s fear: Clients don’t want to be swindled or overcharged Therefore, it’s important that you have content that lets them know they’re safe. This can be as simple as offering a “free consultation” or featuring client testimonials.
If it doesn’t do any of those things, take it out.
What content and what pages should a translation service provider’s website have? Here are some suggestions and recommendations:
- Home page: The Home page is the landing page. This is where prospects come first, and it is here that you need to convince people to read further. Present your services in a compelling way, focusing on the value you can provide your clients and how your services are unique. When first creating a website, this can be the only page you have.
- About page: On the About page, you should tell the visitor who you are, what your company does and preferably a story of why you are providing the services you do. Remember to not focus so much on you, but rather on how you can help your potential clients based on who you are.
- Services page: When you develop your website further you should create a separate page where you describe the services you offer in more detail. The services for a translator can be translation, proofreading, voiceover, interpreting, desktop publishing, and more. You can also provide examples of the projects you have done, what your specializations are and (if you have approval from your current customers) who you have worked for before.
- Contact page: In order to make it really easy for potential clients to contact you, you should have contact information on every page of your website. But it is also important to have a separate contact page where you provide all your contact information, and perhaps a form that the client can use to contact you and attach a document.
- A page with sample translations and testimonials: Once a potential client is interested in your services, it is good to provide proof of your abilities. This can be done with testimonials from happy clients and sample translations so that the potential client can see your translation style and quality. These can be listed on a separate page.
- A page with events, training, certifications, and publications: When you develop your website further, you can add a page where you list your education, degrees, courses, and qualifications. If you have any certifications or publications, you can also list them here. These increase your credibility and expertise.
Before launching your website, make sure you can check the following boxes:
- Is the company message and call to action above the fold?
- Is the company phone number and address (if applicable) visible?
- Does the content address the needs and wants of the target audience?
- Does the content address how the business can benefit the target audience?
- Do you have a way to add fresh content consistently, like blog, for instance?
- Is your content free of spelling and grammatical errors?
- Is your copy free of industry jargon that visitors may not understand?
- Are keywords used appropriately (more on this in the next chapter)?
- Do you include examples where necessary?
- Do you have client testimonials in a prominent place?
- Are your paragraphs short and to the point? Do you use bullets to break things up?
- Do you have a search bar on each of your pages?
- Is your contact information prominently displayed?
Optimize the Website to Get Found
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your website be better ranked in search results. This is a crucial step, but I do not recommend putting too much research into SEO. Gone are the days when you could stuff your site full of keywords and jump a few pages in a fortnight. Google changes its algorithms constantly. But one trend is clear: Google’s algorithms are becoming more intelligent, more human, and they reward sites that focus on providing visitors value.
Picking The Right Keywords
I previously said that keywords aren’t everything, but you should pay some attention to them. Think of words your ideal clients would use to find your services on Google. Write them down. Below are a few points to consider:
- What keywords do your clients use to find your services?
- Are there similar keywords with comparable search volume and less competition?
- Can you easily work them into your text and headers?
You can also use sites like Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, or Mangools to generate a list of words associated with your market. They also tell you how competitive those terms are and how often they’re searched.
More SEO Tips
You no longer need exact keyword matches to drive your search ranking. Nowadays, search engines rely on a mixture of site authority, site content, and site popularity to determine search results. But, more importantly, they’re searching for sites that satisfy user intent. So, you need to build your site in a way that drives customer interest and promotes on-page activity.
Here are a few tips from SEO experts:
- Site speed is important: Sites that are slow to load are penalized in rankings. To make your site load faster, remove extraneous widgets and compress images. To check how quickly your website loads, you can try using the Pagespeed app.
- Remove broken links: A 404 error can leave a sour taste in a customer’s mouth. That’s why it’s important to go through your site and test its functionality. If you stumble onto a broken link, remove it. You can use this tool to help: www.brokenlinkcheck.com.
- Content is still king: Though direct keyword use isn’t as powerful as it used to be, it continues to be a vital part of your SEO strategy. Just make sure that you focus on satisfying readers first and search engines second.
- Use related language: Using terms closely related to your keywords makes it easier for Google to determine the purpose of an article. It’s also thought to boost your search engine credibility. If you were writing an article about software translation, you might have the words: software, localization, app, language. If those are in the body copy, it sends signals to the search engines that this is a pretty good article.
- Prioritize more specific keywords: Seventy-five percent of search queries are between three and five words long, so you need to cater your content appropriately. Instead of optimizing for the words ‘freelance translator,’ try and build your site around terms like ‘freelance Chinese patent translator.’
- Mention your keywords within the first 100 words of a site page or blog post: Believe it or not, by using keywords toward the start of a page, your site will rank better in search engine results.
- Think mobile first: Design your website with phones and tablets in mind. Since Google now starts indexing on smaller screens, having a responsive website is more important than ever.
- Dabble in video: We all know that videos are a great way to keep audiences engaged and entertained. But do you know that by using enough videos, you can improve the ranking of your page?
- Do meta and title tags right: Your title tag is one of the first things Google looks at when categorizing the individual web page. The combination of title tag and “snippet” (meta description) is what your prospects are going to see in their searches. Include keywords but make titles and snippets sound natural and focus on motivating prospects to click. For best results, keep it to 65 characters or fewer.
The Three Key Parts of SEO
While there are hundreds of factors influencing ranking, there are a few that have a big impact on your search engine ranking:
Meta and Title Tags
These are the descriptions and headlines that clients see in searches. Your title tag is one of the first things Google looks at when categorizing the individual web page. Include keywords but make titles and snippets sound natural and focus on motivating prospects to click. For best results, keep your title tag under 65 characters.
These are the things that get the most attention on your website. But they’re not just eye candy. They’re actually valuable to SEO. So, make sure each image has a title and an alt tag. Since alt and title tags are often used to help the visually impaired, make sure your tagging is relevant to the image itself.
Backlinks, also known as inbound or incoming links, are what happens when one website links to another. Analytics can be used to track visitors from all referring sites, including search engines, social networks, and directory sites.
Backlinks tell search engines that other sites trust and value your content. They serve as proof of your industry clout and authority. While it can be hard to build backlinks as a freelance translator, directory sites and guest posts are a great place to start.
You can for example use Ahrefs free backlink checker to see what backlinks you already have.
The various tips and strategies discussed above will help you set up and optimize a website so that you can attract clients to you online, without the need of a web designer or SEO expert. I hope you find one or two tips and strategies you can implement for your website.
About the Author
Tess Whitty is an English-Swedish freelance translator specializing in corporate communications, software, and IT. Before she became a translator she studied and worked with marketing, and now shares her knowledge and experience in marketing and business as an award winning speaker, trainer, consultant, author and podcaster. Tess has also been teaching translators how to optimize their website and online presence in workshops and trainings since 2015. For more information, or to connect, go to www.swedishtranslationservices.com or www.marketingtipsfortranslators.com.
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