As an international service provider in a web-focused world, every translator should have a professional, SEO-friendly website. To be able to use your services, clients need to be able to find you, and the first place they will turn when searching for a translator is Google. The number of people employed in the translation and interpretation industries doubled between 2010 and 2017, so it’s vital to find ways to stand out in a competitive market.
A successful website is one that does a great job of converting visitors into clients. Your website needs to establish your credibility and expertise as a translator through its design and content. Here are six steps to follow that will help you to create an outstanding website.
Hiring a web designer vs. building your own website
If you’ve never created a website before, the thought of doing so can feel daunting. Hiring a professional web designer takes the responsibility out of your hands, but it will be expensive.
Whilst the cost can be considered an investment in your future, you might not have full control over your site if it’s built on a custom platform. In the worst case scenario, you might have to keep paying out every time you want to tweak your website — not a good position to be in!
Make sure you read up on reviews before diving in, and try to find a web designer with relevant experience in your industry.
Another option is to create your own website using a template-based platform such as WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace or Weebly. These website builders offer a drag-and-drop interface which allows you to place content anywhere on your website and, crucially, doesn’t require you to know any code at all. All you have to do is pick a template and start editing the pre-populated content (text, images, slideshows, video etc.) to quickly create a professional-looking website. Check out some of the tutorials to see if you think you can handle taking a project like that on.
Using 5 basic web design rules to attract more visitors
Learning the basics of web design theory will help you create a website that is easy to navigate and attractive to look at. Cramming too much into a website causes confusion and frustration for the user — making them more likely to click the ‘back’ button and look for another translator!
Using these five design rules will help you create a great website:
- Your website should be easy to navigate. Site navigation should be intuitive and well organized with a top down design so visitors can easily browse different sections.
- Your website design should be consistent. Visitors shouldn’t feel like they’re visiting a new website every time they open a new page. Consistency contributes to a cohesive brand and customer experience.
- Your website should have high-quality images. Humans are visual animals and we process images 60,000 faster than text, meaning good visuals will make a good first impression. It is easy to find plenty of excellent free stock photos online that will give your website a professional look — look for business photos with a difference and sprinkle in some local shots to help customize and localize your site.
- Your website should be responsive. People access websites from a variety of devices, so it’s important that your website displays correctly on different screen sizes. A website builder will automatically do this for you.
- Your website should be quick to download. Keeping your design simple will contribute to increased page load times. This is important because studies have shown that a one second delay in page load time has causes a 7% loss in conversion.
Creating content that converts visitors into clients
Your website needs to quickly demonstrate to potential clients that you are an experienced professional who will do a good job. Even a simple one-page website can help convince a potential client to buy (or not to buy).
Cover the following:
- Who you are. This means your name, your location, clear contact details and a professional photo.
- What you can do for your clients. Explain what your services are, which language pairs you can translate, and any areas of specialization.
- Why potential clients should employ you. Listing your qualifications and experience will show that you are professionally trained and experienced.
- Provide some sample work. While it would be useful to list notable clients and showcase relevant projects, this is rarely possible due to non-disclosure agreements — instead, produce some sample translation work in your own time that can be freely shared. The goal is to highlight your expertise in terms of niches, industries, and types of translation projects.
- Your rates. Some people avoid discussing rates, but it’s a key thing that your clients want to know, and demonstrates that you are open and transparent. If you want to, just say that your rates are available after an initial consultation or that you always work on bespoke projects.
- Your mission. A website blog is a great way to establish your own personal brand and mission as a translator. Formulas can help you power through writer’s block and create better content more often — consistency is key to good blogging.
Making your website multilingual
Since (at a minimum) you’re going to be serving two languages (one language pair) through your site, making your content multilingual is extremely important. Handling the translation won’t be an issue for you, so the main thing will be ensuring before you begin that your website can serve pages in different languages.
Fortunately, it’s rare these days to find a mainstream website builder or system that doesn’t support multilingual content delivery. Most systems are smart enough to automatically redirect visitors based on their locations. For example, if your website offers English, Swedish and German, the visitor will automatically be directed to your Swedish pages if their location appears to be in Sweden.
Bear in mind that you don’t need to translate everything into every language you translate into or from — frequent blog posts, for instance, would be quite laborious to translate, particularly if you translate numerous language pairs. The most important thing is that the basic navigational content (your homepage copy, your menu links, your contact form) is made as accessible as possible.
Building trust through testimonials
The best way to build trust in your business is through social proof. Studies show that nearly 70% of consumers look at a product review prior to making a purchase and product reviews by consumers are 12x more trusted than product descriptions from companies.
Of course, you aren’t selling products, but the principle remains the same. Social proof for your translation website comes in the form of testimonials from previous clients. A good way to ask for a testimonial from a client is to do an exit interview or survey with them at the end of a project. Your work will be fresh in their mind and you will get a great quote to use on your website.
Promoting your website
Even if you have the best website in the world, it won’t do you any favors if no one sees it. Learning and utilizing the basics of website promotion will drive traffic to your site:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is the process of increasing your website’s visibility in search results through optimizing your pages with the keyword phrases people are likely to search for.
- Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. PPC advertising brings traffic to your site through targeted ads on search engines like Google and social media sites like Facebook.
- Blogging and social media. Offering free, high quality and original content on your site can help to drive traffic. Sharing your content through social media will encourage people to visit your blog and interact with your business. Think about ways in which you can raise awareness around culture, linguistics, and international business.
- Email marketing. It’s been around for years, but it works: a recent survey by Campaign Monitor found that for every $1 spent on email marketing, the return on investment was $44. Regularly sending people great content reminds them about your business and encourages them to return.
Your website is your business card, your portfolio, and your best marketing tool — so spending some time getting it right is crucial. It needs to be well-designed, visually appealing, and easy to use — showcasing your skills and achievements without boring potential clients with unnecessary information. Creating your own website will put you in control of your brand and allow you to build and promote a successful translation business.
Header image credit: PxHere
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about micro-entrepreneurship and charity marketing from around the world. Get involved and get inspired @getmicrostarted.