Translator Website Transformations: The Before and After - Part 1

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An attractive, well planned website is easily a freelance translator’s best calling card. In fact, more people are searching online these days for services than ever before. That’s why it’s vital to update your freelance translation business website from time to time. And the key is to keep your ideal client in mind.

In the first session of my T&I Website Blueprint Course, 10 students committed to revamping an existing website or creating an entirely new one. The results that came from the students who took the course were truly amazing. I’d like to share a few of the websites that were created in this course, including some really beautiful before-and-after images of updated designs, web copy and formatting that truly speak to these translators’ ideal clients.

Since the first session of this course in 2018, I've received several messages from other translators expressing interest in taking the course as well. Stay tuned to the end of this post to find out how to receive updates about when I will teach this course again (June 2019).

The first website transformation I'd like to share is from Molly Yurick (Yurick Translations). Molly chose to do a complete overhaul of her previous website. As you’ll see in the following images, she not only updated the look of her site, but she truly crafted a message and a feeling for site visitors that fits the niche industries for which she translates.

Molly told me, “I had my website set up for me, but I don’t really have control over any of it. I’d like to completely redo my website so that I can make updates whenever I want.” So, when it was time to start the very first module, she was ready to tackle a brand new website.

Molly’s previous website looked like this when visitors landed on the Home page.

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She told me that she didn’t feel any real attachment to the images on her site, including the one in the banner on the Home page.

Now, her Home page looks like this!

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Not only does she use an image that appeals to clients in her niche areas of specialization (tourism, destination wedding planning and hospitality), but she speaks to them immediately in a succinct, well-crafted headline and sub-heading.

The rest of her Home page went from this…

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to this!

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The original About page of her website was very “text-heavy.” She had very little in the way of visual appeal.

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But she updated her About page copy, and now it is bold, clear and truly describes who she is and how she serves her clients.

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Molly’s previous Testimonials page was also rather plain, including a small font that made the copy feel less appealing than the new layout she created in the course. She wanted to share her expertise through client testimonials in a way that would resonate with her potential clients in seconds. She even included more images to appeal to those in her niche markets.

Before:

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After:

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And finally, Molly took the time to create a more effective Contact page on her website. While her previous Contact page was suitable…

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She can get much more out of her new Contact page. Not only does she address her clients in both English and Spanish, but she uses a contact form that will allow her to gain more insight on those who inquire about her services. Tip: Always include a required question on your Contact page form that asks a client how they found you!

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The website Molly built in the T&I Website Blueprint Course is a solid step toward attracting her ideal client base. She made wonderful use of white space without cluttering the pages with text that could feel overwhelming. And she chose images and crafted copy that will really speak to those searching for her services online!

I'm very excited about my new website! The whole process was totally worth it as I now have a website I am proud of!  – Molly Yurick


The second website transformation I’d like to share in Part 1 of this series belongs to Veronika Demichelis. Veronika’s case is a bit different. She already had a beautiful website, but she said, “It just doesn’t feel like the authentic me.” So, she enrolled in the course with the goal of updating the look and feel of her site to market herself in an authentic way and to truly reach those she wants to work with in the years to come.

It may look like Veronika made fewer aesthetic changes, but don’t be fooled. Veronika took an already well designed site and made it feel more like her. She simplified the copy and used images that reflected the inspiration she had behind her new logo and visuals.

Veronika’s original Home page looked like this (below). The sections below the fold became one long, scrolling page of content.

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But now, it looks like this! Veronika crafted content for each of her pages with a call to action (CTA) on every single page. This helps her clients know exactly what to do next.

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She updated her About page as well, going from this…

to this!

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Not only did she update the content, but she wrote it in a way that speaks to her clients and not just about herself. This is essential in getting your content marketing right!

Veronika also made changes to her Services page. Before, it was somewhat unaligned and “text-heavy.”

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Instead, she chose to create a “path” for clients to take so that they wouldn’t have to sift through information that didn’t relate to their needs. And it turned out beautifully!

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All her site visitors have to do is read a brief heading and service description in order to match their needs with Veronika’s niche services.

Veronika’s updated website is a real reflection of who she is and how she serves her clients with value. She took the copywriting and layout skills she learned in the T&I Website Blueprint Course and created a clean, sharp and incredibly appealing website that appeals to her ideal clients.

I loved everything about this course—the pace, the amazing content, the group support from the course community, and most of all—Madalena’s encouragement and advice. The course was unique and invaluable in that it taught us to make our websites about our target audience and what solutions we can bring to the table. This was eye-opening and empowering!”  – Veronika Demichelis

Both Molly’s and Veronika’s new websites are much more in line with the vision these professional women have for their freelance businesses. Their content speaks to their direct clients. They’ve also told me how proud they are of their websites now. I know they will reap the benefits for years to come!

If you, too, would like to update your website or create one from scratch, leave your name and email address at the bottom of the T&I Website Blueprint Course interest page and I’ll email you more information about the next session, starting in June 2019.

How Case Studies Can Help You Market Your T&I Services

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Case studies are gold. They are also underutilized in the T&I world. Case studies are real accounts of successful customer experiences. If written well, they could also convince new clients to hire you.

When was the last time you read a customer review before you purchased something, or relied on an app on your mobile phone to see what others thought of a restaurant you were considering checking out?

Your clients do the same. Testimonials are powerful -- no doubt about it. But case studies -- those are like testimonials on steroids.

How Case Studies Can Help Your T&I Business

As translators and interpreters, we don’t often get to tell others about the work we do… at least not the finer details. Confidentiality clauses and codes of ethics make it difficult to showcase our work. But case studies can be a great solution in solving the issue of rarely getting to share our work with those who might hire us. Sure, we can send a potential client a sample. But a case study can show them what you can do for them. And that’s what most clients really want to know.

How to Build a Case Study from Your Clients’ Experiences with You

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to crafting the content for a few case studies for your website or LinkedIn profile, start small. Think of the times when a client complimented your work. What did they say? What did you do for them that caused them to send you those kind words? Make a mental note to follow up with this client and make a request to share their positive experience as a case study.

Here’s an example of content that would be perfect to craft into two amazing case studies.

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Immediately after reading this tweet from my colleague, Jamie Hartz, I thought, “Those would make great case studies!” The outcomes Jamie shared in her tweet are the results clients are hoping to achieve when they hire a professional translator. This is the “why” behind the reason they hired her. They each had a goal to achieve, and because of Jamie’s great work, they achieved their desired outcomes.

If you can’t think of a specific compliment from a client that could eventually be turned into a longer case study, create a folder in your email inbox or on your computer to start saving the compliments you receive. Once you receive one that showcases a really spectacular outcome for a client, you’ll have the content you need to write a solid case study worth sharing.

Learn to Write Case Studies from Others

If you’re not sure how to write a case study, start reading some from other industries and professionals who work with clients in a similar way as you (online, for most translators or in-person assignments, for interpreters). These examples can be truly helpful in helping you decide how you’d like to craft your own case studies. The overall message to share in your case studies is how you deliver value to your clients. So, look for this information in the case studies you read, and decide how you prefer to portray this information to your ideal clients.

But What About Confidentiality?

You don't have to break client confidentiality or share the actual content you translated or the assignment for which you interpreted. But you should ask your clients' permission if you want to feature them and their success (largely due to you, of course!) in a case study. Most clients are thrilled with this idea and will give you permission. However, if you are working for a corporate client or even a mid-size company, you may have to make sure you have other correct permissions — like that of the marketing or legal departments, for example. Don't let asking for these permissions stop you. Case studies are really powerful. So, if a client responds with a "No thanks," just move on to another client!

Try to come up with one or two case studies a year if you can. Make them reflect the kind of work you want to keep doing for your clients, not work that you would rather avoid. And start small. Your case studies don’t have to be pages long. In fact, a simple page on your website with testimonials and a few solid case studies is more than sufficient! If you want to get more mileage out of your case studies, you could even share them as a file on LinkedIn (just upload a PDF) or as an “article” that will remain pinned to the top of your profile.

Have you ever thought about creating some case studies to showcase your work?

Three Copy Mistakes Translators Make with Their Website Content and What to Do About It

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We are word people, many of us through and through. We express ourselves best through the written word.

And while we do focus quite a bit on finding just the right term or phrase for a given concept, that doesn't mean that we write marketing copy as well as we translate.

Some would even argue that translators should stick to translation. I would argue that translators can (and should!) learn to write great marketing copy as well. After all, not all freelancers have a large enough marketing budget to hire a copywriter to create all of their marketing content. Since we often rely on our own ways with words, it’s important to first take a look at some of the ways we can easily miss the mark when it comes to the copy we write for our own businesses.

Here are three copy mistakes translators make in their web copy and what to do about it.

Mistake 1: Writing too much content

A lot of times we fall into the habit of wanting to give too many details. We think we need to tell those who land on our website everything about how we came to be translators. We think we need to write copy that reflects exactly what’s on our resumes.

Trust me. Having too much copy on your website means that clients will have to sift through it all to find what they need. Is that something you would want to do when you land on a website? Your clients don’t want to do that either! By writing too much content, you run the risk of losing potential clients.

Instead, focus on this solution.

Solution: In two words: write less. More concretely, keep the copy on your site to a minimum. You do not have to tell clients everyone everything about you as soon as they land on your website. A couple of my students in the T&I Website Blueprint Course said to me, “But I want to be honest and let them know why I’m qualified.” Well, of course! But you can still be honest and show your qualifications without writing a novel on your home page. As the saying goes, "Don't show all your cards." Save some of the information about your background and knowledge on a given topic for the conversations you’ll have with a potential client. Use this information to help create a business relationship over time.

Having white space on your website is a good thing. It guides the reader eyes to know where to look next. It is less overwhelming than having a lot of copy. And aesthetically, it’s much more pleasing to the reader’s eye.

Mistake 2: Writing about themselves instead of to their ideal clients

I see this mistake more often than I’d like to admit. Many translators (and other freelancers, for that matter) talk about themselves more than they talk to their ideal clients. Take a look at your website copy and find all the ways you write about yourself (using the pronoun “I”). Then, look at all the ways you write to your clients (using the pronoun “you”).

Does your copy read more like an autobiography than a friendly conversation? If so, it’s time to update that content!

Solution: If you are going to write to your clients, you have to know something about them. It is important to mentally gather this information and write your copy as if you are having a conversation with the reader. Show that you understand your ideal clients in your web copy and talk about how you can help them.

Again, this isn’t the time to tell your clients everything at once. They don't want to know the "how" about what you do. They want to know the "why" that helps them reach the results they wish to achieve.

Mistake 3: Not focusing on what their ideal clients want to know

This is another one of those mistakes I see quite often when browsing translators’ websites. There seems to be a disconnect between what a lot of translators tell their potential clients and what their potential clients are actually looking for. Yes, it’s important for a client to know you’re qualified. But no… they don’t necessarily need to know your life story and why you chose to study languages (unless it’s relevant, of course!).

Solution: This is somewhat similar to number 2 above, but a client you want to work with for the long-term is probably also looking for a long-term solution to a problem they currently have. That's why you have to make your words count! Think about who your clients are.

What do they struggle with? What are their goals? What do they get out of working with a professional translator beyond the translation itself? Maybe it’s the ability to tap into a new market. Maybe it’s the opportunity to close a deal with a new customer. Maybe it’s a way to market their programs to international students. Whatever your clients are looking to achieve by working with you is what creates your value to them.

Instead of focusing on what you think your clients want to know when they land on your website, take the time to ask them what they look for in hiring a professional translator. Talk to your clients about their challenges and goals. If you are an interpreter, you could even make your "About" page of your website a brief video of you talking to your clients instead of a series of paragraphs. This allows your clients to see how professional you are, to listen to the rhythm of your speech and to have a better sense of “knowing you” before they actually meet you.


These mistakes are definitely things one can work on and improve over time. And the best part is that nothing you put on your website is set in stone for the rest of time.

As your ideal clients might change, so should your copy in order to better relate to them and what they need. Remember to talk to your clients through your website copy and to always portray the value you bring to the business relationship.

If you want to learn more about copywriting for your business, as well as offering copywriting services to your translation clients, sign up for the wait list for this course (by writing to Corinne McKay at corinne@translatewrite.com) . This course is given as part of Corinne McKay's online course series.

Can a 10% Increase Change the Course of Your T&I Business?

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I was recently listening to an episode of The Rise Podcast in which Rachel Hollis was discussing the topic of a 10% increase in three areas of business, and I found it very intriguing. She said "Imagine what a 10% increase in your business could do for the growth of your business and your confidence in sales."

To clarify, she was talking about a 10% increase in these three areas:

    • 10% increase in number of customers;

    • 10% increase in average sale per customer;

    • 10% increase in the frequency of customer transactions

and how they could potentially increase your revenue significantly over a few years.

So, this got me thinking… what about for freelancers? Could a 10% increase in these areas be that significant? Let's unpack this a bit.

For our purposes, let's hypothesize about a freelancer who is currently making about $60,000 a year with about 15 clients (both agency and direct clients), and each of the 15 clients sends this freelancer about 3 projects a month. Of course, these are all hypothetical numbers, but that comes to about 45 projects a month. These could be mostly small projects with a few large ones mixed in.

A 10% increase in the number of this freelancer's customers means that she goes from having 15 clients to gaining only about 1 to 2 more (since we won't count .5 as a client). And a 10% increase in the average sale per customer, means that this freelancer should make at least $6,000 more the following year. But remember, she's gained 1 to 2 customers this year as part of her goal to increase the number of customers by 10%.

A 10% increase in the frequency of her customer transactions, means that her workload goes from about 45 projects a month to about 49 or 50 projects a month. That sounds doable, if you ask me. It's not the same as adding 10 or 20 more projects a month, so if these are small projects and still bring in more revenue than before, then this is a positive change.

While a 10% increase in each of these areas seems small, imagine doing this year after year. If the freelancer starts out making $60,000 the first year of trying to execute this strategy, she would ideally make $66,000 the next year, and then $72,600 the following year. This type of increase equates to more of a raise than a lot of people receive in a corporate job from one year to the next. To think about it another way, it's certainly more of a raise than most faculty members receive in academia.

Imagine setting a goal to increase your freelance revenue by 10% each year in these three areas. How would you feel about these results? It definitely seems doable to add a few more clients, and to seek out those who can send a few more projects over the course of the year, right? Now, imagine if you also raised your translation or interpreting rate a little bit every couple of years or every few years. This number would definitely become higher over time.

I continue to be intrigued by this notion. I think it's a tangible goal most of us can set for ourselves. I certainly would like to test it over a span of a few years. What about you? Are you willing to give it a try?

To read more about increasing your T&I sales revenue, check out How to Project and Track Sales Revenue in Your T&I Business to Start Earning More.

How a Lead Magnet Can Boost Your Credibility and Market Your T&I Business

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Have you ever heard of a lead magnet? I know… it does sound almost a bit "scammy" at first, but I promise it's not. At least, it shouldn't be. A lead magnet is a piece of content you create for your potential clients (or "leads") that is valuable to them and helps them to solve a problem or learn more about a certain topic. Some examples of lead magnets you might find from businesses online these days are digital workbooks, e-books, checklists, cheat sheets, guides, etc. In exchange for the document or file, you give your email address to the provider and join their email list. Lead magnets are usually given in exchange for one's information. This is why you will often see a Call to Action (CTA) with a lead magnet on a website. However, this is not the only way you can use a lead magnet. In fact, I'd argue that it's important to use them a bit differently than everyone else as yet another way to stand out to clients.

As a translator or interpreter you could use a lead magnet in several ways

  • In exchange for someone signing up for an email list on your website

  • As a way of saying "thank-you" to someone who likes your business Facebook page

  • As part of a warm email pitch or a follow-up email to a direct client lead

  • In exchange for feedback or a response to a survey to help you learn more about your target market

  • As a way to add value to an email you'd like to send to existing clients you might not have heard from in a while (Hint: this is highly effective!)

I have created many lead magnets myself. Some gain more traction with clients than others, but it all depends on what your ideal audience wants to learn or know. Right now I'm in the process of developing a few lead magnets as a test in my marketing efforts this year. I'll keep you updated once I have a chance to use them and see how well they work. But the plan is to use this content as an attachment in a warm email to a potential client.

If a lead magnet is something that sounds like it would be worth your time to create, and if you believe your potential clients might find one helpful, you will want to think about a few details so that you can plan to provide content that is both valuable and boosts your credibility.

Examples of effective lead magnets on websites

Here are some examples of a few lead magnets that are both attractive in nature and valuable to the customers they target. You'll see these are for various audiences, of course, but perhaps one of these will give you an idea of a lead magnet you could create for your own leads. Note: these are used on websites, but you can easily provide the same types of resources and send them out as attachments in an email to a potential client!

Source:  Lewis Howes

Source: Lewis Howes

Source:  Amy   Porterfield
Source:  Paper & Oats

Source: Paper & Oats

Source:  Ed Gandia

Source: Ed Gandia

So, how do you create a lead magnet?

Well, first you have to understand your potential client's challenges. You'll want to create something that is valuable for more than one person so that you don't have to constantly create new content. You'll also want to make the content manageable to consume.

Does your potential client base need a checklist that will be useful to them in their work? Would an e-book that is chock full of useful information for their field be valuable to them? Could a guide about something specific in their industry make them want to sign up for your email list or open your email attachment?

All of these things can boost your credibility, and while these are just a few ideas, it is important to understand your audience first to know what will be most appealing to them. Whatever you choose to create, make sure that you make it fitting for your ideal clients. If your target market doesn't spend a lot of time in front of the computer at work, then you will want to make a lead magnet that is brief and to the point. If they (or you) are sensitive to design, then you will want to use a free tool like Canva or hire a graphic designer to make your lead magnet more attractive.

You should also take into consideration the timing of your lead magnet. Make sure that the content you include is valuable at the time you release it. Is it appropriate for your client's particular situation, goals, challenges, etc. Would you need to release it at a certain time of year to be more relevant to them?

You may have to test your lead magnet on a few potential clients to see how well it is received. You could also create two versions of your lead magnet and do a bit of A/B testing to see which version is received more positively and which one might need some extra work.

Let me know if you make a lead magnet and how you use it. Not only is this a great way to show your expertise in a genuine way, but it is a valuable and useful piece of content for those who receive it. Or, that's the goal anyway!