10 Simple Ways to Boost Your Translation or Interpreting Website's SEO

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Everyone knows that it's important to think about SEO (search engine optimization) for their business website, but how many freelance translators and interpreters really take the time to adjust a few things behind the scenes in order to boost their website's search engine ranking? Before we dive in here, let me make a full disclaimer that I am no SEO expert. However, I have learned a thing or two over the years that have been very effective for me in my own career when it comes to my professional services website, and I want to share them with you. Let's get started, shall we?

Here are 10 simple ways to boost your translation or interpreting website's SEO:

1. Think about consumer behavior. Are the folks who would be looking for your services online using specific terms? What are they searching for? What are their pain points? It is essential to include key search terms in your website's keywords (you know, on the back end of the website) so that these people can more easily find you. This is a simple fix that will allow you to reap the benefits as long as people continue to use those search terms, and you can update these as needed.

2. Make sure your site is mobile friendly. It is also important to pay specific attention to mobile-first content, since most people these days are pretty savvy users of mobile devices. Your site should be mobile friendly, i.e. navigable and formatted to fit well on the screen of a mobile device, like a tablet or smartphone. If you've ever visited a site that was not mobile friendly, you probably remember how annoying it was to try to read the content or find what you were looking for. This is another update you can make to your site that will improve users' experience.

3. Pay attention to your site's speed. It needs to be fast and void of those error message pages (think, 404 page missing stuff), as these types of pages can slow your site down, and will surely also put a damper on users' experience. Things like videos or images that are not adjusted properly for your site can also slow down the speed at which your website loads. Remember, you have mere seconds to catch someone's attention when they visit your site. So, it's important to get these things right.

4. Have high quality backlinks to your site. These backlinks could be things like a link to your website from a professional directory, or from an article you wrote for a respectable publication or even a blog post you penned as a guest blog. Think outside the box a bit, and make good use of backlinks! If you find that any links leading to your site are broken, take the time to kindly request they be fixed by providing the person or publication with the proper link. Sites that have high quality backlinks are also considered to be higher quality content by search engines, so don't overlook having a small collection of good backlinks.

5. Be smart about the "title tags" you use for your website. What are title tags, you might ask? This is a fancy name for another one of those behind-the-scenes easy fixes you can make. They are the title of your site's pages as you choose to name them. These tags will show up in online searches as the clickable headline for the search result.

It's key to get these title tags right so that search engines know how to categorize your website in a search and so that those doing the searching can easily find you. You can adjust the title tags on most pages of your website, but I'd argue that the most vital ones are the home page, your bio or "about" page, and blog posts (if you write them).

For example, you don't want to make your home page's title tag simply your name. If I put "Madalena Zampaulo" as a title tag, I would have no idea if my ideal clients were be able to find me, as they may not even know my name yet! Instead, it's better to use something like "Madalena Zampaulo | Medical Translator + Freelancer". Use terms in your title tags that describe what you do and that would make good search terms!

6. Keep your URLS short, and include some keywords in them. I'll admit this is something I work on myself, as I'm a wordy person. But keeping URLs to five or six words after the last "/" in a URL is a good goal to set. On the other hand, don't be too short or generic with your URLs either.

A URL like, www.thisisanexample.com/?p=abc

will not take you very far when it comes to search rankings, but one like,

www.thisisanexample.com/medical-translator-technical-devices-expert

is way more effective and should boost your site's rankings in search engines.

7. Choose your “H2" tags wisely! H2 tags are different from your title tags, but still relevant and something your target market might use in a search. These are called "Heading 2 tags" for Squarespace site users like myself. H2 tags allow you to break up the content you are sharing and give you the ability to rank even higher in search results. Think of H2 tags as the title of a page section or blog post, for example.

To show you what I mean, I've used the H2 tag "10 Simple Ways to Boost Your Translation or Interpreting Website's SEO" as the title of this post. It is designated as an H2 tag, which means it's highly searchable by anyone who is looking for this type of content.

8. Mention your keyword 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. Brownie points if you use a keyword in the first sentence!

9. Keep your thesaurus handy for those LSI (or Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords. The what?! This is just a fancy way of saying the synonyms for your keywords. Yes, you can use synonyms! Make sure you include them on your site's home page or in your blog post. This allows Google to determine how relevant your page is to search inquiries and will help to direct people who might be searching for the same thing using different words.

Let's say your keyword is "medical translator". You could include the LSIs "health and wellness translator" or "life sciences translator" as well. Check out this free tool to find semantic keywords to complement your primary keywords: https://lsigraph.com/

10. Optimize the images on your site! What am I talking about? It's easy... name them!
When you upload an image to your website, be careful not to leave the file names to read something like "IMG4781.jpg". Instead, give them a real name that includes a keyword or two. Something like "Medical_translator_Cincinnati.jpg" is a smart choice for someone looking for more medical translation clients local to the Cincinnati or southern OH/northern KY area. By naming your site's images with keywords, there is a much higher probability of your site ranking higher in search engines than someone else's site that isn't taking advantage of this simple strategy. Try it!

When you take the time to put your website to work for you, you will see the benefits when clients call on you more often because your site came up in a Google search. All of these tips are easy to implement and take just a few minutes, but you have to carefully (and strategically) plan to make your site appealing to your ideal clients. Remember, put your energy into making your site rank well in searches by those you want to work with. This may not necessarily be the same as the clients you are currently working with. Consider who your ideal client is and go from there.

If you'd like more tips like this, drop your name and email address in the form to find out more about my upcoming T&I Website Blueprint Course (coming in November 2018)!


To read more about why your website is your best marketing tool, check out this post and this post!

Seven Reasons Why Your Website is Your BEST Marketing Tool as a Freelance Translator or Interpreter

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Your website is like your digital calling card. These days lot of people find it odd if they come across businesses or contractors who are "unsearchable" online or don't have some sort of web presence. Even more eyebrow-raising is a business that doesn't have a website, but that has a Facebook page instead that has been collecting dust for months. It's clear that no one is regularly updating the page, responding to questions or comments or posting photos or information of any sort. Between the lack of a website and a stagnant Facebook page, many are led to ask the obvious question, "Are they even still in business?"

Whether you have a website, or if you just haven't gotten around to making one yet, the last thing you want is for a prospect to wonder if you're still in business. It is in your best business interest to have an up-to-date website that is both appealing and informative for your ideal clients. Even if you prefer to work with agency clients over direct clients, a website is an essential part of doing business these days. Project managers and small agency owners do look at potential contractors' websites. So, if you've been using this excuse to avoid updating your website or creating one at all, it's time to make a plan to give your online presence a much needed facelift.

I can tell you from years of experience, that grooming a website can only benefit your business. You'll start to see more and more inquiries from clients who find you by searching online, and you can start to depend less and less on other forms of marketing, like social media channels, because your website really serves as home base.

I could probably talk about this topic all day, but instead, I've summarized my thoughts into seven reasons why your website is your BEST marketing tool as a freelance translator or interpreter. These reasons are based on my experience, both as a freelancer, and as a small agency owner who requires her project managers to thoroughly vet each and every contractor we hire. You don't have to be an expert to use your website as a strategic marketing tool.

Let's dive in!

1. If someone loses your resume, email or business card, they can still search for you online and find your website!

This might be one of the most important reasons to have a professional website. Once you hand over your business card or resume, you have no control over where it lands. It could end up on the right person's desk, or it could end up in the recycle bin. But one thing is for sure. You can be found online, even if the person does not remember your name. By using the right information on your website, you have the ability to recover from the misfortune of lost business cards or misplaced resumes if you properly set up your website for success.

2. You own it!!!

I've said this many times on this blog, but it's worth repeating. No matter how much time and work you put into posting information on social media, networking with others and trying to keep your directory profiles current, you don't actually own any of those platforms. If they disappeared tomorrow, where would your contacts find you? How would you market your services to potential clients?

3. You can update your website as often as you like, increasing the potential of boosting your search engine ranking.

You can make your website as searchable as you want it to be. I'll be the first to admit that I don't spend loads of time researching the best ways to show up in search results, but I do have a good understanding of how SEO (search engine optimization) works, and the few things I've done to improve my website's SEO have really made a difference. You have the ability to use the proper keywords and information on your site to allow people to find you, no matter if you are looking to work with local or international clients. My small agency receives weekly calls from people who find our website online through simple searches, and most of these are not even local prospects. You can update your site and watch the success of it increase over time with some basic SEO knowledge and tools.

4. Our websites are the best way for new clients to get to know us better.

You can really make your website a reflection of what it's like to work with you. In fact, this should be your ultimate goal. For those of us who don't regularly get to sit down in person with our clients, a solid website that appeals to our those we want to do business with is essential. After all, we all know that clients work with those they know, like and trust. So, allow this to shine through on your site! Remember, the content you put on your website should be less about you, and more about your clients. I have loads of information to share on this, so scroll down to the end of this post to find out more about how to do this well!

5. Your website can grow with you.

As you shift or pivot in your business, i.e. you gain expertise in a new specialization, offer new line(s) of service, etc., you can best show off these items to your clients and prospects via content on your own website. A website is always a work in progress. Test various marketing strategies to see what is most effective for your freelance business. Once you find something that works, stick with it!

6. You control the conversation.

By using your website to talk to your clients and prospects, you are able to tell them what you want them to know by telling them what they want to know. Sound confusing? It's not -- I promise! You can use appealing images, well written copy and well planned whitespace on your site to convey why you are the best choice for your clients. You are a partner who will help them succeed. When you really think your website content through, you can avoid sharing long lists of courses you've taken or workshops you've attended, and start really talking to your clients and prospects in a way that makes them want to pick up the phone and call you.

7. You can use your website in so many ways, beyond a simple landing page.

In addition to the expected bio/about page you'll have on your professional website, you can also include pages like these to further demonstrate the professional you are.

  • A blog for your clients that will further help your search engine ranking;

  • A contact form that allows you to learn more about how clients found you and collect information about them before that very important first conversation;

  • The ability to schedule an in-person or virtual meeting by sharing your available times with interested prospects (obviously, optional, but can be very effective!);

  • A special page to share your expertise, memberships, certifications and qualifications in a visually appealing way that won't bore your prospects;

  • And so much more.


How is your website working for you? If you're thinking about upping your game when it comes to your professional T&I website, I'd love for you to join me in a course I'll be offering in November 2018 in which I'll walk you through the steps to creating and/or updating your website to best showcase your work so you can start to attract your ideal clients and more serious prospects. If you'd like to learn how to do this for your own freelance business, fill out the form at the bottom of this page, and I'll send the information to your inbox!


RELATED POSTS

Five Ways a Website Benefits Your Professional T&I Business

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Every once in a while, I come across comments and discussions in online forums in which translators and interpreters discuss the relevance or need to have a website. I recently read this comment from a translator in response to a question about whether a website is useful for doing business.

 "I'm not sure how relevant it is to have one. I just think it looks more professional to have one in your email signature for instance."

What the what?! I'm sorry, but if it only looks professional, then why would people pay +/- $200/year to host a website and spend the time to keep it relevant and updated? This comment is clearly coming from someone who doesn't use a website to attract clients. I think I can comfortably say that for the majority of us, this approach doesn't work.

In order to stay relevant and have a wider reach or pool of potential clients, we need to have a place for them to land online, to learn about us, to get to know us and to feel the call to action to want to work with us.

 Most of you reading this will fall into one of two categories:

 ● You have a website that needs to be updated or needs some oomph to make sure you're attracting your ideal clients and marketing your services well, or

● You don't yet have a website, but it's on your to do list. You know that a great website can help you attract your ideal clients and market your services better. It's just a matter of prioritizing and executing it.

There are many benefits to having a website, or even just a landing page, that is updated and strategically designed and managed. Let's dive in!

Benefit #1: You own your website. Besides your personal email (and an email list for newsletters and such), this is just about the only platform you actually own and can control. You do not own your social media profiles, directory listings, etc. Social media sites could go out of style tomorrow, and then where would all your followers or contacts be? Probably lost to the dark hole of the internet.

Your website is something you can control. You can (and should) update information on your site, track and analyze traffic, create calls to action so that your customers and leads know what to do next… ahem… hire you.

Benefit #2: Having a professional website allows clients to get to find out more about you so that they know, like and trust you. That's how you will earn (and keep) their business.

Benefit #3: You get to control the conversation. On your website, you have the ability to tell clients what it is you want them to know about how you can help and serve them. It also allows you to make updates to the information as needed. If you pivot in your business -- offer a new service, a new specialization, gain certifications, add a language pair, etc., -- this is where you will tell others about it.

Benefit #4: It's essentially your best and most important piece of marketing, one that will continue to bring you customers in the years to come. The internet isn't going anywhere, nor are websites (at least not in our lifetimes). So, make your professional website a place where clients can get the information they need in order to follow through with the ultimate goal: hiring you.

Benefit #5: Having a website and knowing how best to strategically use it is vital to doing business. You should be using your website to gain insight on your target market and help you to better refine your messaging and marketing techniques through analytics (they're not as scary as they sound!), tracking your website's traffic, keywords, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), etc.

Now, if those benefits alone don't convince to create a website or update your current one, here's a comment on the same forum thread that might do the trick.

 "I get one or two requests for quotes each month from people who say they found my website via Google. Usually one of them ends up hiring me."

This person clearly knows the benefits of having a website and keeping it current.

When it comes to having a website and updating it from time to time, strategically using analytics and tracking traffic to your website, you are thinking of your work as a business, which is exactly what it is. This is your greatest calling card, and it can only benefit you… unless you let it collect dust, of course. I can tell you from being on both the freelancing side of things, as well as on the hiring side, that there are only benefits when it comes to your website if you use it well.


Want to learn more about how to use or build your website to attract your ideal clients?
Click the button below!

Simple Ways to Budget for That BIG-Ticket Professional T&I Conference or Course

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A vital part of growing in any profession is maintaining a certain level of continuing education. Whether to refine business or advanced skills, it can sometimes be hard to find the time to attend a large conference or fit in a specific course. However, once we do make the time commitment, we also need to budget for the financial one.

You know that large conference you go to every year or that big-ticket course you've been eyeing? We all have one that we tend to prefer, but how do we afford to commit to them every year, or at least frequently enough to keep up our knowledge and skills on a given topic? How do we budget for these without affecting our bottom line too much at the end of the day?

Here are my top tips for budgeting for those high-ticket professional translation/interpreting conferences or business courses.

● Plan ahead.

If you know that you plan to go to an annual conference every year, and you have an idea of what it will cost you, you have to plan ahead. Let's say that the annual conference you like to attend costs about $5,000 out of pocket. That means you have 12 months to put aside that $5,000.

You could take a proactive approach and earmark around $500 of your monthly income to set aside for the $5,000 conference. This means that you'll have paid it off in advance and you will not have any conference debt once you return home.

To read more about how to plan for T&I income and expenses, check out How to Plan and Track Sales Revenue in Your T&I Business and Start Earning More and How to Project and Track Expenses in Your T&I Business to Increase Your Profit Margins.

● Know that you will also need to budget for any income "lost" from the days you'll be attending the conference or taking off work to put time toward a course or workshop.

If you make an average of $500 a day, then you will need to plan to earn this money ahead of time to cover the days you'll be taking off. A full week off to attend a conference = $2,500. Add that to the hypothetical conference expenses mentioned above, and you may need to up your monthly earmarked savings to $625 to play it safe. This way, you can pay yourself while you're away from your desk. After all, you are still working, even if you're learning. So, you might as well be getting paid for it.

If you need to adjust your rates to factor in this cost in your business, this might be something to consider as well. Of course, give your clients plenty of notice if you plan to raise rates at any point in the year and make sure that you're providing better value when you do.

● Check to see if there's a payment plan of any sort.

A lot of online courses these days allow you to pay in installments. This can be a great option to afford something that otherwise would seem beyond your means, because it doesn't hit your bank account all at once.

Read the fine print first, though. I recently found one payment plan that seemed like a good deal until I realized that I would have to pay $250 more for a 9-week course than if I paid the full amount out of pocket. In the end, I opted to pay the full amount, knowing that I did not want to shell out an extra $250. What I learn from the course should help me to earn the money back if I use the knowledge I gain correctly.

● Consider working weekends and holidays so that you can pay for the conference or course "on the side".

If pulling the course or conference money out of your regular income bothers you, consider ways of earning the money outside your normal income. If you don't normally work on the weekends or on holidays for clients, this could be a great place to start. 

Once that "extra" money comes in, put it into a separate account and watch it grow. By the time the course comes up or conference week starts, you should hopefully have a sizeable amount to put toward it.

On a similar note, consider taking on more rush jobs. But do this carefully, as you don't want to let your desire to pay for continuing education opportunities to cause you to produce less than your best quality work.

● Remember that you can probably make this expense tax deductible.

In many countries, continuing education can be tax deductible. But talk to your tax preparer before you commit so that you know exactly what you can deduct.

Don't let the big-ticket aspect of continuing education scare you from attending the annual conference you've been eyeing or taking that course that you know will benefit you in your business in the long term. Just play it smart and budget for it.

Need a tool to help with that? Check out my Expense Planner for the T&I Professional.

How to Improve Your Marketing Mindset to Grow Your Translation or Interpreting Business

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I hear a lot of feedback from people who feel overwhelmed at the idea of marketing their translation or interpreting business. I won't deny that it can seem overwhelming if you are looking at it from a 30K-foot angle, but I'd like to encourage you to think about it in smaller portions or goals, if you will. After all, any good thing takes time.

You don't lose 10 lbs overnight, right? Well, you also don't grow your business or pick up new clients overnight with a marketing plan you just started implementing a few days ago. These things take time.

This is why it's important to have the right marketing mindset as a translator or interpreter. It is perfectly okay to feel overwhelmed. Everyone experiences overwhelm. But it is not okay to let this mindset result in stagnation.

Here are my top five strategies for giving your mindset related to marketing a good kick in the pants and taking the sense of overwhelm down a few notches.

1. Acknowledge and accept the feeling of overwhelm. Then move forward.

We all feel overwhelmed at some point. The most successful people in any given industry or area of business do as well. Does that make you feel better?

But what makes those people---the ones who actually make real progress with their marketing or business goals---different? The key difference is that they acknowledge the feeling of overwhelm. They accept that it's normal to feel this way sometimes and move past it. Knowing that they will, at some point, feel overwhelmed again, they find ways of dealing so that it's easier to move forward without allowing the overwhelm to result in stagnation.

Here are some great ways to nix the overwhelm surrounding your marketing efforts.

○ Hire things out. No one can do everything well. So, look at the tasks that keep you from getting started on your marketing efforts and try to find a way to get some hired help. I had a hard time with this one at first, because I personally don't like to ask for help. But once I did something about it, I felt an immediate sense of relief and a lot less stress and overwhelm. Consider paying someone to watch your child a few half days a week or look into a nearby preschool if your children are not yet of school age. Hire someone to clean your house if you work from home and the clutter keeps you from feeling productive or becomes a distraction. Contract an accountant to do your invoicing or to input your expenses a couple of times a month. Hire a freelance designer to design your new marketing materials or logo.

○ Write. Write down what it is that is holding you back from marketing your business or changing up your marketing efforts. Sometimes just the act of acknowledging the problem on paper can help you to figure out the reason you're procrastinating and what to do about it.

○ Talk to colleagues. Sometimes the best ideas and support come from those who are in the same boat as you are. Lean on those you trust when you feel overwhelmed. They may be able to help you find a solution.

○ Take a mental break. Get outside and take a walk. Go to an exercise class for an hour. Take a coffee break. Read a book that is totally unrelated to your work for 30 minutes. Practice a hobby for an hour. And then get back to the task at hand with a fresh mind and recharged batteries.

2. Exercise willpower regularly and make a mental note of how each time you do, you become stronger.

A colleague shared this article on willpower with me recently. I find the author's take on willpower, and how it must be regularly exercised, just like a muscle, to be a very effective way of thinking about this concept. We all have willpower. We just need to uncover it (and practice it) sometimes.

When you take some time to outline and check off steps towards marketing your business, you are practicing willpower. Lay out some clear tasks and goals. Then, give yourself a deadline (with an actual date). We translators and interpreters work well with deadlines. So, with this important deadline looming, you are much more inclined to get to work on marketing your business.

3. Determine which is worse for you: the pain of growth or the pain of stagnation.

I heard recently that if you're not uncomfortable doing something at first, then it might be time to change things up. If you feel uncomfortable about trying a new form of marketing, you are probably onto something!

Are your current marketing efforts not getting you very far? It might be time to try something that feels uncomfortable! Start a blog to gain more website traffic, send out a monthly email to your clients, spruce up your LinkedIn profile and reach out to make new connections with potential clients. Keep track of the efforts you make, and follow up with people regularly.

4. Start with slow growth or baby steps.

Know that slow growth is still growth. It is easy to feel a sense of societal overwhelm to grow, grow, grow, fast, fast, fast. All the time.

But slow growth is actually better and more sustainable in the long term.

That said, remember that standing still is not slow growth. Make something happen. Take 20 minutes a day to work toward your marketing goals. Keep moving forward. The more often you do, the easier this process becomes, because it will feel like more of a habit than a chore.

5. Don't use the excuse that you don't know where to start. Tap into the knowledge of others.

Make it your business (no pun intended) to start learning from others if you don't know how to do something. There are all kinds of resources out there to learn how to market well. Seek them out.

Start reading blogs, watching videos, reading books, taking courses, going to conferences, etc. with the goal of learning how to market your services more effectively.

When we use the excuse of never having done something or not knowing how to do something, we are simply staying the same. I don't know about you, but I'm not okay with that. I prefer to improve. To learn and to grow.

If there's something you don't know how to do or where to start, and you know someone could do it better for you, consider paying that person to handle the task and take it off your plate. Or, if it's something you want to learn how to do, pay them a small fee to teach you!

Overwhelm is nothing new. It's also not going anywhere. Once we take the time to acknowledge feelings of overwhelm and accept that it is fine to feel overwhelmed, then we can move forward. What's not fine is letting overwhelm hinder us from marketing and growing our businesses. Take the fear that comes with stepping out of your comfort zone and say, “Thanks, but I'll handle things from here.”