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.