how to grow my translation business

Three Easy Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your T&I Website

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Having a website and actually making your website work for you are two different things. Most people who do business these days know how important it is to have a website. But when was the last time you updated yours? Has it been collecting dust for a while? It's okay… you can just nod your head if you like.

This is really common. We get busy with our paid translation or interpreting work, and we put off many of the things that we cannot actually bill clients for. We know we need to get to these things eventually. For some of us, these items hang over our heads for months… or years.

So, while I would love to tell you that you have to make time to get it done, I think you already know that. Instead, I'll tell you to make some small changes first that will make a big impact. And then I'll leave it to you to make the time for the big ones. Sound good? Let's get started.

1. Label everything on your site.

Yep, everything. Label your photos or images. And by "label", I’m talking about the file names for these items before you actually upload them to your site. Make sure that everything on your website has a name that contains key search terms a potential client would use to find you online. Images are searchable! And the same goes for your website's pages. Make sure you have an accurate page description for every page of your website so that search engines like Google know how to find you and what your website is for. This helps those searching to choose to view your site over another, too.

Here's an example of how I intentionally label images on my blog. Notice that I do not leave image names up to the numerical order or download file name created when I find the right image. Instead, I take a moment to create a name that will be searchable by those who need this type of information.

Renaming Photos on Squarespace

2. Use smart headlines that include key search terms.

Did you know that the headlines (or subheadings, as you might think of them) are also highly searchable? Take some time to think about what search terms your target audience might use if they needed someone who does what you do. Now, I'm not saying you ought to stuff or pad your site with these, but make sure they make sense in context and that you think about them strategically before you write your website content.

Here's an example of a solid headline from one of my recent T&I Website Blueprint Course students:

Example of Smart Headlines with Key Search Terms

Gwen knows that her clients will search for a "French translator" or "French translation" and possibly add "IT" to their search query. She didn't pad or stuff her headline with loads of keywords. Instead, she used the most effective ones and made a statement that really speaks to the heart of the client by using words like "trusted" and "partner".

Use headlines like these throughout your site whenever you can. Not only do they help drive web traffic, but they also have a visual and emotional impact for your site visitors.

3. Start a blog.

You knew I was going to suggest this, right? I can't stress enough how much traffic a blog can drive to a website. Of all the pages on my website, the blog is what sees the most traffic in terms of page views. A blog is a huge traffic driver because you can update it often, show your expertise and professionalism, allow clients to get to know you better and stand apart from others who offer similar services.

Why does this fall under an "easy" way to drive more traffic? Well, because writing and maintaining a blog is not as much work as you really think. It's truly a matter of making a plan and getting started.

For more help with how to do this, check out Why Your Translation Business Needs a Blog and How to Plan and Maintain a Blog That Speaks to Your Ideal Clients and Promotes Your Business.

The first two tips I shared will take very little time to implement. All three will drive traffic to your site, and while the third may take more planning and follow-through, it is probably the most effective way to drive traffic to your site over time.

Have you already given any of these a try? How do you take steps to drive more traffic to your website?

Five Mindset Shifts Worth Making in Your Translation Business

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I talk to a lot of translators and interpreters in our industry. They are amazing colleagues, and the diversity is always so inspiring for me. But one thing we all tend to have in common is that we make excuses when it comes to the things we want to keep putting off in our businesses. What can we say? We're human! But why do we do this? I recently heard this explanation: our brains are wired to avoid the things that feel uncomfortable and to keep on doing what is most comfortable, even if it means we don't grow or improve in the process. But at what point does staying in our comfort zone result in stagnation? I had this discussion with a few translator friends recently, and the conclusion seems to be the same. Going outside of our comfort zone is totally worth it. The outcomes are often better than we expected, and once we've reached the other side, we realize that it wasn't actually all that hard. Most of the difficulty was created from the excuses we made!

These excuses we make for ourselves are not serving us in any way. In reality, we usually just need to make a mindset shift in order to stop making these excuses. We can easily switch these excuses to action items that are less painful by making them a habit--something we do daily or weekly. Here are five excuses I often hear from colleagues and my suggestions on mindset shifts that result in action items to help move the needle forward in our businesses.

1. Excuse: I'll start __________ (marketing, updating my website, etc.) when I'm less busy with client projects.

Action Item: I'll work on __________ (marketing, updating my website, etc.) one morning a week so that I can make progress in this area while still serving my clients and building revenue in my business.

2. Excuse: I'll sign up for that ___________ (webinar, course, conference, etc.) when I am making more money.

Action Item: I'll invest in my professional development now and work hard to pay for this ___________ (webinar, course, conference, etc.), because I know that it will allow me to sharpen my skills, make more money, etc.

3. Excuse: Even though I would prefer better clients, I don't have time to market my business, because I am so busy with the ones I have.

Action Item: I will spend 20 minutes a day marketing my business so that I can slowly replace the difficult-to-work-with or low-paying clients with better ones this year.

4. Excuse: There don't seem to be any direct clients in my area(s) of specialization. All of them prefer to work with large language services companies. So, I'll probably just work for agencies for the rest of my career, unless I change or add a specialization to my service offerings.

Action Item: I'll will brainstorm or talk to a colleague for 15 minutes a week to come up with some ideas of direct clients to whom I could market my translation services. And I will consider developing a second area of specialization that would allow me to market my services to more direct clients.

5. Excuse: I have to be in my email inbox at all times, because I might lose a project if I don't respond right away. (Side note: I had this mentality when I first started as a freelancer. It is not healthy! And it's not true if you have the right clients for you.)

Action Item: I will look at my email three times a day (once in the morning, once before lunch and once at the end of the day before I wrap things up for the evening). I will respond to all client requests at that time, and I will let my clients know what times I'll be in my inbox so that they know when to expect my replies. I will also look for more clients who respect these boundaries and do not expect me to always be available to them.

It's easy to make these and other excuses. I'm guilty of making excuses myself. We all do it in some area of our lives and businesses! It's human nature to take the more comfortable route if given the option. But we will only grow or improve when we decide to take that stroll outside our comfort zone.

What kind of excuses do you make in your business? What mindset shifts can you make to help you overcome the excuses and start taking action?