translation business tips

Five Website Mistakes Translators and Interpreters Make and How to Fix Them

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The fact that everything is searchable online these days means that you have a responsibility to yourself and to your business to market yourself well via your website. After all, it's an expense in your business that is worth getting a return on, right? But it's all too easy to fall into the well of project overload, pushing things off until the weekend or that next period of free time (psst… it's not coming!) or when things are slow in your business. But what if that proverbial project well goes dry?

You might start to think about your website and how you might tweak it to get more traction with potential customers. Ugh... but where to start?! So, instead of doing an entire website revamp or even making a few of those minor tweaks, you end up keeping your site the way it is. Months start to pass on the calendar and you haven't touched it, let alone thought about what you could do differently to attract more of your ideal clients.

And while you might not be in for the entire revamp just yet, but if you're open to planning it for the future and/or tinkering around a bit on your website, here are five website mistakes translators and interpreters often make and how to fix them. These should get you off to a great start and help you brainstorm how your new and improved site should look and feel once you're ready to tackle it.

Mistake 1: Not making a real connection with those who visit your site

As soon as someone lands on your website, it is important to make a connection with them. If your website takes a long time to load, you can lose someone. If the navigation is hard to figure out, you can lose someone. If there is too much text, you can lose someone. (I know, it's hard as word people not to be wordy, but do your best to be concise and catch your site visitors' attention right away!)

For more ideas on how to make a real connection (or not!) with your site visitors, check out this infographic What Makes Someone Leave a Website.

Mistake 2: Not creating an emotional connection in the "About" section

People want to know what it's like to work with you. So, give them that by engaging with them, creating a connection beyond the services you offer. The "About" section of your website should start by telling visitors who you are, mention some of the problem(s) they face, how you solve their problem(s) and the outcomes they can expect if they work with you. This is similar to an elevator speech, but it's in text form and should be concise without feeling stiff or cold.

Here's an example of a great "About" introduction for a fictitious translator named Susan.

Olá! My name is Susan Duncan… I am a small town Portuguese to English translator who serves big town clients all over the world by delivering translations of their marketing and communications content. I've found that companies in Portuguese-speaking countries struggle to find professional translators who really understand the corporate culture when they start to do business in and market their products in the United States. I've helped numerous clients refine their email campaigns, advertisements, internal and external communications, brand identity and social media messaging so that they can conduct business successfully in the American market and gain peace of mind in the process. 

Mistake 3: Neglecting to consider the user experience

We often fall into the habit of creating our site as we think it should feel or look without actually considering our ideal users. One way to change this habit is to have someone navigate the site in front of you. Start on the "Home" page and let them click around the site at their pace and as they desire. Don't tell them what to do or where to click next. Pay attention to what they choose and where they navigate, click after click.

What changes can you make to improve their experience? Ask them follow-up questions about what they thought they'd find by clicking on certain items. The person (or persons--even better!) should be an ideal client, if possible. This will help you determine various details about how your site should look and feel, keeping the user experience in mind.

Mistake 4: Not updating the site to fit market changes and ideal client shifts over time

Just like everything in business, markets shift. Ideal clients change. As time goes on, you see how what once worked well for you may not anymore when it comes to gaining new clients or reaching your ideal customers. As these shifts and changes take place, you too must adapt. This means your site should adapt to these changes as well. Pay attention to and keep track of the ways your ideal customers change and be ready to change with them. This is all part of doing business.

Mistake 5: Not continuing to make sure all design and branding speak to the ideal client

From time to time, you will want to update the design and branding on your website to continue "speaking" to your ideal client in a way that makes them feel like you really get where they're coming from. No one wants to read a site that's all about you. Make your site stand out to your ideal client in a way that makes them feel like it was worth taking the time to read your content. They should feel like you know them already, like you created your business (and site) with them in mind. This is the true way to win over your ideal client's heart.

For more ways to appeal to ideal clients, check out How to Determine and Attract Your Ideal Client. 

If you're making any of these mistakes, there's no reason to worry. Just fix them and move forward. Dust off that website and get to work. The key is to know your ideal client well and to write and design the site with them in mind. The rest will work itself out!

How to Project and Track Sales Revenue in Your T&I Business to Start Earning More

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I recently showed you exactly how I project and track business expenses and how to do it easily in your own business. In this post, I want to show you the more exciting part: how to project and track sales revenue in your T&I business so that you can start earning more.

Everyone needs to know their earnings in order to pay their bills, right? If you are always waiting on the next project to land in your inbox, then you're doing this business thing all wrong. This method and spreadsheet will help you to stop living check to check, or month to month and really take control of your earnings and your business.

Again, just as in my other post and video on expense projection and tracking, the numbers I use in this spreadsheet and video do not reflect numbers in my own business. This is simply a demonstration to show you how you can project and track your earnings using a simple method.

Here's how my sales revenue projection and tracking tool looks in a few snapshot views.

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This spreadsheet is great to use at the end of a tax year, to help you decide when to go on vacation or take an extended work break and to let you see where you can start earning more and/or working less by changing up your rates or fees. No matter if you charge by the word, by the hour, by a flat project fee, etc., you can use this spreadsheet to get a very good picture of your sales goals and how to meet them. Let me show you how.

By projecting your sales revenue, you can figure out exactly how much work you need to do each quarter to hit your sales goals/projections. It will also help you to get an overview of what you can earn for each type of service you provide. Don't like editing? Decide to translate more and plug that into your projections. Don't think you'll hit the numbers you projected? Use the planning tabs to figure out how you can. Want to drop low-paying clients? This will show you what you need to do in order to get there.

This method allows you to stop taking on every project that falls into your lap and start thinking ahead about how much you want to work and what you need to do to hit your sales revenue goals. Of course, you should reassess at the end of the quarter and tweak what you'll need to do in the following quarter or six months. You can use this method every year in your business. You can even project next year's sales revenue now, if you like.

Stop living project to project, check to check and lay out a plan for your T&I business. To get the exact spreadsheet I use in this video, click on the button below to download and get started.

When you purchase the spreadsheet, you will receive:

● the spreadsheet in Excel format (email me for the link as a Google spreadsheet, if you prefer);

● a link to a video that will walk you through exactly how to use the spreadsheet in order to track and project expenses in your T&I business;

● a discount code to use toward the M|Z Expense Planner (available as of April 19, 2018!).

The video tutorial that accompanies the spreadsheet is only available to those who download it. Before you tell another person, "I'm a words person, not a numbers person!", check out this spreadsheet, as well as the Expense Planner, and empower yourself in order to earn more, and plan for the future.