website tips for interpreters

Five Ways to Improve Your Web Presence Before the New Year

It's never too early to start planning for the new year, especially since the month of October basically flew by! That means there are only two months left of 2018! Have you already made up your mind about 2019? I'm hoping you've decided to make it a growth year in your T&I business. I have!

Need some ideas? Here are 5 ways to improve your web presence before the new year!

1. Refine your website to fit your target market.

Everything on your website, from the images to the copy and everything in between, should be created with your ideal clients in mind. If your ideal clients use certain terms and language, you should be, too. When a client clicks on your website, he should know immediately that you are the right fit for him and his goals.

Make updates to your website from time to time so that you can continue to speak directly to your target market. These could be things like the visuals you share, the language you use, the calls to action you create, etc.

I'm teaching a course about this in November, and today's the last day to sign up at the early bird rate! For more information, or to register, click here!

And to read more about how to create an ideal client profile, check out this post and this post!

2. Hang out online where your target market does.

I get a lot of questions on this one. The most common one I receive is, "But what if I don't know where my clients hang out online?" Well, I'd say you have some research to do, but it should be fun to look into this, because the more you understand your target market, the better you will be able to make a connection with them.

Start by doing some simple Google searches. You could also do some searching around LinkedIn for forums related to your target market. What groups or forums do they participate in? What kind of content are they searching for or commenting on?

Where do they hang out on social media? One great way to find this information is to look at the websites of potential clients in your target market and visit their social media pages. Follow them! Engage with them! If they are active on Twitter, make sure you are active and engaging with them on Twitter. If they tend to prefer another platform, create a profile and get to work. Provide value on the platforms where they hang out by sharing valuable content, commenting, and showing your expertise and generosity through the value and information you share. People pay attention to these things. The value and generosity will come back to you!

3. Consider your emails… yep, those things you write every single day.

When a client emails you and you hit "reply," are you really talking to your clients in a way that builds trust? Or are you just shooting back a response so you can move on to the next email or task at hand?

Consider providing value in every email you send. Whether you include a link to an article the client might find relevant (bonus points if it's to one of your articles or blog posts!), or if you throw in a freebie add-on when you deliver a translation. I don't like to give away work for free, as I feel that that devalues the work itself, but consider something "extra" you could do for a client that they aren't expecting. This helps you to build more of the like, know and trust factor with them at the same time.

4. Start producing original content.

It's fine to repost and share others' content online. In fact, it's necessary, as we cannot possibly produce new content all the time. But what are you producing that shows your professional skills and the value you provide?

Consider starting a blog or posting articles to LinkedIn on a regular basis. Make sure that what you write is relevant to your target market and that it is something that they would want to read and pass along to colleagues!

Once you've created the original content, share it with them. Don't expect others to follow your blog or be on the lookout for your next LinkedIn article. Let people know when you have provided value. No one will see this as being boastful or showy. They'll appreciate it, I promise!

5. Take 20 to 30 minutes a couple of times a week to find valuable content online for your target market, and share it!

Send it in an email to a client or a prospect. Tweet it or share it on LinkedIn. Post it in a LinkedIn group or forum where your target customers hang out. And please… when you share it, say something intelligent about it! Don't just paste the link. Mention what you find useful or valuable, too! This shows your expertise and knowledge on the subject. And perhaps even more importantly, it shows that you care.

There are a lot of ways to step up your web presence. Make a plan for yourself for the coming year. Commit to one hour a few days a week to really put time into improving your online marketing game. You will start to reap the rewards sooner than you think!

How to Use Your Website to Build Trust with Your T&I Clients

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You know I say this a lot... but people really do do business with people they like, know and trust. Since a lot of us often don't get to meet our clients face-to-face (at least not at first), our websites are often the first impression or interaction our clients have with us. That's why we have to use our websites strategically so that we can build trust with them from the first time they land on our page.

So, how do we use your websites to help build trust? Here are six ways to build trust that you can start implementing right away.

● Keep things simple. Yes, here's your permission to not pull out all the bells and whistles. You don't need them! And site visitors often find them distracting. You want your clients to get a feeling of what it's like to work with you as a translator or interpreter. So, keep the layout and navigation simple and intuitive.

● Make your navigation easy to maneuver. How many times have you visited a business' website and find yourself hovering over every navigation menu option because you're looking for something specific, but you cannot seem to find it? Don't do this to your prospects or clients!

Make things easy to find and make it obvious about where they should click next. If you're unsure whether your site has navigation issues, ask someone to sit down for 10 to 20 minutes and click through your site as if they were a client. Just watch what they do, and make notes of where they click from one page to the next. When they finish, ask them why they chose to click on certain items or links and what they thought they should do next. This will help you to determine if your navigation is confusing and if you could use a few good calls to action.

● Speaking of calls to action, you need some. People like to be told where to go. Think about it like navigating a neighborhood you've never visited before. If you are unsure about your surroundings, you might fire up your GPS system or ask Siri. The same is true for your website. People visiting your website need direction. So, think about what it is you really want them to do and carefully walk them through it. Don't make it complicated, though! Just make it obvious. If you want someone to sign up for your email newsletter, make the sign-up box prominent and simple to fill out. If you want them to contact you for a quote, create a solid call to action (or more than one!) that encourages them to do so.

● Steer clear of pop-ups or other distractions. Have you ever heard someone say, "I love their website. The pop-up advertisements are amazing!" Yeah, no. I bet you haven't. They are annoying and they may cause skepticism among your site visitors. So, avoid them and be smarter about your calls to action.

● Pay attention to load times and tweak your content to make your site load faster. Again, I'll ask you about your own experience on this one. Have you ever visited a website that seemed to take forever to load? Could it be that your internet just took a snooze? Or is the site really that clunky? Avoid slow load times on your own website by using proper file sizes and minimizing the number of things that could slow it down. This is an issue that is easy to solve with a little bit of research on your part. So, take about 20 minutes to research how to improve your website's load times and implement some of the tips. Remember, you want it to be easy for clients to navigate your website.

● Make your site visually appealing. Yep, visual appeal is incredibly important in a solid business website. It doesn't matter that you may be a freelancer and working as a one (wo)man show. Just like first impressions in person are key to getting the job or that first client meeting, your website is the first impression that many clients have of you. So, make it good! Use beautiful images that tell a story. Avoid long-winded paragraphs and lists of qualifications and degrees. They are important, but they are not what your prospects are looking for when they visit your website. They want to know if you can help them fix a problem or reach a goal. Show them that!

Clients may not say it to your face, but many times they choose a freelance translator or interpreter based on what they found on their website. You can have all the qualifications in the world, but if you don't know how to relay the value you provide and build trust from the start, then you may not be the one they choose. Consider making updates like these to start building more trust with your clients and prospects.

Why Solid Web Copy is a Vital Marketing Tool for Your T&I Business

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There can be a bit of a conundrum when it comes to web copy. For one thing, there is the argument that people don't like to (and tend not to) read much anymore. Of course, this is a general blanket statement, and there are many people who do (like) to read. But on the other hand, your web copy and some solid behind-the-scenes website strategies are what allow your translation or interpreting website to show up in search engine results and convince your site visitors that you are the ideal solution for their language-based needs.

When it comes down to it, your web copy and what you say are what sell your services to prospective clients. You can have the most beautiful images and layout on your website, but if you don't have anything to say, what's the point? As translators and interpreters, we often have a lot to say. ;) But knowing how much, and just what to say, are vital to nailing your web copy and attracting your ideal clients.

Excellent web copy is often overlooked by service-based businesses and providers. Many think that just having a website with their contact information, bio and a photo will be enough to start attracting new clients. Wrong. The way to attract new clients is to speak to them on your website. Think of it as a conversation. You don't want to talk to your clients about "A" if they typically need "B" to solve their problems or relieve a pain point. If you want to write great web copy that works, it's important to know your clients and their needs, as well as what you do well for them that helps to solve their problems or pain points.

Yes, there are formulas for writing great web copy. And all of these formulas are based on sales. But you don't have to be "salesy" to create amazing web copy that will bring you results. Of course, the goal is to make a sale! But your copy should do one thing, first and foremost. Your copy (and your services) should provide value to clients. Think of it as content marketing. The marketing and sale is a byproduct of really solid and valuable content.

Great web copy not only attracts ideal clients, but it tells them what you want them to do next. There has to be a call to action for your clients so that they know where to go from one page of your site to the next. You don't have to get fancy. You just have to be smart about it. Again, it all comes down to really knowing your ideal clients.

For more information on how to build an ideal client profile, check out How to Create an Ideal T&I Client Profile to Market Your Services.

You'll know when you've gotten your web copy right. You will start to hear from more and more prospects who are "qualified" to work with you (i.e., those who are willing to pay your rates and will cause you fewer headaches than those you'd rather avoid). They will seek you out and refer you to others, because you are that good. You will be beyond valuable to them and a key part of their team.

Finally, think about this. Our websites are often the first impression our clients have of us. And it also might be their last. Nailing our websites, and that includes solid web copy, is essential. When you have great web copy, people will stay on your site longer. And the longer they're there, the higher the possibility of their engagement with you.

For "word people" like us, we should be some of the best at getting web copy right, no? Wrong. We're not! So, how do we get it right and use our websites to attract our ideal clients and keep them coming back? We provide real value to them. And I'm not even talking about the value we already provide through our professional services. We don't overwhelm them with long lists of our qualifications (yes, those are still important, but they're not what our clients want to know upfront!). We don't provide them with chapters of our experience to sift through in order to find what they really want to know. And we definitely don't make it all about ourselves!

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.


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.