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Do you generate any business through your website?
Thread poster: Trans-Marie
Trans-Marie
Local time: 05:39
English to German
+ ...
May 24, 2007

Dear colleagues

I have been thinking about creating my own website for quite some time now. Interestingly, my business adviser advised against it. He said he doesn’t think that it’s worth the time and money spent on it. I then asked a fellow translator (her website is brilliant and looks very professional) and she told me that they don’t generate ANY business at all through their website.

I would think that it is generally a nice thing to have your own website and it probably helps keep in touch with existing clients. However, I would be interested to learn about your experiences. Do new clients actually find you through your website? Thanks in advance!


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Herminia Herrándiz Espuny  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Some... May 24, 2007

Hi, well, I've generated some bussiness through my website so far, but not that much... in my case it's worth the money because I delevoped it myself so I "only spend" the money for the hosting and the domain and it's not that much

Anyway, lately I have been receiving a lot of queries about projects so it seems that maybe in the near future it will be "really worth it"


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 05:39
I didn't May 24, 2007

I found I got most enquires via Proz and another translation directory. I didn't get a single job via the website so I disabled it after a year. That was my experience anyway.

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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:39
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
One job so far... May 24, 2007

Hi,

I mainly developed my own web site because I thought it was a 'nice thing to have' after over 10 years of freelancing.

It went up 2 months ago, and this very moment I am doing a 4000 word job I received through my Free Quote facility.

On the whole though, there seems to be little of what I would call quality traffic on the web site.

And just for the record, I received 2 jobs through my Proz.com profile since polishing it last Nov/Dec. Both of which have already been followed by another job from the satisfied agency clients.

Best,

Maciek


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jmadsen  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:39
Some thoughts May 24, 2007

First of all, the purpose of a website might be something else besides generating business. I have a website and I regard it more as an expanded CV including information on services, education, software/hardware etc. But I also generate business directly from my website.

Secondly, the success of a website does not necessarily depend on how professional it looks. If noone is able to find your website (e.g. using Google), the success will of course be very limited. Therefore, the meta tags of your website (search words) must be finetuned to attract the kind of surfers you want to attract. If you have no meta tags, it's a waste of money.

BR Jørgen


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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:39
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Bang on! May 24, 2007

Jørgen Madsen wrote:

Secondly, the success of a website does not necessarily depend on how professional it looks. If noone is able to find your website (e.g. using Google), the success will of course be very limited. Therefore, the meta tags of your website (search words) must be finetuned to attract the kind of surfers you want to attract. If you have no meta tags, it's a waste of money.



I forgot to mention that. My web developer and I are now actively looking into fine tuning my site's metatags to improve its search engine ranking.

I hope to generate more business through my site so getting the metatags sorted is crucial.

M


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Helen Johnston  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not directly, but... May 24, 2007

I don't think I've generated any new business directly from my website, and anyway its a simple one page web I designed myself so the only cost is the hosting.
But it looks good to have www.yourname.com on your business card and correspondence, it makes you look like a "real business" rather than a one man band with an office in the spare bedroom, which is what I really am! I know a couple of companies I've sent mailshots to have checked my website and then called me.


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:39
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Partly May 24, 2007

I have my ProZ profile and a website - which is extremely simple and hosted by ProZ. I maintain the website myself.

The combination of both seems to work out well - a website offers a more professional image than 'just' a profile.

The costs are low compared to the other expenses a translator has (software, hardware ...) so it is definitely worth the effort!


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:39
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
A Lot May 24, 2007

And to think that I did it myself in less than one hour... I've had quite a few offers through my site.

And no, it's not a very impressive site. My website is very simple and it is sort of the place where I experiment (at times) with certain things. I know it is not a good and one does not normally experiment with one's website... but it's real fun and I like doing this whenever I have a few minutes or am bored.

[Edited at 2007-05-24 13:09]


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:39
Italian to English
Why should anyone visit your website? May 24, 2007

MV LegalTrans wrote:

Dear colleagues

I have been thinking about creating my own website for quite some time now. Interestingly, my business adviser advised against it. He said he doesn’t think that it’s worth the time and money spent on it.



Hi MV,

Your business adviser is probably right if you are just going to stick something pretty on the web

As Jørgen says, people will first have to be able to find it and then they're going to need a reason to come back.

My site gets a reasonable number of hits, even though when I set it up some years ago, I wasn't really expecting to get much business through it, at least not directly. In fact, the site was - and is - just a vehicle for a database-driven wine glossary I use with groups of translators working on various wine-related projects. I continue to update the glossary periodically, which gives people a reason to call again, and I always reply to vocabulary queries. Other translators occasionally write to say they find the glossary useful and a fair number of my winery customers tell me they use it themselves.

A few clients, including some good ones, have said they got in contact because of the site so I reckon it's worth the modest investment.

If you can think of something similar that customers you want to attract will find interesting, yet will not involve you in too much time-consuming maintenance, it might make your business adviser think again.

FWIW

Giles


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:39
German to English
+ ...
Tons! May 24, 2007

I religiously follow the statistics on my website and get tons of inquiries through my business homepage. I also get quite a few click-throughs from my proz.com profile. I see it as part of a comprehensive business portfolio. Imagine you are an outsourcer, and you have the choice between:

Translator A: no website, minimal proz.com portfolio, an email like TranslatorA@yahoo.xx or similar

Translator B: has demonstrated that he/she is web-savvy with a simple yet informative website; has taken some time to fill in the proz.com profile; is listed on various freelancer sites; can be found in searches at key professional organizations, like ATA, IOL, BDÜ, or whatever is typical in your country; is maybe even listed in the yellow or white pages of his/her respective country.

It's pretty clear what translator I would pick. Let me reiterate: I do think it is only one part of a professional business image. It does help cultivate trust when a potential partner can verify your online address from your website, double-check that with an online whois query, verify this address/phone number in the white or yellow pages, and reach you via phone/mobile at the number you list on your website. These are the kinds checks I go through when vetting agencies (in addition of course to checking the Blue Board, various payment practices lists, etc.).

Registering a domain should cost no more than $15 per year. If you don't want to deal with learning html and developing your site yourself, you can certainly hire a developer for well under $500 (for a simple informational site). Check out the offers at the proz.com Exchange site: http://www.proz.com/?sp=exchange

As others have mentioned, keywords will be be crucial to your success. I would also mention your website on your proz.com profile and integrate it into your overall business profile.


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Riens Middelhof  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:39
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Yes and no May 24, 2007

My website is a combined venture between my wife and I, she teaches Spanish and I translate from it. Different but related.

The website generates about 75% of the courses-business, the rest is word of mouth and agencies. So yes, it has created a lot of business.

On the other hand I haven´t received any inquiries about translations through the site. I do receive inquiries through ProZ, so my conclusion would be not to spend a lot of money on a website that is just about your translation business, but if you can combine it with something else it might be a good idea.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:39
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It doesn't generate a lot of business, but it helps May 24, 2007

I started years ago by renting some e-space from the ISP which provided me dial-up access at that time; a lot of space for an affordable price. I could have gone for free hosting but, quite frankly, I hate visiting what should be a professional web site crammed with flashing ads for things I'm not sure that professional would endorse.

At that time, I knew absolutely nothing about html (and I haven't learned so much ever since), so I had my son - an IT pro - build the site with the content I prepared. As a busy professional, it took him over a year to get it done, but it was technically impressive then. It just gave information on what I was able to do, and what I had already done in my key specialty area - localization of complete HRD programs.

AFAIK I'm not allowed to insert links here, so I'll skip them.

Another step (much later) was to prepare my very detailed (16 pages - some 300 KB) CV into a PDF file and leave it there. When prospects ask for it I just give them the link to download. It works faster than sending it the CV an e-mail attachment.

And then I painstakingly developed infomercial-type pages on some of my key activity areas. Being a sworn translator in Brazil, I realized that there was a lot of information missing about how such things work here. So I selected what I considered the major 25 questions about them, and put these on a web page... in Portuguese, of course.

A friend from the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, DC prompted me to build the same page in English. He sad he and his staff spent hours on the phone every week explaining these things to Americans that needed their documents accepted by Brazilian authorities. So I did it.

The result$ are not impressive at all, but now and then I get sworn translation jobs from people in the USA who wouldn't ever find me otherwise.

The point here is building credibility and goodwill. I give visitors useful information for free. As sworn translators in Brazil are organized by state, I even provide them links to all online directories. Most of all, since sworn translations in Brazil are always on hardcopy, I advise them to contact the physically nearest professional they can find for the required language, as mandatory rates are set by state laws.

I have other translation pages - viz. DTP services for translators, product literature translation services - and I'm developing óne on video translation for dubbing, subtitling, and lectoring (VO) but all these are not interconnected. My domain URL alone leads to a dead end. I haven't decided yet what I should put there.

Then there is the contact issue. I have a special e-mail address for all my web sites/pages. It's used for the first contact only. Of course, I get tons of spam there, but I browse it on web mail, redirect the useful ones to my main e-mail address, and delete all the remaining junk.

Finally there is the search engines issue. It's worth taking care while preparing the site description and search keywords. After this is done, I register my pages at all the free-registration, mostly never-heard-of search engines. The big ones will eventually find them there. But this does not prevent me from attempring free registration in the major search engines as well.

I consider that translation is not like e-selling gizmos or software, where sales will be proportional to the number of hits. It's just a matter of enabling anyone looking for a translator in your language pair and specialty area to find you. If you give them some valuable information and evidence of your capabilities, so much the better.

HTH.

Jose'


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:39
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Web site = online business card May 24, 2007

MV LegalTrans wrote:
Interestingly, my business adviser advised against it. He said he doesn’t think that it’s worth the time and money spent on it.


A web site is like an online business card. It doesn't sell you by itself, but it is useful to have when someone is looking for you or wants to have more information about you.

A web site is cheap too. You can design one yourself, for free (using something like Mozilla Composer, for example), and you can host it for fairly cheap (USD 30.00 per year). The domain name is also cheap (USD 10.00 per year). Compare that with the price of, say, an advert in the Yellow Pages.


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:39
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not so far... May 24, 2007

I've just had a new website designed for me and it went online a couple of days ago (my last one was designed very basically by myself and wasn't great). I've been contacted twice already via that website but both people had found me in the Proz.com directory first and found the link to my website on my Proz profile. So nothing has come to me "directly" so to speak.

Having said that, I do think that a good website is important - perhaps people won't find you directly through that website but if you can direct potential clients there from other places (via Proz and similar sites, business cards etc..) then it gives a professional impression. People like nice websites, and I have to admit that I myself would choose a service provider with a professional-looking website over a service provider with the same skills and prices with no website at all.


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