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How can I evaluate my website's appeal?
Thread poster: Alessandro Marchesello

Alessandro Marchesello  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:20
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Oct 8, 2005

Hi everybody!
I've just published my personal website (www.amtranslations.com), but I don't know how to evaluate its appeal on potential clients.
This is my first website ever so I would love you to visit it and give me suggestions and tips in order to improve its effectiveness. Every single advice would be highly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.


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Eva Blanar  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 21:20
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Looks really good :) Oct 8, 2005

I had look: congrats,

A couple of remarks (small things)
-it is an excellent idea to highlight specialisation, but the list of subjects is way too long, please consider taking out something from that long list (and open perhaps a separate box, with "also done..." or something like that,
- on a few English pages (like this one, Contact, or Pricing - possibly on others as well, I didn't check systematically) a couple of Italian words remained (back/ next, Componente di FrontPage)
- if you are a one-man agency, it's a bit strange to say "we translate..."

In order to increase traffic, you might create an automated signature to your emails (see below for mine) - and you can download different site meters to check any developments.

At any rate, I like it, that's great, congratulations!

*****************************
Eva Blanar
http://www.proz.com/pro/24231
*****************************


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Jussi Rosti  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:20
Member (2005)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Very good! Oct 8, 2005

I think your web site is very professional-looking!

I see you like plain, professional and stylish style, and that is good. If I would like to have a professional look-and-feel, I would go for something alike. (Why wouldn't I? I'm more interested to attract literatury people, because technical & businees jobs I get enough.

But if I were you, I would do one thing to make this style perfect. I would simplify. People do not want to read lot of text. So, you could for example try to pick up the 3 most important values (instead of 10 points of professional etchics) that describe your work. That's enough for letting people know you are a professional - the rest can be guessed! Just give a thought, which would be the best points to choose, or should you combine the points in three or something?

The same goes with prices. Your pricelist is too complete. You could give just the extremes, like really esy text $xxx, very specialized text $yyy, and proof-reading on average $zzz.

Just my opinions, but maybe you find some point in them?
-jr


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Robert Zawadzki  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:20
English to Polish
+ ...
Just apply this: Oct 8, 2005

http://www.fightthebull.com/bullfighter.asp

By the way, one of the pages my friend developed for our software and I translated into English almost passed the test.

[Edited at 2005-10-08 23:34]


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Alessandro Marchesello  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:20
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Eva! Oct 8, 2005

Eva Blanar wrote:
- on a few English pages (like this one, Contact, or Pricing - possibly on others as well, I didn't check systematically) a couple of Italian words remained (back/ next, Componente di FrontPage)


I know, it is so irritating! I tried my best to make FrontPage change those Italian words, but it's so stubborn! I guess those are fixed alphabetic strings and I fear there's no way to change them!
Does anybody know how to change them?
Thank you!


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Alessandro Marchesello  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:20
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What the...! Oct 9, 2005

Robert Zawadzki wrote:

http://www.fightthebull.com/bullfighter.asp

By the way, one of the pages my friend developed for our software and I translated into English almost passed the test.

[Edited at 2005-10-08 23:34]


Hi Robert! Thank you for your reply!
I can't understand how that "bullfighter" works.
It sounds like magic to run a programme that states if you're a good writer or not! No more need for editors, revisers and proofreaders!?!?!?!:-P


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Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:20
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
back/next, and other suggestions Oct 9, 2005

Alessandro Marchesello wrote:

Eva Blanar wrote:
- on a few English pages (like this one, Contact, or Pricing - possibly on others as well, I didn't check systematically) a couple of Italian words remained (back/ next, Componente di FrontPage)


I know, it is so irritating! I tried my best to make FrontPage change those Italian words, but it's so stubborn! I guess those are fixed alphabetic strings and I fear there's no way to change them!
Does anybody know how to change them?
Thank you!


This is impressive. I really like your site. Very professional and stylish.
Regarding your question: I'm not sure about Componente di Front Page (can't you open the html code in wordpad and delete that string?), but the buttons at the bottom (Precedente, Successiva) seem to be images, so you'll have to create different images with English strings (Back/Previous and Next) and use these in the English version.

In your Rates table, make sure not to use commas in English (write 0.08 not 0,08).

Now, regarding the page with the fields of expertise, I'm afraid it's the page I like less. They are all fields of expertise, and you wrote that the red are the specialization fields. Will the difference be clear to clients? Also, I don't find it very ...believable; I don't mean to hurt your feelings here, but you don't want to show clients that you're a jack of all trades. You need to stand out. Pick the top 5 or 10; you can still list the others, perhaps in smaller font, and say that you handle texts in those areas too (instead of calling them all "fields of expertise"). Alternatively you can change the name of the "Fields of expertise" icon at the top to "subjects covered" or something similar.

Other than that, I'm jealous You did a really good job with your site.


Maria


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:20
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
The 'we' disturbes Oct 9, 2005

If you state "we can translate 3000 words a day" you make it clear that 'we' is a single person.
'We' is misleading. If the site would present you as a freelance translator it would feel much more trustworthy. Your photo on the front page would look great.
As an outsourcer I would look for the tools you are familiar with. What is your equipement, how fast you want to be paid etc.

Regards
Heinrich

[Edited at 2005-10-09 06:28]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:20
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Needs a bit of work yet Oct 9, 2005

Hi Alessandro,

The site still needs a little bit of work yet, e.g. proofreading: "...fill in the contact form" (you missed out the word "in") - and, as already mentioned, the translation of those Italian words into English.

I agree that there are too many specialities listed - perhaps you could group some of them together under one heading.

Good luck with your web site!

Astrid


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:20
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some comments from two perspectives Oct 9, 2005

Alessandro Marchesello wrote:
I've just published my personal website (www.amtranslations.com), but I don't know how to evaluate its appeal on potential clients.


It's not a personal web site -- it's a professional web site. Remember this, because it's important. For this reason, a hit counter on the front page screams "amateur here" louder than anything else. If you want to count visits, use an invisible hit counter.

From an SEO perspective:

Your front page contains *no text* whatsoever. If your page was listed in the ODP, the front page would be the listed page, but if Google wanted to rate it using the text on the page listed in the ODP, it wouldn't have anything to list it on and would have to rely on secondary pages' keywords, which is a step down from the optimal situation. Also, your entry page's title is "Home". This is bad. Rather make it "AM Translations" or "AM Translations for English and Italian Translation". A Google search for your page will currently tell potential clients that the name of your web site is "Home". That's like having a business card with the words "Business Card" in big letters on it.

Your images have alt-text... which is good, but why use Italian alt-text on the English section of your web site? The main page for each language is exactly the same page as the "who" page... is this really necessary? The main pages of each language contains the language name, which is good, but why "Italian_version" in English? Why not make the page name in Italian, so that it'll score as an Italian page (instead of an English page) on Italian searches?

From a user's perspective:

Are you targeting only British English people? Many Americans are used to seeing an American flag for "English" version. In fact, you can get rid of the flags altogether, if you want, and simply have "English version" and "Italian version" (in Italian).

You don't mention your languages on the front page. A client who wants to have an English>Italian translation might not necessarily know what the Italian flag looks like.

Make the whole picture clickable. My first impulse was to click it, but there was no link. Only then did I click the flags.

The "Home" button should take the user back to the first page with real information on it, not to the splash screen. If the user wants to see the splash screen, he can use his backbutton.

The first page and the "who" page look so similar that initially I thought they were identical except for the background colour. I think the centred text contributes to this. Besides, long lines and short paragraphs that are centred, are marks of an amateur. Rather use left justified text, longer paragraphs and a smaller wrap.

The icons used for the different pages look very much like those generated by FrontPage Express, and it's another mark of an amateur. Rather use more professional looking link buttons.

The mouseovers on the link buttons are slow. If you use plain text with CSS rollovers, you can get instant display instead of having the visitor wait or not see the rollover effect immediately.

The pictures on the "expertise" page is a nice touch, but you have the same number of columns as link buttons, which makes it appear as if each columns relates to one of the buttons. Put the word "* Specializations" at the top so that the user knows what the red text is for without having to scroll down. Or write "Specializations in red".

Make your links a single colour and don't use that colour for anything else. I've seen orange text which are links and orange text which are not links. If you want users to click, make it obvious what is a link.

Again, "*All prices are expressed in Euros per source word" should be written at the top of the page, or otherwise you should simply use the E simbol to indicate that the amounts quoted are in Euro. People are more likely to assume it's their currency than assume that it's not and that the currency is mentioned somewhere on the page where you have to specifically look to see it.

Your contact page contains the words "[Componente di FrontPage ]"... what is that supposed to mean? The Send and Reset buttons of your form is titled, which means that it appears on my screen in English, but the "browse" button is not, which means that my browser displays it in the browser's default language (which happens to be Afrikaans). Why is there a "reset" button anyway? Just so that people can accidently click it?

If you want people to include certain information, you don't have to tell them that. Simply include fields for it, and make the fields manditory.

The line "You MUST specify" can be offensive for English speakers. The imperative "must" in English should be used for extreme situations only. Rather, say "Please specify the following".

Also, your form doesn't work (for me). Why not just use a plain Perl CGI script for your contact form? When I tried to send you a message, I got the following error message:

Die bediener het 'n aanmeldstawingsmetode aangevra wat nie ondersteun word nie.
http://www.amtranslations.com/_vti_bin/shtml.dll/contact.htm

(Roughly translated: The server requested a login validation method which is not supported.)

Also, you simply must include your e-mail address and other contact details. Not everyone wants to use the form (some might want to gather information first and then send a single e-mail to all candidates in one go). Mentioning your name and street address also adds credibility (not mentioning it is fatal).

Your numbering system, being a number followed by a dash, is not commonly used in the English speaking world. Rather use a number followed by a fullstop and a space.

According to your CV, you were born on "05.03.1980". Would that be 5 March or 3 May? You also claim "Thorough knowledge of: MS Windows and MS Office". Which versions would that be?


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Alessandro Marchesello  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:20
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you so much! Oct 9, 2005

I want to thank you all for your kind support and help (Samuel, you did an amazing work there with your reply).
I've just published a brand new version of my website. I tried to follow all of your suggestions and I think results are really good!
I'd love you to visit it again (if you're not already sick of it!:-P) and tell me if it actually looks better.
Thank you sooooo much!)


PS: unfortunately, "Componente di FrontPage" is a message posted by the server so I can't delete it without deleting the form too.


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:20
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Looks good, but there are a few things you may want to consider Oct 9, 2005

Your site looks good, but there are a few things you could do to improve it:

In the English version of your site you say "AM Translation is the fast, cheap and fair agency you can trust": I would not use the word "cheap", as it has undertones of "low quality"; if you want to emphasize the fact that you have cheap rates, say something like "AM Translation is a fast and competitive agency you can trust"

In the same sentence, "fair" is too vague, in my opinion: I think you should indicate in more details what you mean (possibly in its own bullet point), or drop it.

In the Pricing page, you indicate your prices as "0.06 Euro/word and upwards" for translation... you run the risk that your prospect will read it (in their mind) as "0.06 Euro/word (period)", and then start asking for discounts from that price (you know "we are going to need a lot of translations from you, so, can you give us a discount for volume"), and so on - in effect they will easily see it as a maximum price instead of a base rate.

At the moment I indicate my minimum rate on my ProZ page, but I'm actually going to hide that information in the future.



[Modificato alle 2005-10-10 01:09]


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 21:20
English to German
+ ...
I suggest that you get a better Oct 9, 2005

assessment from Webdesign groups and SEO Technique group at yahoo. These are more professional. Best Brandis

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Patricia Fierro, M. Sc.  Identity Verified
Ecuador
Local time: 15:20
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I would avoid using italics Oct 10, 2005

Hello,

I think all previous suggestions are excellent. I just wanted to add that in general I would not use italics, as they are very difficult to read.

Patricia


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123xyz

Local time: 21:20
English to Flemish
ask the Master Oct 10, 2005

Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/designmistakes.html

1. Legibility Problems
2. Non-Standard Links
3. Flash
4. Content That's Not Written for the Web
5. Bad Search
6. Browser Incompatibility
7. Cumbersome Forms
8. No Contact Information or Other Company Info
9. Frozen Layouts with Fixed Page Widths
10. Inadequate Photo Enlargement




Mind though, I'm not criticising the OP's website, these "rules" are general rules for all websites...


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