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Creating my own website
Thread poster: Annett Hieber

Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:10
English to German
Dec 10, 2010

Hi everybody,

I have now - at last - decided to use the free holiday season ahead to create my
own website. I have read a lot of the forum posts here and would like to sum up the
main points which one should consider - with your help, addressing particularly those
translators who already have their own website for some time and who would share
their experiences here.

- How many pages max.?
- State exact prices?
- What must be considered when chosing the website's name?
- Give translation samples?
- Reference list?

This is only to start the list, I am sure there are a lot more points to consider.

What are your tips and experiences? And what n o t to do?

Any information is highly welcome!

Have a nice weekend!

Annett


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veratek
Brazil
Local time: 09:10
French to English
+ ...
Additional resources Dec 10, 2010

As additional resources to answer your questions, there are many good web-marketing books and articles, including general BtoB marketing strategies texts for small business owners. I think reading this would be worthwhile, along with looking at a variety of translator sites on the Web for ideas on how other people have organized their information and used their web page resources/tools.

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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:10
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
- What must be considered when chosing the website's name? Dec 10, 2010

I think a website name should be short and easy to spell over the telephone. There's a chance that www.ahieber.de and www.ahieber.com are still available.

Cheers,
Gerard


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Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:10
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Some thoughts Dec 10, 2010

Some things that come to mind:

- when choosing your website's name, try various combinations, e.g. if you choose ahieber.de and someone already owns ahieber.com, you might lose some clients who end up at the wrong address; also try versions with and without hyphens (like a-hieber vs. ahieber) and make sure you get an address that is as unique as possible

- if your website is only for yourself, I wouldn't chose a generic name (like translationsXtoY.de) but really use your name for the website, too; there are tons of generic names out there and yours wouldn't stand out

- concerning .de vs. .com: I can't really prove this but I prefer my .com domain because it tells clients around the world, look I've got something to sell, whereas .de might make your potential clients think that the Website is only available in German and they might not even bother visiting it.. but as I said, I can't really prove this with numbers

- Scope: I'd keep it short and to the point; potential clients have so many translators to choose from - they don't want to read endless pages about your career and education etc. Also, I know from my own experience that when I land at a Website with a huge chunk of text right on the home page, I don't feel like reading on (this doesn't apply to blogs or newspapers, of course )

- Thus, I'd use as many pages as absolutely necessary to say what you have to say but try to use bullet points or similar to make it easy for the potential client to quickly grasp who you are. Put the most important things on your home page so that people don't necessarily have to read on.

- Obviously, use a menu instead of using links within the text. (e.g., don't write something like "Hello, ... you can click here or there, and here you find this and there you find that..." Just use a menu that's always visible.)

- I wouldn't state exact prices. I've noticed that people who contact me via proz or other portals and who have seen my minimum prices there automatically assume that these are my standard prices and hence they almost always say upfront, "look, we can pay this amount." However, if someone contacts me via my Website, they ask for my prices and I can freely start the negotiation with them.

- I've also put up some samples. This makes it much easier to apply for jobs because you can simply say, "If you need a sample from field XYZ, you'll find one at www...."

- References: I guess this is a matter of preference. If you have some and they don't mind you mentioning them, why not? I usually give some broad indications of previous projects to give potential clients an idea of my work.

- Contact options: make them clearly visible. Ideally, you'd use a contact form. This is very convenient for clients and I've already been contacted quite often via my form.
It's much more convenient than simply stating your e-mail address.

- And last but not least: visit your Website several times and pretend you were a user. What would you be looking for? How long does it take you to find it? Also, wait a few days and then visit your Website again. Most likely you'll realize that some things could still be made shorter.


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Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:10
Italian to English
+ ...
What a great site Dec 10, 2010

It's simple yet effective. I think it's excellent - did it take long to set-up?

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:10
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
My opinion Dec 10, 2010

Annett Hieber wrote:
- How many pages max.?


Make it about 5 per language. Fewer pages may lower your search engine ranking.

- State exact prices?


Yes, why not? If you have such a thing as an "exact price" you might as well say it.

- What must be considered when chosing the website's name?


Your country's laws may have certain requirements about that, but for a domain name I'd go for a something.de name, if you can get it. If you can get the same name with .com also, get it too.

- Give translation samples?


Yes, that is a nice way to add lots of relevant keywords to your web site.

- Reference list?


Yes, but make sure you have everyone's permission.


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:10
German to English
specialized name Dec 10, 2010

Hi,
If you are strongly specialized you might try a name that is likely to correspond to likely search terms. The site name seems to be pretty important at least for your ranking with google.

I think some clients are a little embarassed on my behalf when they see kunstuebersetzer.de or arttranslator.com as my address, but if I search specifically with these words, I end up among the first 10 results, although my ranking is otherwise miserable.

If you're with Telekom, they have a free or extremely cheap deal for a domain name that points to your real site: that means that you can have .de and .com for almost no extra money. You can also get this kind of thing anywhere for a few euro (or less) per month

Conventional American wisdom also says to avoid any punctuation in the site name: john-doe.com requires more explanation and is harder to remember than johndoe.com, even if the latter can be hard to read.

Michael


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:10
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Do not use pictures/images found on the internet... Dec 10, 2010

...even if they are part of a free template. A group of translators (myself included) recently had to redesign our sites because the owner of the images/photos (a large stock photo company) is threatening to sue for back royalties. They use an image search program to find their images on other websites and if you do not have license, they send you a bill.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:10
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A few tips from my experience Dec 11, 2010

Taking your questions...

- How many pages max.?
No limit. I spend less than USD 25 per month in hosting, which includes individual e-mail services for the whole family, and yet I'm apparently using 5-10% of the e-space I'm entitled to.

Use it to put "articles" or "compilations" on things that you have to explain frequently to clients, instead of writing partial answers over and over again. Then, just give'em the links. To illustrate, my most frequent subjects are:

Keep track of what you have to explain most often/repeatedly to clients, and compile those answers into some organized text.
You may have your CV/resume hidden somewhere in your web site, however do not leave any links to it. If any client requests it, you may give them the specific URL to download, possibly with a password too.

- State exact prices?
Never, unless you are selling commodities, products (e.g. a book) yourself.
I tried questionnaires that would enable clients to make an estimate on their own for two specific cases, viz. video work and DTP. Before posting on the site, I gave it to a few clients to try. They were unable to answer the questions correctly!

- What must be considered when chosing the website's name?
That's a very personal choice, however I'd suggest you make it short. Pardon my non-German, but I wouldn't be able to write "dasbesteubersetzerinderganzewelt.com" twice. I have a client that has a domain name about as long, in another language. Thank goodness I have it on record, so I don't have to type that every time.

- Give translation samples?
Do you really think people would read it? Would your clients - and their NDAs - allow it? If yes, do it! However don't "force" them to read it by putting that on the first page. Alternatively, you may have your pages in all/both your languages, that should be enough of a sample.
My video translation samples - those I was allowed to post - are sort of hidden on the third layer. They appear only in the PT section of my site because all videos I translated into EN were client proprietary, and covered by strict NDAs. Yet these are short clips, with considerably downgraded quality, from 20-30 minute videos. (If you can't read PT, you have to click on the 'theaters' to the right of each one to watch.)
If you have videos you translated on YouTube, there are better ways to show them on your web site.
Likewise, if you translated books, a link to their pages on the Amazon or other web site could be a good point.

- Reference list?
No, unless you want your best clients spammed for life by translation agencies to the tune of "Whatever this jane does for you, we can do it faster, better, and cheaper!"... or pestered with arm-length questionnaires about you.
If you have some high exposure/prestige clients, you may assemble an array of their logos, with links to their main web pages.


A final one on e-mail: Don't publish your main e-mail address on your web site. Get some good webmail service where you can bulk-delete massive spam, and re-route only the legit business proposals to your main address, from where you'll reply. Otherwise put an online form there. My e-mail page uses both. I've inserted spaces around the '@' so that only smarter robots will pick it up. The 'center' option will open the visitor's e-mail program to wite a message to that same address (visible). The two lateral options will let the visitor write me a message using an online form, to my main e-mail address, however they won't see where it's going to. And yet, there is the captcha device there.

In case you ask, my site was built using Incomedia's WebSiteX5 . I am illiterate in html, javascript, and similar languages.

[Edited at 2010-12-11 11:08 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:10
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Different ideas Dec 11, 2010

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
- How many pages max.?
Use [the web space] to put "articles" or "compilations" on things that you have to explain frequently to clients, instead of writing partial answers over and over again. Then, just give'em the links.


Yes, if you have time, write useful content for your site. It will boost your search engine ranking, and it increases the chance that people with other web sites will link to yours.

You may have your CV/resume hidden somewhere in your web site, however do not leave any links to it. If any client requests it, you may give them the specific URL to download, possibly with a password too.


Why? I have a prominent link to my résumé in three different formats on every page of my web site (above the fold), without a password.

- Reference list?
No, unless you want your best clients spammed for life by translation agencies to the tune of "Whatever this jane does for you, we can do it faster, better, and cheaper!"... or pestered with arm-length questionnaires about you.


If you can't or don't want to put reference lists, you can have a page with a monthly/quarterly update of the types of jobs that you translated. This shows that you are a busy translator and that you have lots of experience. It will fulfil at least some of the purpose of a reference list (i.e. it will convince the client that you are serious).


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Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:10
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
I am overwhelmed Dec 15, 2010

by all of your answers so far! That is very helpful to me and I would like to thank you very much.

I hope that it will also help a lot of other translators here on this site.

And, any further answers, recommendations, comments are welcome!

Annett


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 13:10
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
my two cents Dec 15, 2010

In my personal opinion, the main function of your website should be to relay the message "who I am and what I do" - like a nice online booklet written in quite a laconic and clear form and "dressed up" in a simplistic, or "clean style", or minimalistic design (and you can have it for quite a reasonable budget instead of overloading it with sophisticated technical solutions for the website).

Pricing info. Well, I'd not put it there. Projects might be very different, and prices/rates can vary a lot.

Client list - I'd rather keep this info confidential. Sample translations...Well, I think it depends on the potential clients you are targeting. If these are agencies, that can be useful, but if these are "end clients", i.e. not linguists, I do not think it can be useful or needed (I do not think anyone will bother reading them).

Website (domain) name - I think it shall be a) impossible to forget (i.e. short and very easy to remember) and b) the name itself shall relay the message that this is a website related to translations. To chose such a name might be quite a task.

And about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) - do not waste your time, money, and energy on that. I worked really hard on my website SEO expecting to have almost miracles but the real result was only a couple of "single project" clients (all of them were private persons with just a couple of pages) who googled me out. The website WILL NOT boost your client number neither "by itself" (just being such) nor will help too much for your "google visibility". For me the main benefit of the website was to provide the basic info about myself (the same "who I am and what I do") instead of explaining everything in detail in emails to each client, sending my CV (which bears sensitive personal information) - people just read the info of the website, some of them asked some additional questions or requested some additional info and that was it.

Btw, if you need, I can recommend you a very good website designer - professional, fast, and not expensive.


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Vikas Chaturvedi
Local time: 16:40
Urdu to English
+ ...
SEO Jan 6, 2011

apart from membership from Proz and other related portal, do consider take help any of SEO experts who will help you promote your website.

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Krzysztof Kajetanowicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:10
English to Polish
+ ...
free images Jan 6, 2011

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

...even if they are part of a free template. A group of translators (myself included) recently had to redesign our sites because the owner of the images/photos (a large stock photo company) is threatening to sue for back royalties. They use an image search program to find their images on other websites and if you do not have license, they send you a bill.



I use /site URL/. Every picture is submitted by its copyright owner (presumably) and has a license agreement attached. The standard set of rules allows you to use the pictures in your website. You're just not allowed to use them in mass print or in anything you charge people for.

[Edited at 2011-01-06 20:21 GMT]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:10
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Be careful - This is the company that is threatening lawsuits Jan 6, 2011

If you will notice on the home page, Getty Images recently purchased this company (do a google search for getty images and extortion and you will find lots of information). This is the company that is sending out copyright infringement letters and demanding thousands of dollars from business owners. People have alleged that they purchase sites like the one you mentioned, wait a few months and then sue website owners for back royalties from the time they purchased the image until the date they notified you.

If you have any images from http://www.sxc.hu/ on your site, I suggest you remove them immediately before you get a demand letter.

Here is a website that explains everything: http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/read.php?2,287 / http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/list.php?2




Krzysztof Kajetanowicz wrote:

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

...even if they are part of a free template. A group of translators (myself included) recently had to redesign our sites because the owner of the images/photos (a large stock photo company) is threatening to sue for back royalties. They use an image search program to find their images on other websites and if you do not have license, they send you a bill.



I use http://www.sxc.hu/. Every picture is submitted by its copyright owner (presumably) and has a license agreement attached. The standard set of rules allows you to use the pictures in your website. You're just not allowed to use them in mass print or in anything you charge people for.

[Edited at 2011-01-06 17:42 GMT]


[Edited at 2011-01-06 20:01 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-01-06 21:18 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-01-06 21:18 GMT]


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