Website driven business
Thread poster: MK2010

MK2010  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:38
French to English
+ ...
Apr 2, 2017

Hello, fellow translators. I know many of you have websites, and since I'm thinking of getting one myself, my question is: how much of your business comes from your website, versus a pro membership here, word of mouth, applying / quoting for jobs, etc.

Most of my work comes from a very, very small handful of direct clients. And though they keep me happy, I know that financially speaking, that can be precarious. Eggs, basket, etc. So I need to diversify, WHILE keeping my main clients happy, and I was wondering what to expect. Especially from those of you who not only have a website, but who have hired someone to actively draw attention to it.

Cheers,

Mk


 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:38
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
I recently cancelled my website Apr 2, 2017

as it was bringing me nothing. Most of my new work comes through ProZ, the rest mostly through a similar local system. As these systems ask you the right questions, your profile there is likely to provide more relevant information to your prospects that what you would think of writing on your own website. And prospects are more likely to find you there - keeping your own website on the first page of search engines is costly, especially if your language pair(s) is/are common.

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:38
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Hardly any Apr 2, 2017

MK2010 wrote:
How much of your business comes from your website, versus a pro membership here, word of mouth, applying / quoting for jobs, etc.


Practically nothing. But that shouldn't stop you from having a web site. Even a free web site can be useful. Naysayers will say that using a free web site for a professional translator creates a bad impression, but that is false logic. Put all your relevant details on it. You never know when a client might visit it.


 

MK2010  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:38
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting Apr 2, 2017

I guess I wasn't expecting the answer to be "nothing" though! Good to know, thanks to both of you. Maybe others will have success stories to share with the group...

 

Eric Stone
Taiwan
Local time: 10:38
Chinese to English
Unfortunately I think that's pretty common Apr 3, 2017

MK2010 wrote:

I guess I wasn't expecting the answer to be "nothing" though! Good to know, thanks to both of you. Maybe others will have success stories to share with the group...


I used Adwords for my site, polished it, re-polished it, used google analytics to monitor the behavior flow of visitors and re-polished it several more times after that, switched to Bing ads, etc. Over the past couple of months I've gotten up to 1000+ visits to my site in which the user viewed multiple pages for long enough to at least skim the content.

Final number of people who have contacted me through my website that weren't spam bots: 0

Luckily I only wasted about $80 for those 1000+ views, as I took things very slow and worked hard to get find the smartest way to get the cheapest clicks.

Also, who knows, maybe some of those people bookmarked my site and are just waiting to contact me with their projects! Okay, probably not. But still, people can google your name and find your website in top shape, I imagine it helps your credibility.


 

MK2010  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:38
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Wow Apr 3, 2017

So, so far: having a website = zero business. Just a fancy business card. I guess I'm a little surprised. There are people here on ProZ who have really gorgeous and impressive websites.

 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 04:38
German to Serbian
+ ...
Marketing... Apr 3, 2017

Having a website is one thing, while marketing that website is something else and it's actually marketing that will drive your business. It's not only google positioning, but also broader marketing, such as social networks, affiliate marketing, etc.

My experience:

I once had my own website hosted by GoDaddy. Not only did it not drive any business for me, but technically speaking, the site was really, really bad. I can't remember exactly, but I think I paid for building and 1 year hosting something like $400-500. Their hosted email was so bad and full of glitches, that I would often lose important emails, they would just be eaten up and vanish, so I ended up using my gmail like I did until then (gmail turned out to be much more reliable than their hosted email). Not sure what exactly happened (I know the site lacked marketing), however I tried to explain to myself why it was so technically bad - and I assume my website building might have been outsourced to India, built for $50, then sold to me at $400. Can't know for sure, but it may be a logical explanation.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:38
Member (2008)
French to English
Same here Apr 3, 2017

I tried Adwords with the same results: 0

However, I do notice that when a new client appears out of the blue, I can often see their tracks, via IP address logs, on both my Proz.com profile and my website. So I would say that having a website is a factor in getting new clients, but more as a brochure or business card, not as a direct source.


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:38
Member
English to French
Nothing Apr 3, 2017

When you look for a flat to rent somewhere, you rarely get directly to the B&B lady who lets a couple of rooms in her cottage. Instead, you're shown all the stock-traded platforms that host countless offers to choose from.

By the same token, larger LSPs and translation-related businesses likely direct the bulk of qualifying Internet searches to their own websites, because they have the buying power to do so, and a lot of content to index.

So I'm not surprised that all leads I get from my website originate in fact from proz.com.

If you target translation agencies, I suppose it would be more fruitful to invest in your proz.com rankings and presence than in a website.
And unless you target a very specific niche and/or local businesses, I don't think any end customer will find your website. I'm afraid getting end-customers still involves legwork (business conferences, exhibitions, professional events...) and leveraging your (real) network of acquaintances. Or, as LinguaB says, flooding social media and other places to promote your website/business, together with SEO work and blogging a continuing stream of original content.

Now I have this friend freelance interior designer based in France, and he hires an expert to maintain his website. He gets most of his business (corporate and private) from inquiries on his website, but he targets a small region around his place. Obviously, potential customers look for proximity and he does as well, because periodic site visits are of the essence. Unlike us.

So for a website to drive business, a minimum requirement may be to have a pro that handles your website on a continuous basis for a fee.

Philippe


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
I like the analogy with a business card. Apr 3, 2017

Each year, I get a handful of approaches through my website, and give out a handful of business cards. But I wouldn't be without either.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:38
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nearly nothing Apr 3, 2017

The website is a must for some customers because they expect a living business to have a website, but other than that, business coming via the website is nearly zippo. I reckon that 99% (if not all) of my new contacts come via translator portals like this one, association memberships, and word-of-mouth.

 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:38
German to English
With Phil Apr 3, 2017

philgoddard wrote:

Each year, I get a handful of approaches through my website, and give out a handful of business cards. But I wouldn't be without either.


I've had a website for a number of years, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of serious jobs I've gotten through it. However, most of the inquiries I've gotten have been amusing, like the people with "amazing" memoirs about growing up in (fill in the blank: the DDR, Soviet Union, Nazi Germany) that they want translated into English, or unpublished fantasy novels that would be "perfect for the American market."

Like Phil I consider it a variation on a business card, an indication that I'm serious about my work. It contains much more information than my résumé. As an advertising cost, it is tax-deductible.


 

MK2010  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:38
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
So I guess I have my answer Apr 4, 2017

A nice professional touch, but hardly a necessity. In fact, a business expense that brings in no business. I'm more likely to get results aggressively pursuing end clients (which I already do) and agencies (ditto) than waiting for them to come to me. Good to know, thank you all!

(what to do with that domain name she bought for 3 years, she wondered...)


 


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