When is it worth it to have your own website?
Thread poster: Elisa Fernández Vic

Elisa Fernández Vic  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:44
Member (2015)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 21, 2015

Hello everybody,
First off, I would like to say hello to everybody and apologize for opening yet another thread with newbie doubts
A little background: I am a Journalism graduate who has worked in marketing, advertising and social media for several years. During those years, translating and adapting texts from English to Spanish and vice versa was part of my daily tasks, by virtue of being 'the one with the best English at the agency'. I started to get really interested in translation, so I took a course in Professional Translation from a very reputable school, and last December I took the plunge and started seriously looking for work as a freelance translator. This is now my full-time occupation.
Since I have a good background in those areas, I am marketing myself as a translator specialized in marketing, advertising and social media. So far I have had a couple projects coming from contacts, but of course I would like to see more regular jobs coming in. Apart from browsing job offers here and in other similar sites, I have been directing my efforts at translation agencies, specially those local and/or specializing in my areas of expertise. I have gotten a whole lot of no responses, several translation tests (some of which are taking quite long to be evaluated, to be honest), one 'sure, we will add you to our database' and one 'we really liked your test, we will be sending you the first project we got in your area!'. Which is great, but may arrive tomorrow, in two weeks or in five years
(Edited: I almost forgot I was also accepted at One Hour Translation. But I am receiving almost no translation projects, and the ones I do receive are less than 50 words long and arrive at odd hours, making it impossible for me to accept them as quickly as needed.)
At this point I am starting to get itchy feet and I am wondering if there is anything I should be doing differently. In particular, I wonder if it would be worth it to make my own website and start marketing myself to direct clients, that is, marketing, advertising and social media agencies with an international presence. But it is a big investment in time (and perhaps money!) and I don't know if it is a good idea at this point or if I should keep contacting agencies and working for them until I have more experience as a freelancer.
Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much in advance!


[Edited at 2015-01-21 19:02 GMT]


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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
I love my website Jan 21, 2015

I'm going in the opposite direction. I started in translation and now find that I really enjoy marketing, SEO and SMM.

I use my site as an online portfolio and business card, and its blog for direct marketing (simple stuff: write something useful and share it in places where potential clients will see it). It has been well worth the investment and I have been very pleased with it. Your website can be very valuable if you're willing to put the time and effort into making it so. It's just like a profile here on Proz - you can make it and forget about it, waiting for someone to contact you, or you can use it and market it (which you could probably do in your sleep).

There are a few ways to get a website started, and it can be fairly inexpensively. I have a series of videos on YouTube that explains how to build a website for free. Or if you're looking to have one professionally made, I have a few resources for that as well.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:44
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Must be worth it, surely Jan 22, 2015

The only reason I haven't got one is that I'm a pre-Internet old biddy who paid for one for 10 years but never got her head round making one work.

It's no doubt unrealistic to expect it to appear in Google searches: you'd either have no time left to translate or no money left. But it's much more personal AND professional than just a profile at ProZ.com, LinkedIn etc. Put the link out everywhere and you're sure to get more interest.

I don't think it has to be at all complicated - not one of those dynamic, interactive ones some companies have. In fact, IMO, it should be the words that make the impact. Just a few pages in each of your languages, with encouragement to use the contact screen, should suffice.

P.S. ProZ.com paying members can get a ProZ-connected website hosted for free. I paid a very small sum for a totally independent domain name to be hosted here, but, as I said above, it never saw the light of day.


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It is worth it if you want to focus on direct clients Jan 22, 2015

It is worth it if you want to reach out to direct clients. To work with "agencies", a decent ProZ profile, in conjunction with certain "marketing effort" (contacting potential customers) should suffice. It comes at no surprise that most of the full time professional translators here (on ProZ) have no "their own website".

If I were you, I would first "boost" my ProZ profile. You can add sample translations, glossaries in your subject matter field, state your USP tiny bit clearer and most importantly, participate in KudoZ-related activity. It will give you better visibility/credibility and more work may come through it.

On the other hand, it is not at all "unusual" that you receive no jobs immediately after having registered on agencies' websites. You will be surprised, but work may arrive after one month, one year or even several years later. Therefore, do sign up (mind your language pair / specialisation, though, not all agencies will offer it).

In other words, persevere! As we say in Spain, "es una carrera de fondo". But you probably already know it.




[Edited at 2015-01-22 11:04 GMT]


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Elisa Fernández Vic  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:44
Member (2015)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
ProZ hosting? Jan 22, 2015

Thank you all for your replies
Boosting my ProZ profile seems like a good idea indeed. I will also check the possibility of hosting my website here at ProZ - I was not aware of that possibility. What are your experiences with this?


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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:44
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Absolutely! Jan 22, 2015

When I opened my website, I tripled my income.

Your site is your business card, not only for end clients, but also for agencies. You show that you are taking your profession seriously.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:44
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
It's always worth having your own web site Jan 22, 2015

Elisafvic wrote:
In particular, I wonder if it would be worth it to make my own website and start marketing myself to direct clients, that is, marketing, advertising and social media agencies with an international presence.


A web site is always a good idea, because it helps you put all the necessary information about yourself in a place where clients (and you yourself) can find it easily. The web site also improves your credibility. I agree with Robert -- the web site is essentially an online business card. I also agree that you should not put your hopes on being listed in Google search results. Unlike Robert, my web site did not have an effect on my income.


[Edited at 2015-01-22 11:03 GMT]


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:44
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Definitely worth it, and Proz.com hosting Jan 22, 2015

I think having your own website is a positive thing. I always look at the websites of people/companies whose services/products I am considering using, don't you? It's your online business card. And with the right website build and SEO, you *will* turn up in searches.

I have been using Proz.com hosting for many years and have been very pleased with it overall. I bought my own domain name after a while, which doesn't cost much and I think means I may be taken more seriously by potential clients. I also got a good web designer in to create a professional-looking site. It was well worth the investment, but I know a lot of translators who do very well with simple sites they have built themselves.

So, in short, YES get a website!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:44
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
ProZ.com hosting Jan 22, 2015

Elisafvic wrote:
I will also check the possibility of hosting my website here at ProZ - I was not aware of that possibility.


http://www.proz.com/faq/hosting.html

Note that only the hosting is "free", for plat^h^h^h^hpaying ProZ.com members. You still have to pay for the domain name. Your web site also goes off the air if you don't renew your ProZ.com membership. I don't quite understand why so many people prefer to host with ProZ.com than with an independent host, which will surely cost no more than USD 25.00 per year.


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Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:44
Member (2013)
Chinese to English
Try Wix Jan 22, 2015

If you do decide to make a website take a look at wix.com . I started with Yahoo business for about 120 dollars a year including domain, but their website templates aren't very up to date (I don't know much about website design, and have no idea what the proper term is to describe why our website looked 'old', but graphically our former site looked like it was made in 2005, not 2012).

We just switched our domain to Wix this month, and I'm quite pleased with their templates and the overall result (preslintranslation.com).* Our website is very simple content-wise, and we can definitely improvement it quite a bit more, but I feel it's worth the money, which was again somewhere between 100-200 dollars for a year. Being able to include a website in your email signature, on business cards, etc. certainly gives a more professional image to your business.

*I'm quite pleased with the results if the graphics load quickly and properly. The internet is slow here in China for many reasons, and every time I load the website the pics take about 10 seconds to load. I think this is a China thing and not related to Wix--if anyone located outside China notices that the graphics are blank when you first load the website can you PM me? Thanks in advance!



[Edited at 2015-01-22 12:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-01-22 13:50 GMT]


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mughwI
United States
Local time: 19:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
Hosting options Jan 22, 2015

For people who are considering hosting options:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2424725,00.asp


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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
Image optimization Jan 22, 2015

Preston Decker wrote:

*I'm quite pleased with the results if the graphics load quickly and properly. The internet is slow here in China for many reasons, and every time I load the website the pics take about 10 seconds to load. I think this is a China thing and not related to Wix--if anyone located outside China notices that the graphics are blank when you first load the website can you PM me? Thanks in advance!


Usually the first step in making a site load faster is optimizing the images. Basically, whenever you open a website, your browser has to download all the images in order to see them. Just like anything that you download, the larger they are, the longer it takes. The easiest solution is to go back to your original images and shrink them to the appropriate sizes. Another thing that helps is to change the format of the image. Typically .gif and .png work well for things like logos, buttons and so on, where .jpegs are better for images (like people, offices, and so on).

There are other things that you can do as well, but they're a little more complicated and involve messing with the image resolutions through something like Photoshop, or rewriting the code so that it's more efficient.


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Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:44
Member (2013)
Chinese to English
Thank you Jan 22, 2015

Triston Goodwin wrote:

Preston Decker wrote:

*I'm quite pleased with the results if the graphics load quickly and properly. The internet is slow here in China for many reasons, and every time I load the website the pics take about 10 seconds to load. I think this is a China thing and not related to Wix--if anyone located outside China notices that the graphics are blank when you first load the website can you PM me? Thanks in advance!


Usually the first step in making a site load faster is optimizing the images. Basically, whenever you open a website, your browser has to download all the images in order to see them. Just like anything that you download, the larger they are, the longer it takes. The easiest solution is to go back to your original images and shrink them to the appropriate sizes. Another thing that helps is to change the format of the image. Typically .gif and .png work well for things like logos, buttons and so on, where .jpegs are better for images (like people, offices, and so on).

There are other things that you can do as well, but they're a little more complicated and involve messing with the image resolutions through something like Photoshop, or rewriting the code so that it's more efficient.


Thanks Triston, I'll give this a try! My sister runs her website through Wix too, and her images load quickly, so I didn't think this was a Wix problem.


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Elisa Fernández Vic  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:44
Member (2015)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ok, ok, I get it... Jan 23, 2015

... I'll go get a website
I think I'll go with Wordpress, since I already have a lot of experience with them. I reckon a simple Home / About me / Services / Contact menu should be enough to get started.
I think I will start with the Spanish version, but keeping in mind it will have to be translated into English in the future.
I have no skill in design, but fortunately Wordpress does offer a lot of pre-made themes. I'll have a look around the forums to see if anyone has already started a topic on that.
Thank you very much for your input!


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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:44
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Try somebody like bluehost.com Jan 23, 2015

Elisafvic wrote:
... I'll go get a website
I think I'll go with Wordpress, since I already have a lot of experience with them. I reckon a simple Home / About me / Services / Contact menu should be enough to get started.

I use bluehost.com for Wordpress and find them inexpensive. Try to use a responsive Wordpress theme as these days potential clients may be viewing the site from a phone or tablet.

Dan


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