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How important is having a website in the translation industry?
Thread poster: vieleFragen
vieleFragen
Local time: 03:47
English
Nov 2, 2007

How important is having a website in this industry?

To those of you that do have a website and receive lots of "traffic": Do you really get any business from such people? Or do most of your clients come from personal recommendations?

Do people really type in something such as "translation English French" and then give you a call and ask for a sample translation or something, because they just saw your website?

thanks!


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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
ProZ.com profile Nov 2, 2007

Hi and welcome to ProZ.com.
When I started out, I prepared a bunch of stuff to set up a website, but I was broke so I waited until I could afford it.
In the meantime, I found ProZ.com, I filled out the profile, started to answer kudoz ... and slowly but surely, work started to trickle in.
I get work by direct contact, by bidding and by networking with colleagues.
Now I have more work than I can handle and I never did get round to the website. I'll do it when I run out of work, I suppose. But it will be a ProZ.com-hosted website, because I think I need to stick around!

Good luck
Angela


vieleFragen wrote:

How important is having a website in this industry?

To those of you that do have a website and receive lots of "traffic": Do you really get any business from such people? Or do most of your clients come from personal recommendations?

Do people really type in something such as "translation English French" and then give you a call and ask for a sample translation or something, because they just saw your website?

thanks!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
It's an online business card Nov 2, 2007

vieleFragen wrote:
How important is having a website in this industry?


It is an online business card that you can refer people to, and an online brochure that contains information people may want to find after they've met you on a previous occasion.

But spammers and SEO'ers have discovered how Google's indexing method works, and my page is no longer in the top 10 for my language pair -- even though the pages that do make it to the top have little to do with human translation.

Still, it pays to do basic SEO. Recommended: http://www.apromotionguide.com/


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 04:47
Turkish to English
+ ...
Not very important Nov 2, 2007

I have a website and it receives about 20 visitors a day. I can't honestly say that it generates a lot of work, although I was at a meeting yesterday with a new direct client who found me through my website. So, no, it probably isn't that important to have a web site, but on the other hand it is not very difficult to get a simple site up and running, so I would say that it was worth it.
BTW I think a lot of people do go to search engines and type in things like "translation English French", but as Samuel says you need to be on the first few pages to benefit from this.


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:47
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
How important is a website Nov 2, 2007

It depends,

If you want to show (act?) you are a big company and can handle multiple languages and have other services as well (interpretation, creating manuals,...?) you are probably going to need a good site.
If you are "simply" a translator and happy doing one language pair, a website is probably not absolutely nessesary. But your Proz profile (or other profiles) need so be as complete as possible.
But a GOOD website (with rates, samples, etc..) is a good business card for potential clients.

Ed


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Ramon Somoza  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:47
Member (2002)
Dutch to Spanish
+ ...
For me, quite important. Nov 2, 2007

Do not expect to get lots of hits if you type "translation English French" in Google or any other search engine - you'll probably be somewhere at page 1000, which is so good as invisible. If so, stay at Proz.

However, if you specialize in some very specific field then in might be a good idea to have a page that search engines can find - for example, if you type "freelance aerospace translator" in Google, my professional page (http://www.freelance-translator.biz) will come always up in the top three, and very often the very first one. More than half my customers have found me this way, and not through a professional site. I get around 120 hits per day, but the majority of them do not materialize in customers. Still, I am almost continuously busy, and I am not cheap.

Apart from that, it is also a good idea to have your own website (with a domain of your own), for the following reasons:

a) Customers have the feeling that you are "established", and not just a newcomer that thinks that translations is just a nice way to make a few bucks. The older the site, the more confidence new customers will have and the more likely they will be tempted to try your services.

b) You can set up your own e-mail with the name of your site. Apart that it looks more "professional", you no longer depend on your ISP for such e-mail (that I learned the hard way) or a free e-mail address, which amongst others might be easily intercepted by a spam filter. If you have your own domain, you do not even need to stick to a specific hosting company, if you do not like it simply move everything, including your e-mail.

c) With an own site you can provide specific capabilities for your customers, such as FTP for big or confidential files, or create on-line dictionaries, etc.

d) In any case, an on-line page is like a visit card on the Internet. There are people who do not invest in visit cards, and others consider them essential. sites like Proz provide you with such capability, but you may wish to be more creative. Up to you.

And note that money is usually NOT a problem. My hosting & domain name cost me approx. 40 euros/year. If you shop around, you might get it even cheaper.

The ONLY thing that does cost more is setting up the pages - and I mean it in the sense that if you hire somebody to make them then he will charge you a lot of money. Mi advice is that you buy some nice Web template (around 30-50$, depending on how elaborate you want it) and modify it yourself. You have to invest some time to make it nice, but it's worth the effort, and it's not very complicated...


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Maxime Bujakov  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:47
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Your website is perhaps more of a reference for your existing clients Nov 4, 2007

Greetings!

My website is focused on providiing contact details to those who are already my customers.

I suppose, my clients may also share my contacts with colleagues by referencing the website. Having a cool top-level domain name may help insure that such references are not misspelled.

NB: A top-level domain can always be redirected to your Proz-based homepage.

Cheers,
Maxime


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 04:47
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
one big advantage Nov 4, 2007

If you have your own website (even if you do not promote it) you can save a lot of time (esp. with new clients) - instead of explaining who you are and what you do (it takes time explaining all those general things in emails etc.), you just suggest "for more info, please take a look at "my www". Also - I have proz profile too, but proz profile and own www combined together give a much better effect (having in mind that only a smaller part of proz-registered free-lancers have their own www).

And to make it is rather simple. And it does not cost that much money. A couple of hundred for a simple www and that is it. I recommend you having it.


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LoyalTrans
Local time: 10:47
English to Chinese
+ ...
How to make a site more "focused" Nov 6, 2007

Ramon Somoza wrote:

However, if you specialize in some very specific field then in might be a good idea to have a page that search engines can find - for example, if you type "freelance aerospace translator" in Google, my professional page (http://www.freelance-translator.biz) will come always up in the top three, and very often the very first one. More than half my customers have found me this way, and not through a professional site. I get around 120 hits per day, but the majority of them do not materialize in customers. Still, I am almost continuously busy, and I am not cheap.

...


I have actually created a mediocre site some time before and sadly find that it did not attract a lot of traffic, but my proz profile ranked pretty high (if you search Chinese financial translator, or even Chinese translator on Google).

So how do you promote your site to make it appear on the top (even with very special key word)? Did you buy any key word from Google?


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Kimberley Sklinar  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:47
French to English
Maybe Nov 8, 2007

I've built a website but it cost me £6 for 2 years on a domain so was very little outlay for me, maybe I was lucky. Am very much starting out so I'll have to see how it goes!

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Mark Daniels  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
Serbian to English
+ ...
How far do you want to go? Nov 16, 2007

I would echo what a couple of other people said: I now have more work than I can handle, both as a freelancer, and through my limited company that I am gradually growing. A website could be disastrous if it started sending me more work than I or my company can currently handle! Indeed, I rarely even bid for ProZ jobs...! All my work has come word-of-mouth or via ProZ.

However, I AM working on a website (ahem, have been for about a year, on and off) and eventually it WILL go live, but primarily (at least in the initial period) more as confidence-builder. Companies wishing to use the services of my agency will be far more inclined to do so if they can go and visit a website of some sort and see what we are about. And I need a web address to put on business cards too!

But until I have built up the capacity of my company sufficiently to handle a good deal extra work, I will not be bringing my website online. Also, I will only start to do some serious "SEO" (search engine optimisation, read: promotion of the site, through AdWords and other online ad services) once I am absolutely sure we can cope.

I would personally rather gradually build a good reputation with a small number of loyal customers and the tactic is working for now...


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Ramon Somoza  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:47
Member (2002)
Dutch to Spanish
+ ...
Promoting your site Jan 10, 2008

LoyalTrans wrote:
I have actually created a mediocre site some time before and sadly find that it did not attract a lot of traffic, but my proz profile ranked pretty high (if you search Chinese financial translator, or even Chinese translator on Google).

So how do you promote your site to make it appear on the top (even with very special key word)? Did you buy any key word from Google?


Sorry for the delay in responding.

I have *NEVER* bought keywords from Google, nor used any kind of paid publicity - in any case, you will note that sponsored links do not appear in the same list.

The "trick" is that you have to be consistent, look for not very used word combinations that will allow you to score high, and then design the web site so that a) it has the correct keywords (use metatags), b) the text reinforces what you are offering and is consistent with the title and the keyword tags, c) don't overdo it (if Google thinks you try to trick them, you'll score lower) and of course send it to all search engines that you can find.

Also analyze what keywords drove traffic to your site, and use it to your advantage. It takes time, but if you are persistent you gradually rank higher. If you want, send me a private message with your site URL & I'll have a look and give you some hints.

But do not underestimate Proz. Let's have a look about the two key terms that drive most traffic to my site ( http://www.freelance-translator.biz ) & the scores for Proz & my site in Google a few minutes ago:

"freelance aerospace translator":
Google:
My website scores 1
My Proz page scores 7

"aerospace translator":
Google:
My website scores 9
My Proz page scores 2

(I do not know why, but my site scores also very well in Yahoo (1 & 2 respectively), but my Proz page does not appear there in the first three pages... )

So Proz is a very interesting to get a second (or perhaps first) hit in the search engines if your Proz page is also well prepared, thus doubling your chances of getting work...


Mark Daniels wrote:
But until I have built up the capacity of my company sufficiently to handle a good deal extra work, I will not be bringing my website online. Also, I will only start to do some serious "SEO" (search engine optimisation, read: promotion of the site, through AdWords and other online ad services) once I am absolutely sure we can cope.

I would personally rather gradually build a good reputation with a small number of loyal customers and the tactic is working for now...


Mark, my advice would be that you *DO* put your site on line and start submitting it to search engines. Submission and recognition by search engines might take up to 6 months, and search engines somehow "value" more those sites that have been around for some time. The longer your site is online, the better it will score (for free!). And do *not* expect to get a lot of work the moment you put your site online, if it does not score well (and it might take many months before it even gets to the first 30 pages) it is as good as invisible.


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Dr. Julian Keogh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:47
Member (2007)
German to English
Adwords experience Jan 23, 2008

I am a Ph.D. scientist experienced as a biomedical translator from German into English

I wanted to share some of my experiences over the years of using Adwords to market my website and translation services.

Since about September 2006 I have experienced a major dropoff in revenue from my translation business. While it ran well several years ago when I started using Adwords my recent experience is that the ROI is really dropping off.

I tried to make improvements to my website, and also set up an intricate conversion tracking system of my own which has also allowed me to track click fraud amongst other things. Website optimization, and indeed Adwords optimization is becoming a full-time job !

Back in 2002 not many translators used Adwords, meaning that a good number of clicks usually ended up in a request from a customer, I estimate about one lead for every 50 hits at that time. I usually got a fair number of people looking for work, but usually in exotic language combinations and not directly related to medicine. In those days bids were low, and I didnt worry so much about optimization since my ROI was good anyway.

These days, after much optimization I am faced with a disturbing scenario. In the month of January I received about 500 clicks on my website, costing me on average 0.40 cents a click, and I have not received a single phone call or email from a prospective customer. I have also received some emails from translators looking for work, but after having spent 200 dollars the sad fact is that I have zero ROI from it.

In examining my Adwords/Website performance I have concluded;

a) I am paying way too much for minimum bids for relevant keywords (google asks me for 10 dollars to bid on "pharmazeutische Fachübersetzungen" for example, and even with keywords that produced a 33% CTR they jacked up the bids to a dollar).

b)the Content network is a waste of time, most people who click on your ad just look at the title page. With relevant keyword combinations (that can still cost me 50cents!) about 20% of the browsers give my website a good examination.

c)There are plenty of people who click on the ad up to 4 times, thus racking up my costs. Google claims they try to combat click fraud but they obviously don't. It cant be that hard to stop a single clicker from making the advertiser incur more charges for double clicks in the same session.

d) Because there are apparently many more competitors then there were 5 years ago then the number of leads I get has dropped off disproportionally (with a doubling of the number of competitors you can count on the lead rate decreasing four-fold or even more).

e)It has never been possible to really control the amount of traffic you get. Google seems to decide on a whim whether your ads get served or not on the content network, and there is of couse the minimum bid problem. I would like to have done this to try and control the number of inquiries I got so I could manage my capacity status better, but this has never been possible.

The most annoying thing is the Quality Score algorithm they employ. Quality score defines your minimum bid. For some keywords I only have to bid 6 cents (like medizinische Fachübersetzung), but if I change this to medizinische Fachübersetzungen they make me bid 5 dollars.
When I asked google specifically whether the fact that all my website information was contained in a flash animation contributed to my low quality score, I got no answer. I redid the site in HTML, which took a long time, and I saw no change in my quality scores. The algorithm Google uses todetrmine this does so completely inapropriately, since it ignores keywords I use in the META tags. Google provides no transparency on this.

I dont know what other peoples experiences have been. Has there been a general drop off in demand for medical translations which we are all feeling ? What is the pricing scenario, have people had to charge less ?.

Do people tend to shun translators who advertise via Adwords ? How common is it these days to use Trados or Wordfast ? I want to learn Wordfast, but is this a growing requirement here ? Has anyone else got Adwords experiences to share ?


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Milton Guo  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 10:47
English to Chinese
+ ...
Yes, important Jan 25, 2008

Yes, having a website is important for advertising, as people are used to searching for what they want and a website will have better chances of showing in the search result than persoanl ads.

Before I become a freelance translator, I built and ran several websites of my own, which are simple but good enough to attract a large traffic, one of my websites had about 30,000 unique IPs per day in 2003-2005 and delivered good revenue to me through the ads placed on it, but not related to translation:)

When the good time for personal webmasters is gone, I started to be a translator and certainly I built a translation website. And I have had a couple of projects through it, but not many. The reason is simple: the competition is intensified and you need to put a lot of money to push the traffic now while websites got more exposure for free years ago.

Good to have a website but better to advertise it!


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Milton Guo  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 10:47
English to Chinese
+ ...
I am an aerospace translator, too Jan 25, 2008

Ramon Somoza wrote:



So how do you promote your site to make it appear on the top (even with very special key word)? Did you buy any key word from Google?


Hi, Ramon

So pleased to know you are an aerospace translator. I had been working in the civil aviation field as translator and interpreter for 10 years; and I used to go to Canada and Australia to help Chinese pilots do their conversion and recurrent training in the flight simulator of B737, A320, etc.

Maybe we can discuss it sometimes.


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