During the month of April 2020, I met with 15 freelance translators from around the world to give them a little feedback on their website copy.
The idea first came from Sophie Carefull, who offered free website reviews with a focus on branding and aesthetics. An offer which I grabbed with both hands.
The session I had with her helped me put the finishing touches to my website right at the beginning of all this lockdown madness.
Things went very quiet for me in the first few weeks of lockdown. I do a lot of work in the tourism sector, so you can imagine what happened to all those clients.
So this seemed like the perfect way to spend some of my new-found time: helping other freelancers polish their web copy and getting to know the faces behind a lot of familiar social media handles into the bargain.
One of the lovely translators I spoke to was Molly Yurick (her website is great – have a peek). She said she’d be interested to hear about the things I’ve learned and patterns I’ve noticed through doing these reviews.
So, here you go. Six things I noticed about translators’ websites that might be the case with your site too.
1. A lot of people are nervous about showing their faces
Quite a few of the translators I spoke to were hiding behind their business names. Some were even marketing themselves under their own names, but were hiding their face somewhere at the bottom of their about page. Some of them didn’t have a photo of them on their site at all.
Stock photos of landscapes or desks have their place, but if you’re selling your services as a freelance translator, then you’re selling yourself. People want to see the person behind the business, so make sure you’ve got some good quality pictures of you that fit well with your branding.
2. Showing some personality can be tough, but is so important
On quite a few of the sites I saw, efforts to sound professional meant that the copy ended up feeling impersonal and a bit generic.
There are a lot of freelance translators out there, so you need to make sure you’re memorable. Don’t be shy about injecting a bit of your personality into your copy, and doing things the way you want to, rather than following the ‘rules’.
3. One-page sites are very popular – despite being worse for SEO
Lots of the translators I spoke to had one-page, scroll-able websites. And it’s no wonder. This very site started life as a one-page site. They’re easy to DIY, can look great, and you might feel like you don’t have enough to say for a multi-page site.
But from an SEO point of view, multi-page sites do far better. They give you a chance to go into more detail about what you have to offer, and sneak more relevant keywords in so that people can find you.
As the goddess of SEO herself Kate Toon puts it, the more pages you have on your site, the more tickets you have in the SEO lottery.
4. Everyone knows they need to blog – few actually do
I’m the first person to admit that starting and maintaining a good quality blog is hard work. It takes time, energy and commitment and can be hard to fit in with a busy week of client work.
But it’s great for SEO, for building your reputation, and for a million other reasons that a million people have written blogs about. And being disciplined with it will pay off in the long run.
I was really struggling to get off the starting blocks with my blog until I started #Write52. It might be a great option for you too.
5. A lot of sites are full of dead ends
One thing I noticed quite a lot (that seems extremely obvious when you think about it) is dead end pages on sites. Pages that don’t lead anywhere.
A visitor scrolls to the bottom, but they aren’t directed anywhere else, so they might just lose interest in your site altogether.
Think about where else it’s logical to point to when they get to the end of each page.
Is the end goal of your site for to get them to get in touch? Make sure you lead them to your contact page.
6. Consistency should be a priority
The last thing I spied a few times is people being inconsistent with their copy. Perhaps their about page had a very relaxed, chatty tone to it, but then the services pages were super formal.
Try and make sure you stick to the same tone of voice throughout your site, just as you’d always stick to the same fonts and colour scheme.
I shared some copywriting tips for translators in a previous blog. If you’re struggling with your website copy (we all do!), then they might give you a nudge in the right direction.
And if you get stuck, have any questions or would like an impartial opinion on what you’ve come up with, then get in touch. I always love to connect with a fellow translator.!