If you are starting your career as a freelance translator you need to be found by your potential clients. You can start going door to door to ask if someone needs translation services (but we don’t really think that works…) or you can promote your services online. In other words, you need to create your translation website.
You can download this guide in PDF:
Or keep reading while we guide you step by step towards your success.
If you want to create a website, you have several options:
1. You can ask a marketing agency to design a professional-looking website. However, be prepared to give them what you earn in two-three months of work. It’s an investment, I hear you say. Bear in mind however that you will have no control over it if you want to change it in the future, so the investment needs constant re-investment.
2. You can program it manually. You’ll need few months to learn the basics of HTML and a couple of other programming languages (if not years) before getting something done.
3. You can go with a free one, like a blogger.com or a wordpress.com blog. But if you want a professional website you will leave this option soon. Can you imagine putting a blogspot.com address on your business card?
Here we are, with no clue of how to promote our services proactively. We can go back to write CVs and “spam” agencies, that are already receiving hundreds of CVs a day. This method gives few results and doesn’t suit our new job title: “Freelance”. Freelance means “solopreneur”, an entrepreneur working for himself. Sending CVs is not his strategy.
If you want to go down the CV path, queue with the others. If you want to stand out from the crowd, start building your website and getting direct clients.
If you are ready to start, welcome on board.
When you start working as a freelancer you have two choices: you can view yourself as an employee looking for work or you can think of yourself as a business owner looking for clients.
If you decide to be an “entrepreneurial linguist” and promote yourself as the business that you really are, you have to start promoting your services. Some years ago the only way to promote a new business was through expensive advertisement. Nowadays, the Internet has changed everything. The Internet allows you to engage in very cost-effective marketing through social media, websites and SEO, as well as paid campaigns with advertisement platforms such as Google AdWords.
The first step in your freelance career is creating a website. Your website is your business card, your presentation and your best marketing tool.
Your website has to be catchy, professional and appealing. It has to showcase your skills without boring your prospects with information they can’t understand.
Experts told you that a professional website costs hundreds of pounds (or dollars or euros). That’s not true. However, it is true if you don’t know how to do it and you have to turn to a digital agency for help. But if you have a couple of hours and you’re keen to learn, you can have it up and running today.
The first thing you need to know is that you will be responsible for your website. It means that you have to be keen to take responsibility for it, even if you are not a programmer.
Secondly, you must be aware that there are many services out there that can be used to set up a free website. For example, there is Yola, Weebly, Wix, Blogger and Tumbler, just to name a few. The first time I built a website I used Yola.
But the method I will teach you today involves a self-hosted website and WordPress CMS (Content Management System), which is a totally different method.
1 – What is a self-hosted website? It is a website hosted on a private server, in contrast with the free websites that are hosted on the server of that company (the Yola site for example is hosted on Yola’s servers).
2 – Ok, but what is a server? A server is a big computer in a room of a building that you will probably never see that stores your data. If you build a website, you will generate a lot of data. Where does this data go? It goes on the space you are paying for on the server. Every time someone wants to see your website, their computer makes a request to that server to show it to them.
3 – So what will I do with this server? You will “rent” a space on it, on which you will put all of your data; e.g. your website.
4 – Why should I prefer a paid service if I can have a free website with other services? Because having your website hosted on a server you personally rent gives you more control over your data, you can customize your website much more and if one day you want to pass it to another server or give it to someone to manage it for you, it will be much easier to do so. It is the same difference that exists between buying a holiday organized by a travel agency and organizing your trip yourself. In the second case, you are fully in control. That said, I myself used a free service for a year before switching to a more professional website.
5 – How do I choose the name for my website? Normally the hosting provider also sells you a domain name. Actually, you could buy the domain name from a company and the hosting service from another, but let’s keep this simple. You can buy the domain and then host that domain on a server. Once you bought a hosting service, namely a portion of space on a server, you can host many domains on it.
6 – So who is going to design my website? This is the fun part. You don’t really need a designer, you only need to buy a “theme”. A theme is like the dress of your website. In fact, if you manage your website with WordPress you can change the dress without changing the content. Isn’t it pretty cool?
Ok, so I need to buy a space on the server, a domain name, a theme….seems pretty expensive! How much is this going to cost me? Well, let’s do some math. Let’s say you want a website for 2 years, right?
So you can have a website up and running for 1 year time span for $123.40 which is £73 or €89.3. Not bad, right? Plus, remember that as you are completely in control of your website, you can modify it from your room without having to give extra money to the agency who made it every time you want to change something. So, ready to start?
There are many hosting providers out there. You might want to go with GoDaddy, Dreamhost, Hostgator, Eukhost, etc. What I am showing you today is the procedure that you will need to follow in order to get a hosting pack with Bluehost. There are two main reasons why I suggest Bluehost: they allow you to install WordPress in a matter of seconds and they have customer support via a chat service which is active 24/7. The customer support they offer is the main reason why I stick with them. Not many companies offer this kind of customer support, and it is really good to know that if there are any problems you can talk to someone who will fix it for free in just a few minutes.
First of all, head to bluehost.com by clicking here:
and then click the button “get started now”.
Then, you have to choose a domain name and verify if it is free. Most of the easy domain names are taken already, so you will have to experiment a little bit.
Once you find an available domain name, you will be redirected to a form that you need to fill in.
Here you also have to decide on your account plan. Note that the longer the plan, the lower the fee. If you choose the 3-year plan, you end up paying $4.95 a month. Fill in and submit the form, then create a password and login.
When you log in you will be redirected to your account homepage. There, you want to click on cPanel, as showed below.
From the cPanel you want to click the WordPress button.
Then you will be prompted to another page, where you will have to click on “Start a brand new install”.
It will take a few seconds to install WordPress. You might see this error message:
In this case simply check the box and continue.
When the installation is complete you’ll receive this message. It will then give you a username and password that you have to note down since these are the ones you’ll use to log into your WordPress admin panel.
Then you can access your WordPress admin panel. To do so, you must type:
Insert the username and password that you previously noted down and this will take you to the WordPress dashboard that will look like this:
From here you will be able to create the content of your website and customize it.
But first things first, you must upload a theme. As we said before, you can think of the theme as the “dress” of your website. WordPress comes with a default theme, but since we said we want a professional site we don’t want something that everyone else has. So we will change it. We can head to a theme market place, ThemeForest.com, and from there we can choose a theme.
There are hundreds of themes and new ones are uploaded every day. If you need more inspiration you can read our review of the best themes for translators. I made a selection of the ones I find more suitable, but if you go directly on ThemeForest.com you will find even more interesting layouts.
Once you’ve chosen a theme, you need to purchase it, download it as a zip file and then re-upload to WordPress.
Click on Appearance > Theme
Once you’ve uploaded the theme, you want to go to the left menu and start exploring all the functions that WordPress offers. The main functions are shown here:
It will take a little while to discover all the features and options of WordPress. But the effort is well worth it. You now have a website that is a powerful marketing tool and that you can use to present your services and reach potential clients.
To find out more about Bluehost and WordPress you can head to this YouTube playlist made by Bluehost itself.
Once you are logged in you will have access to a full range of resources such as videos and tutorials.
Remember that with Bluehost you have access to customer support via a chat service 24/7 that will help you with all sorts of technical problems. This is the single most important reason why I stick with them, and this may be the reason why you may love Bluehost. To get started, click the button below:
If this guide has been useful for you and you think it might be useful for some of your friends, share it with them.
Do you need any help customising your website?
Thank you for reading, we wish you an amazing career as entrepreneurial linguists!