I rewrote my website’s home page

No little tweaks for me. I deleted my website copy and pulled out a fresh piece of paper.

What’s the point of this website?

In Don’t Make Me Think, Steve Krug stresses how important it is to quickly communicate what you do:

“Right off the bat, the home page has to tell me what site this is and what it’s for.”

So this time, instead of saying that I love languages, I love translating, and I promise to do a good job, I forced myself to say just one thing.

My one single message:

Catherine Jan translates websites from French into English

To avoid diluting my message, I deleted any references to

  • print translations
  • quick turnaround times
  • proofreading services

Gone.

Some freelance translators advertise that they specialize in ten fields, work four language pairs, and translate, interpret, write copy, sub-title, transcribe, teach, coach, edit, proof, do voice-overs, and bake cookies.

While I do five of the above, I focus on the “translate” part. As Krug says on page 45, “Getting rid of all those words that no one is going to read makes the useful content more prominent.”

Who is it written for?

In Sonia Simone’s 10-lesson copywriting newsletter (sign up at Remarkable Communication), she sets her e-course in motion by saying,

“Write to one person.”

Decide who your perfect customer is and do not get distracted. Do not worry about leaving people out.

So I promptly addressed my home page to My Ideal Client.

My Ideal Client is a small, ambitious, Paris-based company which values a strong online presence. Good web content is crucial to my customer’s success. My Ideal Client spent hours crafting the French-language copy for the company website and is now ready to give the source document and a detailed brief to a competent translator.

Plain language only

I used Plain English. Out went industry jargon such as:

  • source language
  • target language
  • transcreation
  • language variant
  • CAT tools

The above words appeal to translation agencies. My Ideal Client is a direct client who has no idea of what a “fuzzy match” is.

My one regret…

What do I wish I could add to my home page? SEO magic.

While I do know a little about what search engines fancy, I certainly don’t know enough to make SEO a selling point.

On the bright side…

My slogan emerged! Every word matters. Chaque mot compte.”

Did I cut too much?

In the end, my home page consists of fewer than 100 words. (Apparently, UK copywriters have an average of 298 words on their home pages.)

Feedback is welcome. How’s your home page doing?

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9 responses to “I rewrote my website’s home page

  1. Excellent job! I quite like the new text. I guess it’s time for me to rewrite mine. :-)

  2. Hi Catherine,
    Your new homepage is very nice as well as easy to navigate and understand what it is about.

  3. I love your new website and tweets!! Congrats!! Maria Pia/WordLo

  4. Catherine,

    Love the simplicity, which makes it easy to navigate! I’m working on re-designing my own, so your post is very timely and good brainstorming. Personally, I know there are many potential clients out there who are still a little bit more conservative and would like to have more information or, at least, to be more in-depth. You took a risk and I admire you for that!

  5. @Isabelle @Catherine @Maria @Silvina,
    Thanks for reading my blog and taking a look at my website. Happy translating!

  6. Nice blog! I am happy I found it :)
    Useful article as well. I’ve been planning to change my website and to give it a fresher and simpler look, but can never find time for that…

  7. I like the simplicity of this home page. The way you present yourself is really impressive. Good work.

  8. Pingback: Translating a website? 6 ways to make it more readable | Catherine Translates

  9. First, congratulations on a great blog. I came across it recently and will be following it regularly from now on.

    As for your website, good on you for daring to strip it to its bare essentials. Before I made mine I consulted an online marketing and SEO specialist, and much of what he advised is echoed in your post. I think he would approve of your minimalist approach (and urge me to be a bit braver than I have been so far)!

    I’m not sure how my own home page is doing, it’s only been up for a week :)

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