When you are in the middle of a crisis, you need to be able to find information easily and quickly. If English is not your native language, navigating a website without a translation function could be frustrating or virtually impossible– sending you back to Google in a hurry. Fortunately, creating a quality translation feature is very doable. This post will provide 7 time-saving tips for how to create a English to Spanish translated site in WordPress using the Transposh plugin.
Turning Point Pregnancy Resource Center is a Non-Profit in Jackson, Wyoming that provides free and confidential health services. When you walk in the front door on Broadway, you are met with big smiles and warm welcomes. Of the 250+ Non-Profits in our small mountain town, Turning Point is by far my favorite. When they asked if I could help them with a redesign that included a new Spanish translation feature, I was really excited to get started and wanted to find the best solution for their needs.
The old website actually looked really nice, in my opinion. It had some friendly stock photos on the front page that directed the visitor to various parts of the website based on their needs. Our main focus in the redesign was to improve simplicity and usability, as the website needed to be easy to navigate for any visitors who are undergoing a crisis. The main goals included providing up-to-date and easy-to-find health information as well as providing a simple way for visitors to make an appointment to visit Turning Point, whether they are English or Spanish speaking.
Transposh is a great solution for translating WordPress sites– it is free, maintained regularly, and in my experience, totally bug free. It does, however, take a significant amount of time to set up a large site using Transposh and properly translating all items, so I’m addressing a few different techniques and recommendations in this post. I’m not a Transposh expert, but here is what I learned and some tips and strategies I want to remember when implementing this tool for other sites:
Tip #1: Start with a professional translation rather than Google translator
Transposh gives you to option to translate all pages using Google translator.
Google translation is better than nothing, but it is NOT a good place to start if you are aiming for a professional quality translation on your site.
It saves so much time to start with hiring someone to translate the text rather than having them correct Google’s attempt. When you fix the initial translation, you fix it in predetermined “snippets” or phrases which may not correspond grammatically to the changes you need to make.
Tip #2. Use Transposh shortcodes to enter entire sections of translated text
Use Transposh shortcodes to start and end each language section (in this case, an English section followed by a Spanish section). The shortcodes reveal and hide the content based on which language is selected on the dropdown translation menu in the header.
In this example, “en” refers to English and “es” to Spanish. If you are using other languages you will have to lookup the Transposh abbreviation for that language in the Plugin settings. Start the English section with [tp lang=”en” only=”y”]
And here’s how to close the English section with [/tp] and start the Spanish section with [tp lang=”es” not_in=”en”]:
Tip #3: Update all links to point to translated pages of the same language
If the visitor chose “Spanish” and is clicking a link that takes them to another inner page, they will want to read that page in Spanish as well, but the link will not take them there by default. Fix this problem within your shortcoded text sections by adding “/?lang=es” at the end of the link (es stands for “Espanol”, so if you are linking to a different translation replace “es” with Transposh’s abbreviation for your language of choice).
Tip #4: In some cases, line breaks must be eliminated between shortcodes, or they will appear in the translation
Test out the page after inserting the shortcode sections to make sure that there isn’t anything weird showing up below the translation. If there is, you may need to move the line breaks from within the shortcode bracketed section to below that section.
I’ve resolved this issue on our site so I don’t have a screenshot of the problem, but you will know it when you see it.
Tip #5: Use shortcodes to insert translated images if they contain text
If your images contain text, like in these widget titles, you must create a new image containing Spanish text and then insert it into the widget or page using the shortcode method described above.
Tip #6: Translate the menu and slider items using the “edit translation” as admin feature
You can’t use shortcodes in a menu so you will need to use the edit translation feature when you are signed in as admin by checking the “edit translation” box after selecting the secondary language. Then small colored boxes will appear next to the text areas on your page, including the menu, slider, header, and other theme or plugin specific features. Click the colored box to edit the translation.
Tip #7: Insert your logo or tagline text into the header rather than using the WordPress logo upload in your theme
The Turning Point logo included their tagline, “a pregnancy resource center” underneath. They wanted to leave “Turning Point” in English and translate the tagline. Because the logo was uploaded into the theme in an area that cannot be manipulated via shortcode, I added the tagline to the header and styled it with CSS to make it the same color, font, and size as the tagline in the original logo. Then I edited the translation using the edit translation as admin box described above.
Have any questions or other recommendations for translated sites? Let me know in the comments!
I am a member of several Facebook groups for web designers and developers which have helped me keep on top of news and updates in the world of WordPress. From time to time, folks sign on during a crisis (when a website unexpectedly goes down or a plugin or theme update goes awry).
Several weeks ago, I saw a post that read: “Grrr – Just found someone who’s copied my website word for word!!!!!”
It quickly became apparent that this British web designer was not the only one whose business site had been duplicated word for word. Another designer announced that he had “found 2 people copying (his) site using http://www.copyscape.com.
I clicked the link and to my surprise and dismay, I was soon looking at a website of a Chinese-Canadian web designer who had copy-and-pasted my bio, services page, FAQs, and several blog posts and posted it all as her own.
For example: here’s a screenshot of my bio:
And here is hers. The words highlighted in yellow are identical to my bio. I covered up her picture and words that would identify her:
I spent a lot of time on my website content and perhaps even more working on my site’s SEO, which has seen a slight drop lately (I’ll speak more to duplicate content penalties in a bit).
Before I contacted this individual, I wanted to understate exactly what I could do in light of this plagiarism.
What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?
The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is a U.S. Copyright Law that was ratified in 1998 and has heightened the penalties for internet copyright infringement, such as the duplication of published material on another website without permission. The Act narrows the liability to the party who has actually duplicated the content, rather than the website host. However, in some cases, deliberately linking to material that has been copied in violation of DMCA may also be deemed a violation.
Is My Material Copyrighted?
The short answer: Yes!
According to the US copyright office, which is a division of the Library of Congress (copyright.gov), your work is copyrighted and protected as soon as you create it in a tangible, recorded form. That means that you don’t have to go through a formal process of copyrighting your written material. However, you will have to undertake such a registration if you pursue a lawsuit in response to a copyright violation.
Copyright.gov provides specific instructions pertaining to websites. Website content is considered to be “work transmitted online.” Original authorship protects your “text, artwork, music, audiovisual material (including any sounds), and sound recording,” but does not protect “ideas, procedures, systems, or other methods of operation.”
You can officially register your online work for copyright by filling out a paper or online application through the US Copyright office.
How will duplicate information on another domain affect my website?
There is a lot of misinformation out there about duplicate content penalties.
Since 2011, Google has been penalizing websites for posting duplicate content. This means that if you post a guest blog post anywhere, you should link to it but not repost the content on your own site. In the scenario of another website duplicating your content, you will want them to remove it so that you are not penalized.
How can I respond?
Option 1– You can contact the owner and explain your knowledge of the situation and your ability to pursue legal action due to their violation of US Copyright Law.
Option 2– You can file a DMCA complaint with the hosting provider of the website that has duplicated your website. For example, Hostgator has an online form for complaints here.
Option 3– You can file a complaint with Google to penalize the website that has duplicated your website. Google’s inquiry form is here.
Option 4– You can hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit against the owner of the website which has duplicated your website.
How I handled it
After much careful contemplation and knowledge of what I could do to penalize the woman who copied my website content, I decided to write her an email explaining that I was aware of the duplicated content and asking why she copied it. I had this nagging thought that kept popping into my head– that perhaps she didn’t speak English very well and/or was unaware of basic copyright laws.
I received a REALLY nice, apologetic email the next day from the woman. She explained that English was not her native language and that she had asked her young daughter to help her create the content for her website. She had suggested that her daughter look at my content as inspiration but she copied, pasted, and never updated it.
I decided to ask if she would like my help editing a new bio for her. She took me up on it and I helped by revising the new bio, FAQs, and service copy that she created for her own website. I told her that if I had tried to write similar content in Chinese it wouldn’t have been nearly as good as hers! I hope that the new content will bring her some more business 🙂
I’m so thankful that I started by contacting her directly instead of filing a DCMA complaint with either her host or Google. She was quick to resolve the situation and I think many others would be as well. If they aren’t, then you can proceed to the other measures.
(If you haven’t checked to see if your content is duplicated elsewhere, I would take a moment to check at http://www.copyscape.com).
The moral of the story: Protect your online content– it is copyrighted under DMCA and it’s duplication will negatively affect your SEO. Also, it never hurts to assume the best. You might just make a new Canadian-Chinese friend!
Recently, someone sent me an email and asked me to share tips about how to find clients as a freelance web designer or small web design firm. I’m happy to share my experience and some tips on finding more clients. However, I really think it’s better to think about how clients find us.
Here is how clients found me over the last few months:
1. 55% Personal Referrals / Word of Mouth
2. 27% Google
3. 18% Social Media
When I look at these stats and reflect on the individual encounters I’ve had with prospective clients and their process in finding a designer, it leads me to think about a few principles.
1. When people need a website, they look online and ask others for recommendations.
No, your potential clients are not looking in the phone book to find you. We ought to spend time making our own websites excellent and improving our own SEO so that when our clients decide they are ready to hire a designer or developer, you are one of the first options that they see when they hit the search button on Google. In social media, this means having good timing, networking, and being presentable. On Google, this means using Google Adwords strategically and maximizing your SEO.
2. Instead of “finding clients,” make yourself easy to find and desirable.
I personally have never fought for clients on a freelance site. Frankly, I’m not sure the people who post on these sites are my target audience. Instead, I had spent time plugging into the audience that I would like to serve on social media, working on my own professional image, and guest blogging on other sites (which also builds my SEO). This isn’t time wasted. It is time invested into making myself easy to find and desirable to hire.
3. If you are doing this and still aren’t finding clients ask yourself if your target audience is big enough or if you need to target different businesses.
I am blessed to live in a town where entrepreneurship and small businesses are booming! There are plenty of clients to fill up my schedule and other web developers in town are turning business away. That may not be the case for you.
When I first launched my web design business I had the benefit of making a business plan with my Dad, who is a great salesman and marketing expert, although in a very different scientific field. He helped me think about my audience and compare myself to my competitors. I decided on a product emphasis (professional, affordable, mobile-ready) that was decidedly different than what others were offering. Also, it lines up with my values and principles as a designer.
If you don’t have the amount of work that you desire, maybe it’s time for you to step back and reevaluate how you are presenting your services to your audience. Is your price too high for the market or your skill set? The fact is, there is a lot of business out there for web designers, WordPress developers, and branding experts. Instead of fighting over it, figure out what you do well, who you want to do it for, and then make yourself as presentable as possible.
Questions, comments, or other frustrations? Let me know in the comments.
How often do you search for your target keywords to see how you stack up against your competitors? If you aren’t happy with the search ranking results, performing an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) audit might be your next step. Though you are interested in launching an SEO campaign, it can be a frustrating and time consuming effort, especially if you don’t know where to start. Properly understanding the role that backlinks play in determining your Google search ranking is one crucial element. It is imperative to properly understand how they are assessed and what you can do to build them and get them indexed.
This post includes:
- the importance of backlinks for SEO,
- a step-by-step guide for running a backlink audit, including 4 free online tools
- a free downloadable spreadsheet for monitoring your SEO campaign
Let’s get started.
What are Backlinks and why are they important?
Backlinks are external links on other domains that link to your website. The Anchor Text is the text that the visitor sees when they click on the link.
It is important to have backlinks because the number, quality, and variety of backlinks that you have pointing to you site helps to determine your Google search ranking.
There are two main kinds of backlinks– FOLLOW and NO FOLLOW. Follow backlinks are links to your site that have been intentionally placed in the content of a website. There are a number of ways to acquire No-follow links, such as commenting on someone else’s blog or creating a profile on a forum. There is controversy about how much credit (or “juice” as it is typically referred to by SEOs) you get for accumulating no follow links. As a general rule, no follow links don’t hurt and they absolutely bring traffic to your site. Some people think they do help your ranking. You should try to spend your time building follow links and generate no follow links when you are community building– For example, if you are leaving comments on blogs in your industry (which you should), sign in to the commenting system so that your name is linked to your website. You can experiment with how the no follow links affect your ranking using the monitoring method outlined below.
Google takes into account how many domains link to you (300 backlinks from 1 domain isn’t as nearly good as 10 links from 30 domains), how many times each domain links to you, and the page rank of the domain (links from Forbes are better than links from a spammy, fake site).
How do I audit my backlinks to see how many I have?
There are a number of SEO checking tools that can help you audit and monitor your backlinks. Many provide some information for free (sometimes for a limited number of searches) and then offer a monthly rate for the full package. It is best practice to use a variety of backlink checking tools, since many providers use different web crawlers to find your links and may give you different results. For this reason, small businesses would get the best results by optimizing their website for SEO and then monitoring using a few free tools. Thankfully, you can absolutely use a combination of different free tools to make a good assessment of your backlinks. Then if you need additional help, then it may be time to hire an experienced SEO.
Here’s a guide for running an initial audit of your backlinks and rank which will also become a system for regular monitoring.
1. Make a folder on your computer for saving your audits on a regular basis. Name it “(Your Domain Name) SEO Reports”.
2. Use the following free tools. Either download spread sheets of your findings or take screen captures and save the files into your Business SEO Reports folder. Modify all of the file names so that they include the month and year at the beginning of the file name followed by your domain name and the service you are using (For Example: Feb 2015 Your Domain Name Ahrefs Report).
How I use it: Using Backlink Watch! is a first step, since its service is unlimited and free.
Cons: The page itself is a little spammy with the pop-up adds and links tempting you to buy links. Don’t do that… purchasing spammy links could actually hurt your SEO.
Pros: You can see the entire list of backlinks that they see on the internet pointing towards your site. It is free and doesn’t limit the number of times that you can search.
How I use it: Once a month, I grab a report for 3 sites that I am currently monitoring. It appears to use the exact same technology as backlinkwatch.com, so don’t expect a difference in the links that are reported.
Cons: You can only get 3 reports a month with the free account.
Pros: You can download the report as an excel spread sheet.
3. MOZ Open Site Explorer
How I use it: Once a month, I search for the sites that I am monitoring and compare them with their competitors. I keep track of the domain authority score and other stats by taking a screenshot.
Cons: You can only run 3 searches a day (not including the comparison searches, however). The MOZ database only runs a huge update every month or month and a half, so you may see a delay in updating new links. You can check their schedule here. At the time I wrote this post, the next upcoming update is planned for March 11, 2015.
Pros: You can do a side by side comparison of your site against your competitors, which is so helpful, by going to “Compare Link Metrics” and adding your competitors urls. It provides more than just the backlink count– even at the free level– by providing you with a list of helpful stats including your domain authority, page authority, and just discovered links.
How I use it: I use the free account to monitor changes over time and look for problematic drops in backlinks.
Cons: Most of the backlinks are hidden from you unless you subscribe. Tip: if you shuffle the order of the links by clicking on the different columns, you can see more without purchasing the membership.
Pros: Great analysis of new and lost backlink numbers over time. This could help you identify a backlink problem that you need to fix.
1. Download my SEO Campaign Tracker to keep track of your reports, basic observations, actions taken, and results.
It is so important to track what results your SEO efforts are making as you tailor your campaign to your industry. For example, posting 2 guest posts in a certain month may have had a dramatic impact on your ranking because of the quality of the external link pointing to your site. Maybe adding yourself to a few directories, like Reddit and Hotfrog, also made an impact.
Remember to diversify your SEO tactics, avoid spammy solutions, work on great content, and track your results by monitoring backlinks and rank.
Let us know what works for you or if you have any questions in the comments. Have a paid service that you recommend? Let us know!
Google Webmaster Tools is an essential, free SEO tool and monitoring system. Here are step-by-step instructions for the Google Webmaster Tools verification process for websites created in WordPress. This tutorial also covers how to verify both the www and non-www versions of your site and set your preference in the site settings, a quick extra measure which will improve your search performance with Google.
Though this process does involve copying and pasting a line of code in your WordPress site’s backend, this process can easily be completed by someone with no coding experience.
1. Sign in to Google Webmaster Tools.
2. Click on the red “Add a Site” button. Type in the URL of your website (either the www or non-www version, it doesn’t matter right now).
3. Click on the “Alternate Methods” tab for Verification. Select “HTML tag.” Copy and paste the line of code provided. It begins with <meta name=
4. Login to your WordPress Dashboard. In the lefthand column, click on Appearance>Editor. Then, in the righthand column, click on Header (header.php).
5. Paste the line of code into the header.php file directly underneath the line that reads <head>. Be sure to not change or delete any other lines of code! Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “Update File.”
6. Go back to your Tab where Google Webmaster Tools is open. Click “Verify” and you will see a Congratulations notice appear.
Part Two: Verifying the other version of your website (www or non-www) and selecting your prefered domain
7. Go back to the main welcome screen for Google Webmaster Tools by clicking on the red header, “Wemaster Tools.” Repeat steps 1-3 for the other version of your site (If you added your www url first, now add the non-www url). For example: First I added megfarrington.com and then I added www.megfarrington.com. You do not need to enter the line of code into your WordPress dashboard again. After selecting the alternate methods of verification tab, selecting html tag, and clicking verify, you have verified ownership of the other version of your website.
8. Now click on the gear icon on the upper right part of the screen and select “Site Settings.” Choose your website’s perferred domain in order to tell Google to display your URLs as www or non-www. If you don’t know which way your website is set up, visit your website and note if the wwws appear in the url or not.
Congrats! Both your www and non-www website versions are added to Google Webmaster Tools and you have specified which is the preferred domain, which will help your ranking with Google.
Next, I will cover how to add a site-map to your Google Webmaster Tools and some of the ways to use these tools for monitoring your site’s performance.
Have any questions or difficulties? Let me know in the comments!
Images can make or break a website. Not all businesses have great photos of Idaho yak farms to use throughout their website like our friends at 4 Peaks Yaks. The prominent use of photography is one of the popular trends sweeping through web design in 2015 which experts say is sure to stick around. It is a no brainer that images are effective in building confidence and winning customers, so how do we go about finding and using great stock photos?
There is an art to choosing great photos. The first step though, is knowing where to look. I prefer to choose stock images for my clients’ websites, so I usually include the cost of images in a website design package or make an arrangement to add the cost to their invoice.
I view it as one of the creative services that I provide. It makes sense to have your designer choose the images for your site so that they are optimized for use and tell a cohesive story alongside one another.
Some of my clients have later asked where I found their stock photos so that they can purchase more similar images. I use different services depending on the type of image I am trying to find. Here is a summary of my recommendations as well as some tips for finding, selecting, and presenting images to others for their review. I hope it is helpful for you!
Stock Photo Resources For Blog Posts and General Images
This website catalogues free stock images. Some can be useful, but others may have a color filter or other details that don’t work for your site. I found the camera image featured on this blog post on Pexels.
This is the service I use for my own personal blog images and for general images on popular topics. I often search here first to see if I can save my clients money one some of their images. You “apply” for a membership for $10 a month and are allowed 10 downloads a month. This service is particularly great for bloggers who need 10+ images each month or for web designers or social media marketers who will use it for their clients.
Stock Photo Resources for Specialized Industries (medical, educational, military, etc.)
Shutterstock provides high quality and specialty images for the across the board price of $15 dollars an image. In my experience, these are generally about the quality of iStock essentials collection, although has different options and some great finds.
Beware the automatic subscription add-on while checking out on this site. If you change any of the terms on the check-out page it will add your choice to sign up for a subscription again.
With iStock Photos by Getty Images you will pay either (approximately) $30 or $10 per photo depending on whether you are looking at an image from the “signature” or an “essentials” collection. You are required to buy a pack of “credits” to purchase the image, so the price per photo will vary based on the number of credits that you purchase. Understandably, the “signature” images are really high quality and the essentials are more basic. I try to use a mix, highlighting the signature images on large sliders and reservign the essentials for smaller uses.
Tips for selecting and presenting stock images to clients:
-Make a list of images that you are looking for based on your website design (3 slider images, 4 blurb images, 1 vector icon, 2 staff page images, etc.)
-Consider format (horizontal or vertical, empty space for text), color, tone, and other essential qualities before you start looking
-Use the lightboxes initially, but don’t view this as a collection of options to share with your client unless they have asked for it
-Use the “related image” search to find variations of an image that you like
-Download low-quality, watermarked versions of stock images and insert them into the website to create a demo
-Take the time to edit the low-quality, watermarked versions with whatever gradient overlays, filters, and text effects you may need to find out if they don’t work before you purchase them
-Don’t overwhelm your client with too many choices. Instead, ask for a final decision between two images if you need their field expertise to understand what the image will convey to their niche audience. Make it your goal to show them a website with stock photos inserted so that they can see the “full picture” of the design
Do you have a different stock image service or resource that you recommend? Any additional tips for web designers in selecting and presenting stock images to clients? Let me know in the comments!