Up until December 12th, 2006, this website attracted a lot of visits and consequently, a fair amount of enquiries from new prospective clients. It was either on the first of second Google page for searches such as "English to French translation" or "French translator", my top keywords, which meant that the right people were finding it. This doesn’t mean that I gained new clients on a weekly basis, but it generated enough interest for me to develop my client base gradually over time and was an effective marketing tool. Then December 12th came. Suddenly, the traffic coming from Google searches dropped, and the loss was as sudden as it was spectacular. The daily visits went from around 800 to around 200 on average. The reason for this is as arcane as Google’s working. Do a search for "sudden drop in traffic" and you’ll see that this happens all the time, to a lot of people, and that nobody knows what to do about it. This meant that I could no longer rely solely on this website to make new contacts and acquire new clients, which is central to all freelancers.
One of the things that I decided to do in order to counter this indexing problem is to have a go at networking in Brighton. One of my office friends is a big networking fan and convinced me to go to a breakfast event organised by the City Business Club. It was very good. Two speakers talked about how to create and maintain a network and how to introduce oneself effectively, and I got to chat pleasantly to a marketing manager, an architect and a career development specialist. Strangely enough, both the marketing manager and the architect said they might well need a translator in the future. Even if nothing comes of this, I had a nice time and I can see that meeting new people and creating links within the local business community is bound, at some point, to benefit me. I also like the idea of being well-connected and as such, able to recommend and help out trusted colleagues as the need arises.