Category Archives: Websites

Does Your Web Design Company Tie You To Them .. Or Grant You Total Freedom?

Does your websdesigner tie you up in knotsA Website Is Essential for Education Providers .. Especially FE Colleges. But Often a Web Design Company Tie You to Them And You Don’t Realise Until It Is Too Late

This is how it works. Some web companies quote and tell you that you will have full control over the website once it is launched. But over the last few years, we’ve seen too many instances where that wasn’t true. Let me show you how a Web Design Company Can Tie You to them.

Many college sites pull in course info from the MIS system. It’s often a problem syncing the two together and the web design company will use a piece of software to do this. Often it isn’t until part way through the design process that they tell you about the need to use it. And they will blame your MIS system.

And because you are working to a deadline its easy to believe they have a solution and go down that road.

The problem comes when you want to take over full control of the website. The bit of software that links your MIS and website belongs to the web company. They insist you need to pay them a maintenance fee to keep the syncing running. And that’s how they stay in control of everything. In the worse cases, the company will then discover new problems when you want to upgrade plugins etc. The plugin will clash with their piece of software and you will need to pay them to modify it!

How Else Does a Web Design Company Tie You to Them?

Another trick unscrupulous web designers do is to quote for hosting the site. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this. But we’ve seen one case recently where the bill for hosting was £10k for a three years contract. When we looked at the external host they were using we found a huge discrepancy. The hosting company were charging £250 a year. The extra £9250 over three years was the admin fee the company were trying to charge.

There are a great number of really good web designers available to colleges. Not all are of dubious reputation. The problem is working out which ones are straight and which ones are out to rip you off.

At times like this, it pays to use an external consultant to advise on what to look for. After years of working with straight designers, and finding far too many that aren’t straight, we are happy to advise any college.

Discover more about college website problems on this site 

Or visit Underfunded Education for advice on how to get the best from small budgets

 

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How Bots Can Improve Website Design

how bots improve website design Chatlines and Chatbots Can Provide Data Capable of Being Used to Improve Website Design

We all plan for our website to be perfect. But perfection is hard to attain and the best we can often hope for is a high quality site that answers all the questions we expect out target audience to ask.

But sadly we often miss essential questions. Especially those seasonal questions that come through by phone or chatline, but otherwise get missed.

How Questions Improve Website Design

If you take all the questions you are asked in a week or month (download them from your chatbot into a spreadsheet is a good idea). Then analyse them you will see certain trends developing. Continue reading

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Six SEO Things Google Doesn’t Care About

Can Anyone Guarantee Getting you On Page One of Google? How easy is it to get on Page One of Google? Google Doesn't CareSEO is a Black Art Laced with Science, Smoke, Mirrors and Things Google Doesn’t Care About.

Its easy to believe the old myths about SEO and what Google is looking for but most of this is pure myth.

The reality is that Google is looking for just one thing .. User Experience (UX).

If it provides searchers with a better UX then Google is interested  .. otherwise .. Google Doesn’t Care.

Check Out the Video to see the SEO Myths

Have you visited our UnderFunded Education site?

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FE Recruitment, Admissions and Enrollment

How Does Your Online Applications “Shopping Trolley” Affect FE Application Rates?

This is just one of the topics I tackle in the latest UnderFunding FE Exclusives Page.

Discover More by Clicking on the Following Graphic

FE Recruitment, Admissions and Enrollment

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Bots Could Help Your Recruitment & Finances

Would You Like A Really Simple Guide to Bots?

Then click on the link below and download a free copy

I want my copy of A Really Simple Guide to Bots. Please send me a copy

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A Bot Advantage Most Managers Miss

Bot Advantage: Bots Often Confer Advantages Beyond The Obvious; Provided You Are SBot advantage: Bots Do more than answer questions. mart

Sometimes the advantage a bot can provide isn’t totally obvious. But here is an example of where a website shopping cart problem was spotted well before it would have otherwise been seen.  Continue reading

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Who Can Use a Chatbot?

ChatBots Can Be Used aNywhere You Have a Digital Human Interface.Bots Can Be Used Wherever You Have a Digital Presence. That Not Only Includes on Social Media such as Facebook; but also on Websites, in CRM Systems, Chatlines and even Telephone Systems. So anyone can use a bot.

Bots Work on Digital Platforms

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The Magic World of Bots

The Magic World of Bots

Meet Magician Bot, He’s Wearing His Ceremonial Robes To Greet You

Our Customers Wanted a Magician to Wave a Wand & Produce Qualified Leads and Decrease the Admin Overload and Cost

So We Harnessed The Magic World of Bots. And The Power of Artificial Intelligence & Natural Language Sequencing to Qualify More Leads in Less Time and at Lower Cost on Websites, Social Media …. Even on Facebook. Continue reading

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What is a ChatBot or Bot?

Bots or Chatbots work 24/7 so you don't have to

Chatbots carry out repetitive admin tasks 24/7 .. they don’t just work in factories

Chatbots or bots are  an automated or semi-automated software tools that can carry out repetitive and mundane tasks 24/7. They are usually used as a communications tool.

Bots are very common and can undertake admin tasks such as answering emails. Other examples you will undoubtedly come across include the Googlebot. Google uses Googlebot to index the huge volumes of new content being uploaded to the web every second. Its a repetitive admin task that’s been automated with a bot. Continue reading

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Countdown Timers & Other Clever Apps

Countdown timer s are an example of clever apps Countdown Timers and Clever Apps for Almost Anything are Everywhere

Earlier today a client asked if it were possible to put an app on their website. It took 6-7 minutes to Google, find and embed the one below on this page.

Why Use a Countdown Timer? 

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Website Video Banners Are Key to Traffic and Dwell Time

Website Video Banners are easy with CoverrGrabbing Attention is Key to Video Traffic and Dwell Time. Website Video Banners Achieve This

The problem is you have to make a video, edit it, embed it on your website .. it all takes time.

But what if you could just download a video and drop it onto your website very quickly and easily?

That’s where Coverr comes in (have you noticed how so many of these sites end in a double R?)

Coverr provides both the video and the embed code .. so its much quicker and easier to embed and simple video and grab more eyeballs.

http://www.coverr.co/

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How to Get Star Ratings in Google Search Results

Get Star Ratings in Google Search Results ...Five Stars Results on Google Search Helps Gain SERPS Points

Five Star Results .. Click to Enlarge

Ever Wondered How to Get Star Ratings in Google Search Results?

 

Well it  is Easier Than You Might Think. You Can Get Star Ratings in Google Search Results for Your Products, Services or You Personally if You Follow The Instructions Below.

Let me show you the simple steps I went through to get my star ratings at the top of the Google search results. But first …. Continue reading

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SEO: Can SEO Experts Guarantee Page One of Google?

Can Anyone Guarantee Getting you On Page One of Google? How easy is it to get on Page One of Google?Can Anyone Guarantee Getting You On Page One of Google?

That’s the question that James asked me. He asked having heard a SEO company were making such a  guarantee and he wanted my view on whether this was a credible situation. So Can Anyone Guarantee Page One of Google?

The answer is if you give me £1000 I will guarantee you a position on Page One of Google within the hour. But I have to say this is a poor offer as all I’ll do is write a Google Adwords ad and make my bid higher than anyone else. Continue reading

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What’s Wrong With FE Websites?

What's Wrong With FE WebsitesWebsites Can Fail For Hundreds of Reasons. But Whatever the Reason Your Website Fails, It Can End Your Business and You Need to Know What’s Wrong With FE Websites?

Over the last ten years I’ve seen just about every website disaster ever inflicted on FE . In my latest FE Exclusive I reveal some of the worse.

https://www.fenews.co.uk/featured-article/whats-wrong-with-fe-websites-13080
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Understanding Searcher Intent is Vital

Searcher Intent, What is It, How Do You Define Searcher Intent?Searcher Intent? What Do Online Searchers Intend

We read a lot about SEO and ensuring that we use the right keywords in our content to ensure we come high up on the Search Engine Results Pages.  But to do this, and get highly ranked, we need to know what the online searcher intent is.

Are they just merely curious, doing actual research, want to buy, want to recommend to a friend or something altogether different?  People’s intentions are not always obvious, so, when writing content, we need to make some assumptions if our webpage is to match their actual needs. Continue reading

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How to Brief a Website Designer

How to Brief a Website Designer. Website Specification is Essential if You are to brief your website designerWebsites Cost a Lot of Money, So Correctly Briefing Your Website Designer is Vital if You Want Value for Money from Your Designer

How to Brief a Website Designer

Over the last ten years I’ve specified a lot of education websites. I’ve also reviewed a lot of website specs drawn up by providers. So How to Brief a Website Designer is now second nature to me; but lots of people struggle with it. Specifying the website is key to getting your site right, but it needs detailed and concise specification.

A lot of good web designers tell me that too many clients haven’t much idea what they want in a website except it should be a “good site” or a site like one of their competitors.

No designer can give you value for money with such an imprecise specification. The good ones will probe for detail but the unethical designers (and there are a lot of them out there) will rip you off by fulfilling your imprecise instructions at high cost (then blame you for not briefing them properly).

Website Specification Detail

In the last few years I’ve specified many websites and my experience is that a specification needs to be at least 30-40 pages in length to be detailed enough to provide a designer with sufficient information. And I don’t mean a document full of screengrabs of sites that are liked or disliked; I mean hard facts.

It is necessary to specify your customer profiles, the products and/or services you wish to offer, the Calls to Action you require to be followed and the apps, plugins and functions you wish to provide.  In most cases it is the function we wish to provide e.g. an appointment booking system, rather than the actual app or plugin to be used as the designer should have a more up to date knowledge of these and how they will interface with other systems and functions. Continue reading

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How to Obtain Expiring Domains

Buying expired domain names Colleges and Universities mainly use the .ac.uk domain names reserved exclusively for them. But they can also use other domains (urls) at their description and other training providers frequently prefer to use  .co.uk or .com addresses for their websites and emails.

But what if the domain you want isn’t available?  Well, you might still be able to pick it up.  Some addresses aren’t used, people just buy them with a view to sell them.  They cybersquat on them. Agencies that do this will offer urls at exorbitant fees.  Think carefully before paying them.  How much are they really worth?

Some addresses have been used but are going to expire for various reasons.  It might be the businesses has ceased trading or changed business direction. In that case you can buy them once they are available.

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Video Micro-Moments Drive Engagement and Sales

Google video micro moments

Graphic courtesy of Google

When customers, prospective students or employers look for answers to their problems, want to discover new things, or have to make decisions, they often go online for help. Google calls these times micro-moments.

We need to recognise that our customers are doing this on a wide range of devices when they go to  your website or app, and ….. increasingly ….. they’re happening on YouTube.

So providers need a strategy to engage with searchers at this time; the time when they want help and advice.

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How to Use “Keyword Modifiers” to Improve SEO

Sometimes Improving SEO is just a matter of tweaking existing content

So, if you have a webpage about First Aid courses you might modify the page title by adding the name of your town.

Why?

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How to Use Google Analytics to Track Website Downloads

If we are going to be effective when marketing, and not waste time or money, we need to carefully track what is happening on our website.  

In this video, my colleague, Vernon Riley, explains how amazingly simple it is to track things like pdf downloads on your website.

For example you can tel how many downloads were made as a result of an advert in the paper as opposed to the email you sent to employers.

 

Let Vernon or me know if you’d like to discuss your Analytics options in more detail.

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