Don’t make me download

I’m on my phone. Browsing of course, not talking.

Somehow a link to what seems to be a really interesting event or festival distracts me. Blah blah blah festival runs from 12th-17th of Never. I will be in that city then. Yay.

Oh noes. What exactly is on that’d I’d like to see/do? I hope there’s something really great the morning I’m free. Now where’s the listing of times?

And then as I scroll through the lovely responsive mobile website I see it. Download the programme. I scroll up and down and click on the hamburger menu. No, no other option to find out what’s on only download.

Having updated the website of an event called The Kennedy Summer School this year, I know an awful lot of time goes into not only creating an actual events page on the website of an event, but also individual event pages. It’s not as much time as goes into the design of the physical programme for that year. But it’s time somebody has to do.

And unfortunately, in my travails around the web in the last few weeks, I have been offered no choice by a couple of event websites other than to download the programme.

On mobile, I want to see a listings page, click on what suits me and copy this link into a tweet, text message or Facebook post, or perhaps even a Whatsapp to share with friends. What I am effectively doing for an event organiser is converting one ticket into five, or even more.

So now that you’ve signed off your beautiful physical brochure is there any chance you’d give us web people simple text with details of each event and then a link to that individual event’s precise details. Thanks.

When you’re planning your social media posts you can then send out a tweet for example to that individual event mentioning a speaker or participant’s Twitter handle. They in turn can tweet out details themselves to their fanbase/followers. Don’t pinch the pennies on this one. It will pay for itself.

So, you’re a freelancer?

341377_10151062153406417_1675557851_oFor my whole career I’ve been asked “are you a freelancer?” or “are you a freelance journalist?” when I mention my profession or what I do (write).

It seems that the word most commonly associated with the term journalist is freelancer. However, having completed the South East Enterprise Platform Programme (the predecessor to Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers Programme), I was in “business” mode for a few years. I was kind of allergic to the word freelancer.

Trying to build a business. Trying to find an answer to that question “are you a freelancer?” by well-meaning inquisitive people without sounding uppity.

The distinction for me was my interpretation of freelancer and the connotations attached to it, a bit of a lone ranger working from home. I tried and succeeded in building a business; I’d registered business name, rented an office, commissioned a website, paid professional indemnity insurance, had PAYE staff, and worked with a panel of freelance writers, sub-editors and designers. I was caught up in the whole thing of trying to expand, to create jobs for other people, to build some sort of content empire.

Now, having jumped through all the hoops of hiring and firing and managing panels of freelancers, the focus is back on me. The focus is on selling my abilities ie writing, content strategy, journalism, and well thinking.

While I still have all the trappings of the business I built: good custom, an office, business name, website, social media accounts and the use of occasional freelancers, I’m parking the idea of world domination through this particular business. Hire me and you’ll get me. And in my spare time I’ll be researching the other technology business ideas I have that won’t go away. Maybe you’d like to be part of the research or a beta user.

And back to the word freelancer, it’s just bizarre in my opinion how hung up people are on connecting it to the word journalist. When I was a staff journalist I was asked it. You never ask a carpenter are you a freelancer… There could be worst things to be called I guess.

I have found an answer – I’m now ok with you wondering if I’m a freelancer. I’m not sure what you have in your own head about the word, but if you mean do I work for myself, yes, I do.

Drive traffic to your office with your contact page

Get your contact and location page right

How to increase productivity and save money by including useful information for visitors on your company website contact and location pages

Stop sign

If you think contact us or location pages might be the ones you think you can put the least effort into, it’s time to think again.

It is not a simple case of having your contact details and a map.

The people that visit these pages may need more than your office address or a map – depending on their own personal needs.

But…

People can phone for directions

You can save a lot of man hours on an annual basis by directing people to a link with lots of contact/location/travel and transport information. That’s less calls for everybody from reception to management.

We don’t want unannounced visitors

That’s okay, don’t include a map. You still have a legal requirement to include

  • the place of registration of the company and the number with which it is registered
  • the address of the registered office of the company

Include the wording “strictly by appointment only” on your website. Or invest in a buzzer and waiting area.

We have multiple entrances

This is your opportunity to increase productivity of meeting time and reduce confusion amongst visitors and people they are meeting.

Include public transport, parking and access details for all your entrances.

We are difficult to find

We’re hard to find, so give us a call when you arrive onto the street. Some people are better at reading directions than listening to them. Give them the opportunity to arrive on time without phoning.

Parking is tricky

Is there on-street parking? What’s the cost and what’s the limitations? Is there a company car park? Do visitor spaces need to be booked in advance? Is there a nearby car park with all-day rates? Helping people park can reduce stress, nevermind about clamping fees.

All visitors must sign in at reception

Are you a large corporation with tight security and a strict visitor sign in process? Include details on your website – if it takes 5 minutes to sign up and be issued with a visitor tag, say so, this may prompt people to arrive earlier and for meetings to begin on time.

Deliveries has a separate entrance

Give them details about this entrance then.

Overload

Too much to think about? Here’s a simply way of making a start on a decent contact/location page:

  • Who would want to know where you are?
  • What do they know?
  • What verbal directions do people generally have to give on the phone or in an email?

Postbox and outside of office hours deliveries

Is there anywhere to leave a package outside of office hours?

No? You could have saved me a two-hour journey if you had those details on your website.

Easy assumptions to make

Everybody has a smart phone

Not everybody has a smart phone. Some people will forget theirs, or the battery will die.

Everybody has 3G/4G/mobile internet coverage in this area

There is a specific area of Wexford town I cannot get 3G coverage in with my phone provider

Everybody has Google Maps

Lots of people never think to get to a place on foot or by car

Everybody has a good sense of direction

North, south, east, west. Seriously, many people have no concept. And as for to the left or right. Make sure you include indicators such as your left and their right. E.g. with your back to Spar, we are to the left or facing Spar, we are to the right.

Your Google Maps location is correct

Check it is correct – or indeed that you do have a presence on various online maps.

Everybody is driving from the same place

You know that driving from Dublin paragraph? Not everybody driving from Dublin may realise they are on the main road from Dublin to your office, if they joined the motorway enroute or travelled cross country. Mention the main road/motorway name here to help.

How does your contact us/location page size up for your business?