Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas in Brief

Very brief selection of Christmas pictures mostly taken on the mobile!






Thursday, 22 December 2011

A few photos of Bristol

A few photos of Bristol before taken before we moved to London. Love how colourful the city is, will always have a soft spot for Bristol. Please ask permission if you want to use any of the images for any reason! Hope you enjoy.












Thursday, 15 December 2011

The worst possible addition to any recruitment site

What could this possibly be?

The one design addition that makes my hairs stand on end in a rage and fury of how uncreative and unimaginative it is that anyone working in the online industry, a sector generally requiring some element of artistic integrity, would include THIS on their design.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking about the inevitable 'shaking hands' picture.

The image used when a designer can't think of anything remotely intelligent to apply to recruitment - so they add that.

You can almost see inside the designers head, amongst the flys and hay bails kicking around in there you've got a thought along the lines of 'uuurrrmmmm business.... with people... who meet... and agree on things if they're good...I'VE GOT THE PERFECT PICTURE!'.

Something so horrendously obvious in it's metaphorical meaning ('ooo the shirt cuffs make it look business-like!'), like a written confession by the designer stating they have seen this on other equally terrible business sites, and have neither the talent or sufficient time left prior to the project deadline to find a better alternative.

If your designer includes a shaking hands picture in your design, fire them immediately for being so terribly unimaginative.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Improve your Recruitment Website in 5 Simple Steps

Recruitment is fast becoming an online game, slowly becoming less reliant on the telephone and moving towards the digital sector.

As recruiters begin to understand the usefulness of Linkedin, Twitter, Search Engine Optimisation and other already-established technologies, they are realising the importance of their own website as the hub from which all other online promotion stems.

It is easy to be daunted by social media jargon, internet acronyms and tech-speak, but sift through the ambiguous elements and you'll find a business solution that is far simpler than you might think and simply cannot be avoided.

Here I have attempted to simplify a few steps on small adjustments that could be made to an existing site to get you started.

1. Printer versions

So from iPads to Android, from Macs to Smart TVs, everything seems to be digitised in some shape or form; but it's always easier to read content from a sheet of paper than a screen.

Many people would rather read a printed sheet than a screen shot, particularly if it's a topic that needs to be carefully examined like a company specification or a job description.

It is not hard to include a small option to add 'printer version' functionality to a page where a single click will reduce the page to a white background, black text, and all non-essential images and website features removed.

Instantly your website has not only demonstrated some useful content, but you have made it incredibly easy for a visitor to retain a hard copy of your company branded materials.

Try clicking the 'Print View' icon at the foot of the page on my portfolio for an example - http://www.mikewedge.co.uk

This brings me to my next point.

2. One-click downloadable company profile (pdf)

Many visitors to your site will be looking for a snapshot of information on your business.

By offering a concise introduction to your business via an omnipresent link around the site, you encourage the visitor to take information about your business away with them, and also command what exactly that information includes.

3. Social media share options



Social media should never be overlooked by any website owner regardless of sector.

The power of social media in online marketing is still hugely underrated by business owners. Twitter has over 300 million members, there are definitely people on Twitter who are interested in what your business does, and they will likely find you eventually.

Likewise Linkedin, mostly for those aiming at the higher-end professionals, and of course Facebook, mostly applicable to high volume and temp recruitment (although the fastest growing membership on Facebook is in fact the older audience).

A simple button to encourage users to 'Tweet this page', 'Share on Facebook', or 'Share on Linkedin' is not only a hugely effective way of benefiting from user interactivity and promotion, but it's also very easy to set up, and most importantly of all - it's free!

Check out 'AddThis' buttons here, or 'ShareThis' buttons here to find out how you could add this simple but incredibly effective tool to your site.


4. Search-engine-friendly URLs


Search engine friendly URLs involve the practice of organising your files online.

A search engine is meant to act intuitively to find the most relevant content searched for, it does this by scanning through all the information on the page (spidering) and deciding it's relevance to various terms.

If a candidate was to Google 'project manager jobs swindon' which of the following URL's do you think would likely have greater success?

A: http://www.recruitmentcompany.com/detailtemp/cands/jobview.asp?v=1280679

or

B: http://www.recruitmentcompany.com/jobs/swindon/project-manager.asp

Additionally, if a potential candidate were to see either URL, they would either instantly recognise what is and ascertain it's relevance to them or it would be ignored.

This is a swift change in the structure of your online database, where doing so would help both your online organisation and the visibility of the content you are wishing to display.


5. External links open a new window


Finally a simple one to finish this instalment.

If your site links to a different site elsewhere on the internet, it must open in a new window.

This will mean that your site will remain open once the user has finished with the additional content, and the visitor will continue to interact with your site.

This includes links to pdf's (some of which open in browsers), links to external sites and any other document links that might take over the 'parent window'.

Please bear in mind you should not open new window within your own site, as this can seriously affect user experience and become very irritating!



The next instalments of quick improvements to be published in due course, feel free to sign your email address up to receive updates if you wish to be kept up to date - I will never spam you. Ever.

If you have any questions about any of the topics mentioned above please do not hesitate to get in touch and see how your website might benefit from an update.


→ Email Me


Friday, 9 December 2011

Harness Twitter's recruiting potential...

Recruiters! Did you know you can harness the power of Twitter, without actually having to do very much...

You probably spend a lot of time talking to people, on the phone, meeting people, and generally not having the kind of time required to maintain a Twitter account to the level required to accumulate a sizeable group of meaningful followers.

I would also imagine, that you suspect there are ways it could help your business, but you don't really have the time to invest in the required research, set up and maintenance of a Twitter account.

The best way to accumulate a relevant audience of followers, is with regularly updated, searchable information for your target audience, in your case on Twitter, your candidates.


So all you need to do is post job updates to Twitter, but you don't want to do it manually because it would take more time than you care to imagine.

This is where the useful little tool twitterfeed comes in - www.twitterfeed.com. Using this (free) tool you can take your jobs RSS feed and automatically populate a Twitter account.

So what's an RSS feed? This is something very often associated with a regularly updated, uniformly organised list of information online (such as vacancies, blog articles, podcasts etc). You probably have an RSS feed attached to either your website's vacancies page, or a job board where you post your jobs without even knowing it.

Once you have this feed, you simply plug it into your Twitter account, and that's it! Once the Twitter masses begin to catch on and your business is recognised as a regularly updated source of the kind of jobs they're interested in, you will find your follower audience will drastically increase.

If you were to use your own website's RSS feed, you will also benefit from the increased visitor traffic, the vast amount of links to your site will hugely impact your search engine presence, and it will boost your businesses profile in the area as a result.

If you would like any more information on this topic, or simply want a free consultation on how your business could benefit, just get in touch on info@mikewedge.co.uk.


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Is your site breaking for 1 in 7 visitors?

Smart phones are accelerating in popularity, we all know this, but did you know that mobile traffic now accounts for 15% of all UK internet traffic? (ref: http://bit.ly/sR9qwp)


The BBC has since reported a figure from the National Office of Statistics that up to 45% of all UK internet traffic comes via a mobile device. (ref: http://bit.ly/vQAZ1I)


If your website is not mobile compatible, for a minimum of 1 in 7 people your site will:
  • appear incorrectly
  • malfunction in critical areas
  • operate in a frustrating fashion for any reader
  • often break entirely
Let's say you're a small to medium sized business, achieving 900-1000 hits a month on your website, that means for a minimum of 130 people a month your site appears broken!




If you were looking to find out some more information on a business, and their website did not work, would you stay or would you just look for a competitor?


It is well known that the internet is the new place for your shop front, the first point of access for any customers or clients wishing to interact with your business. If that shop front is broken, or does not work, what do you think that says about your business?


To gain an idea as to your mobile compatibility, try putting your site URL into the validation check offered by the globally acknowledged internet standards body W3C. Although this validator does not take into account a number of possible anomalies, it can certainly be a bit of an eye opener.

http://validator.w3.org/mobile/


Adding a 'mobile version' of your site is often a fairly painless task, not requiring a huge investment of money, much of the time it is simply a case of restyling the information your website already contains.


Doing so would ensure you attract and retain the extra 1 in 7 of your website visitors be they clients or candidates, and would give any visitor confidence that you are a cutting edge and technologically-savvy organisation.


There are other benefits too, for instance did you know that Google has a separate index of websites for mobile search? the rapidly emerging mobile search engine market is wide open with huge marketing potential for any business sharp enough to exploit it.


If you require any further information on mobile web technologies, or are interested in how this may be applied to your business, please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation on info@mikewedge.co.uk.