Effective Websites Workshop

Learning in groups is often more fruitful than solitary exploration, so as well as providing training and consultancy to individual people and organisations, we also provide group workshops. These benefit for example members of business associations who are operating in a common sector and face similar challenges, or creatives and sole traders who enjoy bouncing ideas around in a group setting.

There are several barriers to small businesses and individuals obtaining websites: time, cost, lack of online strategy know-how, and lack of technical know-how. A website is a key sales generation or communication tool which is often found to be an expensive and time-consuming activity.

The Effective Websites Workshop aims to instill confidence in the participants that they can achieve a cost-effective and fit-for-purpose website. The workshop uses tools and processes which can fit any budget and yet still deliver an effective online presence. A good website need not cost the earth or mean spending time learning how to code. The workshop objectives are:

  • to help the participants understand and prioritise what they need and want from a website, so they can brief a designer/developer effectively, or build the site themselves…
  • to introduce the participants to some low-cost, user-friendly development packages

Standard ½ day workshop

The standard ½ day workshop last three hours and can be run in a morning or afternoon. It is broken into three sessions, with short breaks between, and can include refreshments and/or lunch if required. The sessions cover:

1. Website requirements

  • Your organisation’s values and goals
  • Website goals
  • Your audience
  • Competitive positioning
  • Activity: understand the audience, obstacles and motivations

2. Website design

  • Look and feel
  • Functionality and content
  • Integration with social media and other communications tools
  • Activity: learn from case study websites
  • Activity: spend time writing down lessons so far for their own site

3. Website development

  • Managing a development project
  • After the launch, including a brief introduction to search engine optimisation
  • Overview of user-friendly development packages
  • Activity: three tasks in the WordPress ‘sandbox’

Materials provided during the workshop:

  • Presentation handouts for note-taking
  • Sheet of questions to ponder and space to note specific website lessons and requirements
  • Access to WordPress training websites
  • Guidance on common content management tasks using WordPress, and ideas for exploration

…and after the workshop:

  • Presentation slides
  • Write-ups of the activities
  • “Guide – A Website Brief In 8½ Chapters”

“Thanks for delivering the training. I only had good feedback.” — AM, Regen SW

Short and sweet workshop

We can also deliver a shorter 90 minute version of the workshop, suitable for an evening.

This comprises a presentation covering the main points of the longer workshop on website requirements, design and development. The presentation is interactive, and the participants are encouraged to think aloud throughout. As part of the segment on website design, the group will evaluate an existing website.

Participants are provided with a presentation handout and the “Guide – A Website Brief In 8½ Chapters”.

Case study: Workshop for the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers Exeter Branch

This was an evening workshop lasting 90 minutes, preceded by refreshments.

Many of the group were in the early days of setting up as self-employed bookkeepers. It was therefore important to spend time exploring what they needed from a website. The group brainstormed the possible obstacles to being found online by potential customers, and then being contacted, and how these obstacles could be overcome.

Moving on to design, the group thought about look and feel, functionality and content and links with social media. The group used the Branch Secretary’s website as one to evaluate and critique!

In the third segment, we covered how to develop a website, whether ‘free’ websites were really ‘free’, and how to keep sites up to date. We finished with ideas for ensuring that a new website can actually be found!

“Many thanks – I’ve had some great feedback from people. It was a really positive evening. You’ll see I’ve been playing with WordPress today – the feedback [on my website] was really helpful.” — FB, ICB Exeter Branch Secretary