Web design courses Norwich from this ex teacher?

Should I start offering web design courses Norwich? Read on.

When I was at school, apart from English Literature, the curriculum seemed utterly pointless. The cookery teacher made Gordon Ramsay look a model of patience, maths consisted of repetitive drills, history was about roads and canals, geography was colouring in – still is apparently.

Obviously what I’d like to learn now didn’t exist – I’d love to speak French fluently but my memories of lessons back then were saying my name and age for 3 solid years, a skill I’ve never used in France ever.

Web design didn’t exist, because the nearest we got to technological ejaculation was a Casio digital watch and Pong – Google it if you’re under 40.

I’ve learned web design in the past few years in partnership and through adding content to websites directly. I’ve never ever enrolled in web design courses Norwich as to be honest I like independent learning. I do keep saying this to a point of sounding like a stuck record – web design is not particularly difficult, it’s the content that is most challenging.

Buying a domain, adding it to a hosting package, installing WordPress and adding pages is a piece of piss.

Time-consuming yes; difficult no.

Not when you’ve learned how. I did this one reasonably quickly.

I consider it a bit like me being forcibly removed from Britain for my Remainer views, stripped of my nationality and having to relocate to France, muttering “Je m’appelle Stuart; j’ai quinze ans” to the disbelief of locals.

I’d be immersed in France and mingling and would learn to speak and write it fluently within, I reckon, about a year.

I’ve been tinkering with copywriting and web design for 4 years, and I’m pretty fluent in both now, just, as I would be, if the Home Office removed my nationality and said “Off you go to Lille.”

I’d manage and become proficient quickly – just as I have with web design.

Web design courses Norwich – or Great Yarmouth – or Lowestoft – or wherever – are something I should probably consider doing, given that I enjoy an audience and love imparting information and coaching after 27 years in education.

WordPress could become my new “Of Mice and Men”.

Those PowerPoints, mouldering in forgotten folders called Poetry, could be adapted to a guide to making a website secure; compressing images for fast rendering; how to write and append a GDPR Privacy Policy in a website footer.

Okay, it’s not quite as exciting as Lennie busting Curley’s hand in Chapter 3, but, trust me, the appeal of that faded on its 20th read to classes.

What do people think?

Has this web design courses Norwich (or elsewhere) idea got legs? Would people pay to attend a workshop and come out with the basics of designing a website and become my competition?

Or should I just stick to knocking out websites for clients, undercutting web design Norwich agencies for both value and service?

I’m not sure, tbh.

Is Norwich city centre recession-proof?

Apart from Thorne, Doncaster, a place I spent 18 years in from birth to university, I’ve never remained anywhere as long as we’ve stayed in Norwich, Norfolk. I’ve had a few bad experiences here, in the recent past, in education, but even that, with hindsight, was a massive favour. I had fallen out of love with teaching and a collective kick from various people propelled me into what I now love doing: writing and web design Norwich.

We’ve been here 11 years in July, a Personal Best, and I honestly never thought our time here would be so lengthy. Dare I say it, after the experiences 5 years ago, I actually like living here, in Bradwell, a gridlocked suburb of Great Yarmouth.

Gorleston, close by, was home for 8 years, and our move to a new build 3 years ago was hardly an epic trek – with it being just 2 miles.

I love Norwich city centre too, and, as someone who likes eating out and shopping, it is a great county capital.

It seems to me too to be fairly recession-proof. The blight that is obvious in so many city centres – failed businesses, shuttered premises, empty retail units, vacant restaurants are lacking in Norwich. Admittedly we’ve seen changes to the city centre in our 11 years here, but it’s not dramatically altered and is rightly, as it calls itself, “a fine city”.

Property prices are not low there though, even though statistically, wages are below average, I read. You won’t get much change out of £200,000 in the city centre, which may strike you as cheap if you’re comparing London or expensive if you’ve got other comparables.

The cost of living is quite high too.

Eating out in Norwich is relatively expensive, I think, and the costs of goods and services (to go all old skool) is high – getting a wall built or a decent discount on a car is challenging in Norwich and Norfolk. 

But I’m trying to buck the local trend with my WordPress website offers.

I was talking with a joiner last week, who’d been looking at getting a website, with the lowest quote being £500 plus VAT for a simple brochure site. He’s now bought into my deal for £299 no VAT. Northern prices in an eastern county. The websites are not poor either and I don’t compromise on service or what’s included as you can see in the image or my prices.

Obviously, this is just one aspect of my work – if you’d like to know more, contact me today.

 

Do you subconsciously avoid clicking Google ads?

When I launched my first business six years ago, I was smitten by the Google ads offer of £75 in free advertising for Pay Per Click in return for a £25 investment. Seemed an absolute no-brainer back then. I sculpted an enticing advert within the set Google parameters, paid my money and watched as the business (an independent estate agency) appeared at the top of page one for various search terms for over a month.

The £100 quickly expended and we had the grand total of one fairly pointless lead from a couple who’d viewed a bungalow in nearby Lowestoft and wanted us to drive to Ipswich to value theirs. We didn’t as it’s too far and Ipswich was never our Google PPC target. It taught me back then that, in my experience at least, PPC for an estate agency was fairly pointless.

I know too that as a consumer, when I’m surfing Google, I don’t click paid ads – along with most other people it seems. My subconscious somehow kicks in and nags “don’t click”.

Don’t get me wrong – I have connections who swear by PPC and its success, but it hasn’t worked for me and I’m reluctant to spend money on it again, as I’m not sure I’d get clicks for “web design Norwich”, “web design Great Yarmouth” even when sitting above the big web design agencies in Norwich.

I prefer the organic growth of blogging and social media, providing answers and value in a series of researched (and sometimes random) articles that take more time to generate than a Google ad and yet seem a better proposition long-term.

Content marketing should be high on your business priorities, along with an inventive social sharing strategy, so people recognise your brand, begin to trust your advice and when the time comes for them to buy a product or service they pick you.

Because of the information you’ve provided consistently, and not simply through a 50 word Google ad, you get selected in front of others. 

In theory at least.

In my own freelance web design business, I always advise this strategy.

Create a blog / news / information page and write articles on there – not for the sake of it, or to kill time, but because Google rewards fresh content and customers love reading new stuff.

If you’ve not got the time or ability to write, there’s legions of copywriters out there, able and willing to craft engaging, optimised copy.

Like web designers, some take the piss with price, but most have a reasonable hourly rate that shouldn’t cause too much financial strain on a business. Mine is here. Discounts too for bulk orders. 

If you don’t want to succumb to PPC, invest in a company blog which can go in your newsletters, email campaigns and printed literature, as well as across social media channels.

Trust me, it works.

I hate meetings but love meeting in Norwich

Today, someone asked me to meet in Norwich and as I’d intended to meet someone anyway, my diary shouted “Go.” 

Normally, client meetings irritate as the time spent over coffee could be spent on actually designing, writing and marketing. I’m not anti-social but have been mightily fed up in the past when a 60 mile round trip, £5 parking bill and a lunch over 2 hours, results in nothing coming of it.

But today, I felt that because this client had seen a website launched for a local hotel for Mike Gilbert, The Old Hall Hotel  Caister, that I should make the effort.  

SEO is being aimed squarely at Norwich and Norfolk (not the hospital) and it felt churlish to decline. 

You see web design Norwich is partly what Get Pro Copy Ltd is about and yet when I look at my portfolio, just 9 have actually come from this fine city. 

Which surprises me.

If you know Norwich, it’s a splendid city, surrounded by magnificent countryside, big blue skies and a coastline that is spectacular in places. 

North Norfolk is renowned for its beaches, like at Wells and Holkham, but further south, beaches like Sea Palling, Horsey and Winterton have their own charms (and lower property prices).

Norwich has been largely unaffected by manufacturing recessions as it has little industry to speak of.

Admittedly Colman’s Mustard has gone but Aviva (or Norwich Union) lives on as does the city centre’s thriving reputation for retail and restaurants.

Even though I have perennially itchy feet, I like being associated with Norwich.

“A fine city” is not just marketing speak – it is true, trust me.

When you look more closely online at Web Design Norwich companies, there’s none, as far as I can see, that offer what I do which is design, copywriting and social media. Some agencies do – but you’ll pay a hefty wedge to them and you can get your bottom dollar, outsourcing and low pay is the norm.

Controversial I know.

This means that, though Norfolk may be slow to travel around (I think it’s the only English county without a motorway), I promise reasonably fast website design. I’m in demand because I deliver and don’t charge excessively for my services.

Built on WordPress by an expert, populated with words by an English graduate copywriter and launched on social media to get your business off to a flying start.

So if you’re based in Norfolk, or Norwich city centre or its environs, and are looking for a web design freelancer, looking to support a local company, get in touch with me – we can help you get seen online quickly and economically with a website and social media presence as alluring as Norwich itself, with no congested tailbacks of us waiting for web content from you and with a “Broad” social media launch that will make your business stand out, like Happisburgh lighthouse.

If you’re in Manchester, Bristol, London, Leeds, I can help you too.

You can trust this Norwich web design freelancer.

I’m hoping that the client I met in Marzano in the Forum trusts me too. I’ll keep you posted – assuming you’re remotely interested.

Starting a business is exciting – avoid partnerships at all costs though

Starting any business, particularly after paid employment, can be incredibly exciting and daunting, at the same time.

You’ve got the fear of leaving the known for the unknown; leaving a salary to risk all on a business idea.

We’ve been there ourselves.

It’s not an easy decision to make.

You will probably lie awake at night thinking – with anticipation and dread.

It’s human nature – but what I can say, having walked the walk, and left secure paid employment for the freelance freedom is go for it but make sure you’re prepared.

Freelance brings incredible liberty – those politics of the office watercooler, the stifling hierarchies of management can be consigned to your mental recycling bin.

You are free.

Except you’re not.

If you fail at freedom.

So I thought I’d give a handy aide-memoire, a checklist to becoming successful as, dare I mutter that dreaded word, an entrepreneur.

There.

I’ve said it.

Not too painful in this context.

So where do you start?

Let me help with my lucky 7 point list:

  1. THE BIG IDEA. Success largely depends on the business idea or business ideas you have and your ability to turn the idea into profit. If your business doesn’t make a profit, it’s self-defeating. You have to have a vision of what you’re selling in terms of products and services, whether there’s demand for it, and, most importantly, you can draw a salary from it. Granted, you need to speculate to accumulate. A business needs an investment plan. An investment plan needs funds, but without the concept, the idea and the drive and acumen to promote and succeed, you may fail. Failure though can be rewarding in that lessons are learned. Don’t see failure as an end to your start-up.
  2. SOLE TRADER, LIMITED COMPANY, PARTNERSHIP. There’s pros and cons to these. What I would advise is to not enter into partnership. Worst ship ever to sail. Stay solo and sub-contract.
  3. SUPPORT. It’s easier to go into business, with reduced risks, if you have salary security from a partner in paid employment. Your friends and family can support you not only financially, but with motivation and a pair of critically objective eyes and ears. If you’re a sole trader, or even a partnership, it’s good to run strategies and ideas by others.
  4. THE WHOLE PACKAGE. If you’re serious about business success, you can’t dip your toe in the water’s edge and dive in without the full support package there – to stretch a metaphor. You need a logo designing, words writing, business cards, brochures, printed literature, a website, a marketing plan, social media marketing in place. You do this BEFORE you launch your big idea, your business, your website.
  5. WEBSITE. Any business, whether sole trader start up, or an established multi-national company, needs an online presence. It shows and tells the world who you are, what you offer and how you do this. A website needs to be adaptable, attractive and future-proof. It needs to be visible globally, 24 hours a day, without interruption. It needs to showcase what you offer in a clear and compelling way. The layout needs to be logical, images attractive, the text easy to understand, with calls to action embedded on every page. It can have two sections: Home and Contact, or 22. The website design you choose and the team you choose to create this need to be able to adapt your shop window, your website, next week, next month, next year.
  6. MARKETING. We’ve all done this. Commissioned a website. Marvelled at it. Been creative with marketing for a month and then lose interest. You may not have done, but others have. Once your website is built, the real long slog begins. Networking to spread your brand, email marketing to potential customers who’ve signed up to your website, phone calls, printed marketing and the big one, social media marketing.
  7. SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING. Let’s make something clear if you’re embarking on a business venture, you may not give two hoots about social media. You don’t have a Facebook account, you never go on Instagram, Snapchat is for kids, you don’t get Twitter, you’ve forgotten your LinkedIn password and never bothered to reset it, or you just engage in one platform. You need to separate your personal social media points of views and start thinking of these as a marketing tool. You need a blended social media marketing approach – to capture the biggest audience on wherever they hang out and engage them. Not for a week, not for two months, but for the next few years. Yes it’s hard work, tweeting, posting Facebook statuses, sending Snapchats, posting on Instagram and LinkedIn successfully every day. There’s shortcuts, there’s quick wins but mainly it’s a creative slog. I personally love doing it for my own business and others. Others don’t – that’s why they pay me.

Now the point is this.

When you ask me to help your start up, you will get help.

  1. You will get a superb website designed on WordPress.
  2. You will get all the content written accurately and compellingly by me, a graduate in English.
  3. You will not be dropped when your website is live – your social media is run, with blog posts included on many packages, for a week, a month or beyond.

Contact me today – [email protected]

Google rewards fresh content and here’s how yo can do it.

Copywriting, blogging or sharing stories; informing, entertaining, prompting and challenging is one major factor that could make or break your business.

In grand terms, it’s called content marketing.

Which means providing content that is not sell, sell, sell, but help, help, help and which people read and feel compelled to share.

Share triggers – built into your blog post as icons at the end – or within Calls to Action in the post, means your content gets seen by more, leading Google to give you a virtual pat on the back or high five and push you from invisibility on search up through Page Rankings.

There’s no silver bullet for SEO or SMO but copywriting, in terms of your website content, and regular blogs, will make an impact.

It’s what I do at Get Pro Copy Ltd.

Google rewards fresh content and here’s how you can do it.

Let me expand – like my waistline does daily.

Producing and providing great blogging content is a 33% operation, or one third, if you’re old skool.

66% is promotion, or two thirds.

Think about an extended blog – spend a week crafting it and 2 weeks sharing it on social media, Quora, StumbleUpon etc, What’s App and messaging to get your content clicked and shared.

Blog posts need compelling titles, a minimum word length of 300 words and calls to action, inbound and outbound links woven throughout the copy, with those pesky CTAs.

You will notice many of the 107 websites I’ve designed have blog posts as a tab.

This is deliberate.

A blogging tab, fed weekly or monthly, marks you out as different to your rivals and people love reading great content and hearing stories, though not being sold to.

My own website has such a menu and you can rest assured that this is not aesthetic frippery but an integral part of my SEO and SMO strategy.

I can do the same for you – build that Blog tab, add posts, dependent on packages you choose and let you take over, or you can pay us to do it.

Open and transparent – my web design packages are here and my copywriting charges are also clear.

So why is a blog post such a great idea?

Here’s 10 reasons:

  1. Cost-effective: with a single one-off SEO researched post starting at £50, you can generate clicks and enquiries with a well-worded blog post.
  2. Quick: a weekly post doesn’t require hours of expended time. Click Add New Post on your dashboard, write the content and publish and share.
  3. Thought leadership: a blog post differentiates you from your rivals, showing that you know your onions and when someone comes to buy, the chances are they’ll pick you.
  4. Loveable: people do business with people they like and if your blogging strategy is informative and warm, with a real voice behind it, you will become liked and hopefully loved.
  5. SEO: Google loves fresh content and a weekly blog post is one of the best ways to climb those Larry Page Rankings organically.
  6. SMO: good blog posts, shared on your Social Media platforms, can generate other likes and shares and direct customers to your website.
  7. Bounce rate: the time people spend on your site before bouncing off. Regular blogging encourages repeat visits and new visits and keeps these potential customers on there for longer.
  8. Dynamic: once a website is built, the initial dynamism of people looking can quickly fade. Repeated blog posts makes your website appear refreshing, on a weekly basis.
  9. Multi-functional: a blog post can also be copied into printed documents like newsletters, brochures or email campaigns. That initial  spend could reach hundreds or thousands of readers.
  10. Brand voice: a great blog can be crafted in the tone and register you want for your brand, increasing your authority as a leading company.

Keen to know more about how Google rewards fresh content?

Contact this freelance copywriter and Norwich web design expert today.

Why isn’t there an Escape to the City?

I used to like watching property programmes – along with the rest of the population – back in the day.

Occasionally, channel surfing, I’ll pause still on “Grand Designs”, “Homes under the Hammer” and “Escape to the Country” and watch for 10 or 15 minutes. I don’t often linger as I saw most on first airing and I already know the outcome.

“Grand Designs” always goes over budget but they get there in the end, despite McCloud’s pursed lips and sotto voce mutterings to the Channel 4 camera team.

The hammer always falls on some wreck (oddly and usually in Stoke on Trent) with the owners quickly making £20,000 in six months selling to someone on a zero hours contract.

“Escape to the Country” is an absolute waste of everyone’s time, it seems to me, as everyone wants alpacas, three acres, a Waitrose within a mile for under £200,000. The voice over at the end confirms our suspicions that this couple were doing it for 50 minutes of fame on Dave and had no intention of ever leaving suburbia (and that Waitrose nearby).

I do wonder though about an Escape to the City, as to me city life, at least in Norwich, my closest, looks appealing.

Okay. I admit Spencer and Allsop the worst negotiators (and mum) on television cover that in their tiresome routine that never makes me pause the channel surfing, but a programme dedicated to city property, to me at least, has legs.

Would love to present it too. Warts and all.

I can see myself standing on Hills Road in Cambridge, saying look at these buildings, look at the size of John Lewis, but the noise and smell is unbearable. Don’t buy near here.

Or near Great Eastern Street in London, where my sister lived, saying “yes it’s trendy, but they empty bins at 2 am and you’ll never ever sleep well.”

Maybe I won’t land that job?

Norwich though is a different kettle of poisson.

There’s two areas I’d give a wide berth to in the city centre (I’m sure you can guess) but most parts I’d gladly call home and here’s why.

Norwich is quite cosmopolitan given that it is relatively isolated. It seems to me, from the north, to be quite prosperous too, and recession proof as it was never really a manufacturing base, apart from mustard. It is quietly entrepreneurial too, with many small businesses popping up and thriving around The Lanes.

Mostly though, it feels safe, very safe, as safe as County Durham.

It’s not the type of city where you keep one eye ready to look over your shoulder. There’s little anti-social behaviour in the city. There’s a serious and growing population of the homeless, but never, ever, walking or driving through Norwich night or day, have I felt any sense of threat, any frisson of menace. 

I think I could live there with my city centre address propelling me further up search terms for web design Norwich and freelance web designer Norwich

There’s another reason too. 

Last night, after a fine meal at Cote Brasserie, we went to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform “Romeo and Juliet” at the Theatre Royal. The food and performance were both excellent and walking across the city at 10.30pm back to the parked car, made me think that yes I could easily live here. 

And yes, I could easily present a programme on city living. 

I’d be more Karl Pilkington than Jools or Phil Spencer, but it’s something I could see myself doing and doing well. 

“Escape to the City” episode one Norwich presented by Stuart Walton – has a certain ring to it. 

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