Our Blog

Posted by

Ben Kemp

Managing Director

Congratulations to a Digital Hero

We are very proud to announce that Pam Haigh from KidsOut: World Stories has won the award for the TalkTalk Digital Hero in the Eastern region.

The World Stories project is an online collection of short stories from other cultures, written and read in both English and in their original language.

The project aims to improve literacy skills for children, particularly those with English as an additional language and to help children gain an understanding of each other's cultural backgrounds.

Adept built the World Stories website back in 2010 and have seen it grow in to a great educational resource for parents and teachers.

Since the website launch the website has had over 176,000 unique visitors and now has over 2,000 teachers and 260 parents registered to access the materials on the website. This means that now over 165,000 children now able to benefit from this exciting project.

Over the years Adept has aided with the development of the World Stories website and added functionality as the project has grown from strength to strength.

We are excited about the future for Pam and World Stories, and are extremely proud to be a part of the World Stories project.


Posted by

Ben Kemp

Managing Director

Using your blog to its potential – Tips for growing your following

In the article posted recently, ‘Using your blog to its potential  - why writing article’s is so important,’ we looked at the benefits of writing regular and relevant posts on your websites blog. Now if you’re putting time and effort into producing good blog content, you want people to see it, and you may be too impatient to wait for the organic growth of your following.

Within this article, we’ll look at some tips on how to effectively grow your blog following and get people engaging with your content.

1. Work out what you want from a blog following

Identifying what you’re trying to achieve from your blog is paramount. It is what will form the foundations of your blogging strategy, and determine the tone and focus of your writing and the demographic that you’ll be targeting.

The goals that are set for a blog will vary from charity to charity; however, some of the more common reasons you may decide to start blogging will be to:

  • Generate support and donations
  • Communicate good news and success stories with stakeholders
  • Effect change and updates to relevant issues

Determining all of these factors in deciding to blog will give your articles a focus from the offset, and will connect with your demographic more effectively.

2. Linking to your Social Media

Your blog should be a major part of any social networking strategy that you have in place. It may be the case that you have a great following on Twitter and thousands of likes on Facebook and the sharing of your blog articles on these channels can drive significant levels of traffic to your website, thus growing your blog readership, and also potentially bringing in support through donations.

Here at Adept we recommend using bitly.com to shorten urls so that a links can be posted on Twitter.

3. Email Marketing

Utilising your email marketing platform (ours is SmartMail), is a great way of driving traffic to your blog articles. Placing an ‘our latest article’ link in an e-newsletter is a method we’ve used in the past.

This is important as supporters who sign up to the mailing list on your website, may not be so active on the social networks and would therefore miss out on content shared through the likes of Twitter and Facebook.

4. Homepage Feed

When we’re building a website, and a blog is being included within the build, we more often than not recommend that we develop a feed from the blog on to the homepage of the website.

This helps to publicise any new content posted on the blog to regular website users, which is significant as it shows your supporters that the website is current.

Any questions about this post, do feel free to drop us an email at hello@adeptdigital.biz or give us a call on 01263 734198.


Posted by

Dan Gothard

Operations Director

Using your blog to its potential – Why writing articles is so important.

If used to the fullest of its potential a blog can be a great tool for a charity. It can assist with the growth of a donor following, offer a human element to a website, raise exposure of events or campaigns and offer significant SEO benefits.

With a view to aiding charities with their blogging strategy, we’ll look at the benefits of writing regular blog posts.

Firstly, a blog system equips you with the tools needed to establish a voice for your charity. You may post about changes within the sector, industry knowledge, good news stories, recent successes, etc. Over time you will build a following of supporters that will use your blog as a valuable and respected resource for keeping in touch with the development of the charity.

The regular stream of new content being uploaded to the site is something that Google and other search engines favour as they look for websites which are using regularly updated content. When Google crawl your website and blog, they’ll see the regularly updated content being added, which will in turn benefit you in the search engine results pages.

If, after carrying out keyword analysis, you find that you’re not doing so well in certain keywords or search terms, you can target those keywords or terms by writing a blog post around that subject, incorporating some of the keywords within the articles. What may then happen is that the blog article would start to rank, so, in effect, you’ve got your website rankings here, which will result in a rise in website traffic.

As your blog following increases and people start to look to the blog as a resource for charity updates, etc., they may start to reference you or link back to your site through social media and their own personal blogs, which will mean more traffic. We’ll use the example that, you’ve just posted about a recent skydive event and that the charity has raised £XX amount. If 10 people share this on Facebook, 10 retweet on Twitter and then 10 people decide to link to this within their blog posts, you’re going to get traffic back from that.

As well as being great for search engines that crawl your website for new content, blogging will also offer plenty of content to post on the various social networks that your charity may be present on. Some charities may not have the best idea of how to communicate on social networks and resources may be an issue, as managing these effectively does take time, however, by blogging, you’ll already have content ready to post, and promote on the social networks.

One thing that can’t be underestimated is the public perception of the charities personality. A blog is an important tool in imparting the tone and friendly nature of the individuals working for the charity, and therefore the charity on the whole. If the public perceive your charity as friendly, there is a strong probability that you’re more likely to receive support from them as opposed to them visiting the website, and not seeing anything in the way of human interaction. The blog enables you to share with your website visitors and really start developing a charity profile and character besides that supports the brand identity and any external communications that you may or may not have.

The blog is a great place for you showcase any new services that your charity may now be offering. In the past, we’ve experienced clients that through acquisitions or mergers now have to promote additional sites, services or are servicing a whole new area. Obviously, should this occur, you need a quick update for website visitors or supporters and your blog post is a quick way of doing this with a view to following up with more information on the website in the future.

Finally, the management of your reputation is incredibly important. Blogging offers you a place on the website to react positively to any positive or negative PR received over social or any other media. A blog would give you the opportunity to post a positive reply to any Comms that required it.

If you have any questions about how you could utilise a blog system on your website, do feel free to drop us an email at hello@adeptdigital.biz or give us a call on 01263 734198.


Posted by

Ben Kemp

Managing Director

Why charities need a strong online presence.

As outlined in our previous post Additional and innovative methods of fundraising, charity donations have fallen significantly of late. This has a massive detrimental effect, as the decline resonates throughout the entire sector.

Although we’d like to think that all of us within and on the peripheries of the third sector are working towards a common goal, there is undoubtedly massive competition for any donations, which means that monitoring and staying in touch with giving trends is incredibly important.

With that in mind, we took a look in to the recent ‘Digital Giving Review 2012’ study that ‘Give as you Live’ and the ‘Institute of Fundraising’ have published and in which 500 UK charities took part. The report can be downloaded from here www.giveasyoulive.com/survey.

The executive summary reads:

  • across all charities, online audiences are now as large as traditional offline audiences: 51% online, 49% offline
  • in less than a decade, Facebook and Twitter audiences combined have grown to equal 35% of the overall charity audience
  • yet, despite this rapid growth, online channels represent only 30% of the overall income received, with 70% of charity income still generated through offline channels
  • all charities communicate with their online audiences more frequently than their offline audiences
  • however, larger charities are 1.51 times more likely than smaller charities to communicate daily with their online audiences
  • the primary barriers to successful online fundraising were identified as internal resources (37%) and donor resistance (24%)

The above figures suggest that 30% of the UK’s £9.3bn in charitable donations in 2011/12 were received online, which is a figure of roughly £2.8bn, and still a staggering amount of money.

In conclusion then, it seems that donations are following other online trends and growing at a considerable rate. There is a danger then that some charities, that don’t have a modern, strong online presence, could be missing out on donations and support and ultimately get left behind.

If you have any questions regarding this article, or would like some guidance on your online presence, do feel free to drop us an email at hello@adeptdigital.biz or give us a call on 01263 734198.


Posted by

Dan Gothard

Operations Director

Additional and innovative methods of fundraising.

It’s no secret that the current economic climate in the UK has had an enormous effect on charitable donations over the past few years.

When the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) released the ‘2012 UK Giving report’  back in November, research found that donations in 2011-12 fell by 20% which equated to a fall of £2.3bn.

In reply to these figures, a speaker at the recent NCVO Evolve event said that “charities could make better use of Crowdfunding, targeted marketing and skills sharing.”

The message from this is clear – In today’s climate, charities need to be constantly exploring new ways of securing donations from supporters.

Within this article, we’ll look at a few of the options that are available to charities, that won’t cost the world to set up.

Register with ‘Give as you Live’ or a similar platform

If you are a charity, school or church and not registered with www.giveasyoulive.com or a similar platform, you are missing out on a percentage of your supporter’s online purchases.

Give as you Live works with thousands of online stores, such as Amazon, B&Q , Tesco and John Lewis, that offer to donate a commission to charity on every online purchase.

When installed, Give as you Live highlights any websites which offer support, as can be seen in the image below.

A user will register for an account with Give as you Live and at that point select a charity to support – all commission earned then gets redirected to the charity.

This would offer an additional revenue stream for a charity, and the more people supporting you through these kinds of platform would result in more revenue.

Over £3.5m has already been raised on Give as you Live alone, and this is set to rise alongside the popularity of such giving devices.

Make use of Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has been around for a while but is only just starting to gain prevalence within the third sector.

Crowdfunding websites such as www.crowdfunder.co.uk and www.ukcfa.org.uk offer charities, not for profits and social enterprises a platform to pitch a project or campaign to website users. They can then invest as much or little as they want to.

This may not be so relevant for larger charities as this is basically just an extension of a charities website, however, it is an extra avenue of revenue and also will offer more exposure.

Register with Playmob or a similar platform

Projects such as www.playmob.com harness the power of the online gaming industry by offering charities to promote their projects through the website, and allowing gamers to select which game they play to help with a particular project, this works through a service called Giverboard.

Playmob lets charities fundraise by allowing players of online social games to buy virtual items linked to a charity. For example, a tractor bought in a farming game could be linked to a charity which assists with development in the third world.

The method of fundraising can increase engagement by getting in front of mass audiences online, whilst receiving an additional revenue stream.

The below infographic outlines how a user would donate.

If you have any questions about this article do feel free to drop us an email at hello@adeptdigital.biz or give us a call on 01263 734198.


Posted by

Ben Kemp

Managing Director

An introduction to Just Giving 'One-Touch'

The rise in donations from mobile devices is set to rise dramatically due to the imminent introduction of JustGiving’s ‘One-Touch’ donations service, which has been specifically designed to make donations via a mobile device much simpler.

The development is based on figures from April 2013, which saw mobile and tablet traffic to justgiving.com overtake desktop traffic for the first time and the prediction that “by 2014 (JustGiving) think around 70% of you will be using your smartphones to give to your favourite charity.”

There will also be the facility to opt-in to Gift Aid, which is recognised by HMRC. This will simplify the process of GiftAid donations.

This shift in the donations process on JustGiving is a further indication of the impending importance of the ‘mobile friendly’ website.

Please see our previous posts about ‘Responsive Design’ and ‘Dedicated Mobile websites’ for more information on achieving the best possible mobile website presence.

For more information visit the JustGiving blog at http://blog.justgiving.com/community/one-touch-donate/

If you have any questions regarding Mobile Friendly websites, do feel free to drop us an email at hello@adeptdigital.biz or give us a call on 01263 734198.


Posted by

Ben Kemp

Managing Director

Dedicated mobile websites

Following on from the ‘Responsive Web Design for mobile devices’ article, here is some information on dedicated mobile websites.

A dedicated Mobile site is a separate version of your website designed exclusively for mobile usage. This would, as I’m sure you’ve surmised, be totally separate to your desktop website and would be developed similarly to a microsite and be maintained separately.

An example of a dedicated mobile site is www.bbc.co.uk, which when visited on a mobile device will be prefixed with m.bbc.co.uk.

 

 

The difference is, that unlike responsive design, a dedicated mobile website can feature content tailored to a mobile user. Also development of a mobile site is usually a simplified version of a company’s main website, so can be put together fairly quickly, although this depends on what functionality the mobile site requires.

The dedicated mobile website’s main asset is that it can be built alongside a main website which at present doesn’t need any major re-development, so for example if you currently have no plans for a website re-design and you’re afraid of losing out on users that may be trying to access you website via a mobile device, a dedicated mobile site can be produced.

Some pros of a dedicated mobile site:

  • Building a dedicated mobile site is similar to creating a small website or microsite.
  • A dedicated mobile website would use tailor made content for mobile users.
  • Allows a completely unique mobile user experience as has no reliance on the desktop site.

Some cons of a dedicated mobile site:

  • Creates additional website administration by having two sets of content to maintain.
  • There are additional development costs and time over responsive design.
  • Relies on user agent switching to detect mobiles which needs constant updating for new devices.

If you have any questions regarding mobile websites do feel free to drop us an email at hello@adeptdigital.biz or give us a call on 01263 734198. 


Posted by

Richard Vickers

Account Manager

Responsive Web Design for mobile devices

Recent figures from the Q4-2012 Ipsos Mori Technology Tracker show us that 44% of adult internet users have accessed the internet via smartphones, a figure that has been steadily rising in line with smartphone ownership which is now at around 50% in the UK.

We are very aware that a charity may be risking user engagement and therefore donations by not reacting hastily to user trends so have been recommending that clients consider some kind of mobile optimisation on every new project that we approach and have been retrofitting existing websites that we have built previously with responsive technologies.

Instead of having two separate websites, each having a separate design and needing to be maintained separately, sites that use a responsive design incorporate different styling for different device profiles to make the site fit onto different sized screens, without the need for horizontal scrolling.

A responsive design affects more than just styling however. On a reduced size screen such as a smartphone there is less space for navigation and on-page elements, so certain content may be hidden such as large feature images that are only there for decoration. Certain buttons and adverts used on pages may also be hidden.

In order to make the site responsive, this needs to be considered at all stages of the design, planning and construction process, which is why it’s more difficult and less effective to retrospectively add responsive design.

 The image shows the DMUK website on desktop and repsonive designs

This is an image of the Disabled Motoring UK website that we designed and built, being viewed on both a desktop and mobile device. As you can see, the navigation has scaled down to a ‘menu’ which will open when clicked on within the narrow screen, and some content such as the members login has been omitted.

Some pros of responsive websites:

  • Responsive design simplifies the website navigation leading to an improved user experience, which is paramount when trying to secure support from the website visitor.
  • No increase in website administration as you’d only be updating one Content Management System.
  • You will only have one set of statistics to analyse.
  • Your website will only have one URL, which is great for SEO.
  • It is relatively inexpensive and fairly swift to implement.

Some cons of responsive websites:

  • They are often not as fast as dedicated mobile websites.
  • They are based on exactly the same content as the desktop website, so content can’t be rewritten for a mobile audience.
  • You will have to make some compromises with regards to design and content.

Conclusion

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s the continuing development of new technology, which means that smartphones will become even more affordable to a wider proportion of the market, which will bring with it a further rise in mobile website usage.

A mobile user that can’t find the content they are looking for simply and concisely is likely to leave the website along with their donation. Charities can’t afford to lose users and potential supporters by failing to offer a decent mobile website experience, so it makes sense to get on board with this growing trend as early as possible.

If you have any questions regarding responsive design do feel free to drop us an email at hello@adeptdigital.biz or give us a call on 01263 734198.


Posted by

Ben Kemp

Managing Director

Disabled Motoring UK - New website launch

We are very proud to announce the launch of the new Disabled Motoring UK website that we have designed and built.

Disabled Motoring UK provides a mobility information service to the general public. Their members receive access to information Officers who can help with more complex questions and provide in depth knowledge of the sector.

Back in October 2012 we started work on a new information architecture for the website. Our aim was clear; we wanted to build and equip Disabled Motoring UK with an online platform to aid with the future development and growth of the charity.

The new website boasts an online shop, online membership registration, our tried and tested news system, advertising space to provide income and also incorporates responsive design, which enables the website to scale down when being viewed on mobile devices.

The site is now live and is receiving positive feedback and we are delighted to say that the Disabled Motoring UK team are thrilled.

It was a pleasure to meet and work with the Disabled Motoring UK team. To take a look at their new website, please follow this link: www.disabledmotoring.org, and take a look around.


Posted by

Ben Kemp

Managing Director

Allergy UK website goes live

Allery UK logoAdept have just launched the new website for Allergy UK, the leading national charity dedicated to supporting the estimated 21 million allergy sufferers in the UK.

Watch out for the full case study of how we approached this project with the charity – coming soon.

Click here to visit the website