How to Build a Website Series: 3. Wireframing

In Part 3 of my ‘How to Build a Website’ series, I’m going to be talking about wire framing, what it is and why it’s important. If you’re only just joining us, I’d recommend going back and reading Part 1 where we launch our project, and Part 2, where we cover the importance of defining outcomes. After defining the outcomes, we were really starting to get under the skin of how we wanted our website to work. Long gone are the days of just throwing up a menu and dumping text and a few stock images. We knew that we wanted customers to do certain things – to sign up to a newsletter, or to follow us on social media, or to attend one of our events, and now we needed to start figuring out how to make them do that. If you’ve been involved in website work before, you’ll know that we’re talking about […]

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Where have I been?

You might have noticed that I haven’t been posting as frequently as I had earlier in the year. I wish I had some super exciting project that was taking up my time, but truthfully, I’ve actually been swamped by the day job. To give a quick precis of what’s been happening, I’ve ended up with earlier starts and later finishes, and the complexity of my role has ballooned, meaning that by the time I get home, I’m often too tired to be bothered writing my next post. Fortunately, I’ve got a holiday coming up in the next week, and I’m hoping that will recharge my batteries, but I’ve also decided to try and restart my regular writing schedule this week. Like most of us, I’m no stranger to the ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ mentality, but I recognise that tomorrow never actually comes. Unless I make a conscious decision to start something today, I usually just kick […]

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4 Ways to overcome stress and uncertainty

“The only certain thing about the future is uncertainty” Ever since I lost my parents, I’ve embraced my lack of control over much of the world. When we’re young, we feel an almost limitless sense of certainty, but the truth is the world is random and uncertain. Because of this, I put a great deal of stock in the ability to keep my cool (when all around me are losing theirs). It might sound trite, but that line from ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling has always resonated with me. For those of you that haven’t read the poem, I’d recommend doing so. It’ll only take a few minutes, but if you can absorb and apply its wisdom, you’ll be well on your way to embodying a fair portion of the stoic virtues. Like much else in life, business, politics and uncertainty go hand-in-hand. Whether you’re struggling to make payroll, paying the latest set of bills, trying […]

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Avoiding an Investment Scam

Over the weekend, I was fortunate to be invited to Ascot to watch the races with my company. It was an absolutely fantastic experience – made all the sweeter for being the first time I’d been to the races and being able to take my partner Verity along with me. As my company sponsors the races, we were able to get tickets to the prestigious King Edward enclosure, rubbing shoulders with people I couldn’t have imagined sharing a drink with when I was younger. Over dinner that evening, the two of us started talking about how we could do that sort of thing more often. I started talking about investment risk and how an awful lot of what I’ve learnt so far has been little more than trial and error. Certainly, I read as much as I can on personal finance. I ask people who seem to have achieved something and know things on which […]

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Infrastructure Investment, Post Brexit

Multiple governments have recognised the need for modern infrastructure, capable of delivering and enabling high performance across our country. As with many issues in the political sphere, ministers have taken it upon themselves to craft a ‘long-term plan’, currently entitled the National Infrastructure Delivery Pipeline. I’ve got to admit, I’m a little sceptical of politicians rocking up to construction sites in hard hats and hi-vis jackets, but this increased focus on infrastructure is something I broadly welcome. Infrastructure drives economic growth, it creates jobs and has the potential to bring great improvements to lives across the country. It creates towns and cities, supports exports, keeps the lights turned on, lets us use our mobiles and computers, and provides protection against climate change. As the country looks to our political parties for their manifestos, we face a greater than usual level of uncertainty over what the future holds. In the construction industry, there is rising concern […]

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Building a Website Series: 2. Defining outcomes

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the work I’m doing on a website rebuild, and promised to use the work as a case study which could provide some insight to the way I carry out website builds. The last article in the series covered my work around auditing content, how I was carrying out the audit and some of the criteria I was looking to see within the website. Since my last article, two months has passed, and I can now update you on the work I’ve been carrying out before I start the bulk of the writing which is due to start next week. As I set about defining the criteria against which existing material was to be judged, I realised that little consideration had been put into what the client wanted to achieve with the website. Twenty years ago, most companies didn’t have a website, and the few that did have one owned […]

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The decline of the Labour Party

Last week, my concern over the political performance of the Labour party was compounded during a rout of voters in the local elections. It’s highly unusual for a political party to grow their share of the vote whilst being in power, but the Conservatives seem to have managed this during both the 2015 General Election and the 2017 Local Elections. Considering the dogged determination of Jeremy Corbyn to hold onto his position (based on the assertion that he has hundreds of thousands of Labour Supporters and so clearly understands what ‘the public’ wants), it seems to me that Labour is facing complete electoral annihilation at the next election. It seems to me that Corbyn and McDonnell (or at least whoever is formulating policy for them) seem to be totally out of tune with what is actually quite a powerful song to people my age. Last year, I wrote about the Panama Papers; a tax avoidance […]

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The need for a ‘new’ politics

I was lazily scrolling through Twitter this morning when I spotted a tweet from one of my Cousins who has a politically engaged friend. This friend has always seemed willing to engage in an honest discussion, so I thought I’d respond to their message that politics needs ‘a new way’. My first thought was that asking for a ‘new way’ of doing politics just seems lazy. We don’t have a dictatorship, so if a dictator appeared on the scene of British politics and tried to take over – should we follow them simply because they’re offering a ‘new way’. Of course, this wasn’t what the person was suggesting, but I hoped that they’d take my comment in the spirit with which it was intended. Fortunately for me, they did, and consequently expanded upon what they wanted to see in politics. The individual in question in Nicholas Taylor, who you can follow on Twitter (@NicholasTaylo10). He’s younger […]

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Essential skills for developing communications

I was once asked in an interview what my greatest career skill was – and I answered that I believed it was the ability to communicate, clearly and effectively, to people at multiple levels of a business. I believe I first learned the power of effective communication shortly after my Father died, when I began to really concentrate on how people were feeling when the spoke to me. For me, communication isn’t just about transmitting a message – it’s also about how you leave people feeling. When I was at University, I became increasingly aware of the different facets of communication and started working on it as a skill. I decided that, as far as I could maintain, I’d always be mindful of how I was connecting with people on both an emotional and intellectual level. There isn’t really a ‘right’ way of communicating with others – trying to mimic someone else usually comes across […]

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The importance of developing a range of knowledge

Once we get past the age of about ten, most of us start to see the importance of knowledge. Without it, we don’t see risks, understand how to get what we want or really understand the world around us. Most people that describe themselves as businessmen follow the stock markets, monitor local real estate develops, subscribe to blogs like mine and occasionally read a financial magazine or paper. But in their quest to become a subject matter expert, they focus too closely on a single subject, greatly limiting their range of knowledge. They concentrate on their industry, read books about it, attend seminars from ‘thought leaders’ and only network with people in the same field, narrowing their view of the world. Although I work in marketing and communications, I don’t really read books about it. The only marketing books I’ve ever read were course material at University, and aside from ‘Propaganda’ by Edward L. Bernays […]

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