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The Key To Unlocking Your Site’s Full Potential In 2018

2018 is the year where we aim to join forces with you so that you can get your business, or maybe just your personal blog, firing on all cylinders! How are we going to do that? Snapchat advertising? Celebrity endorsement? Flying your logo over the city? Training dogs to say your companies name? No, no, […]

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2018 is the year where we aim to join forces with you so that you can get your business, or maybe just your personal blog, firing on all cylinders! How are we going to do that? Snapchat advertising? Celebrity endorsement? Flying your logo over the city? Training dogs to say your companies name? No, no, no & no. Something far less elaborate, expensive, and down-right bonkers. We are going to go back to the tactic that still provides the best return on your investment: Search Engine Optimisation.

“But SEO is so 2009. How is that still relevant for 2018?”, I hear you say while scoffing at the thought of SEO being an essential tactic to your plan of world domination. Here are 5 important reasons SEO keeps you on top of the digital marketing game:

SEO is an essential component of the Marketing Mix

SEO is vital for promoting any business (with a website!)

Of course, it isn’t the only part of the mix – the challenge is how best to integrate SEO into your marketing mix to great successful marketing campaigns. SEO works side by side with many digital marketing channels and the success of either will feed into the other. You need to start with a strong foundation and SEO provides exactly that.

SEO helps Brand Building (both Online & Offline)

Branding is synonymous with marketing. The largest worldwide brands grew by not only selling a great product but by communicating a memorable message to the customer. The success of the world biggest companies is based on creating a strong brand association. “Just Google it.” Google is now a verb because of the strong assocation that the search engine built around their quality offering.

By getting more visitors to your site this ensures that more people get familiar with your business, more potential customers see your products online, and more satisfied customers make purchases. SEO is the perfect way to start this process and keep the website traffic flowing as your brand presence grows through your work on social channels.

SEO is not a Cost. It’s an Investment!

Think about it – with the skills you can learn online (through trusted SEO education sites *hint hint*) you can ensure your website ranks among, or above even, the largest companies which spend 100’s of thousands of Rands on marketing budgets. Now that’s a level playing field for the small business owner! Now you can compete with multi-channel advertising campaigns over multiple years through a cleverly crafted SEO strategy. Take that big corporate!

SEO ensures you create High Quality, Relevant Content

SEO is not only about a set of algorithms. Search engines such as Google don’t look for ‘code’, they look for great content.

Google, through its ranking factors and algorithms, rewards websites with relevant, well written content. This ensures that internet users get great content which is more likely to persuade them of how great you and your products are. The search engines gobble up high-quality content that allows you to show that you are an industry leader and an expert in your products. How often do you get the chance to show off so comprehensively while still enticing potential customers? Customers will love your top quality content, and the search engines even more so.

SEO drives Online & Offline Sales, Even While You Sleep!

Firstly, SEO enables your website to do what it does best – promote your business and sell your products online! If your website has reached a point where it ranks highly in Google, this means that even when you are sound asleep your site will reach potential customers and allow customers to order your products – in your dreams indeed!

And even if you don’t have website order facilities, your online presence ensures that anyone who searches for what you offer will discover your business online, find out where your physical store is and visit to purchase a product.

Plan Ahead and Make 2018 Your Year

2018 and you say SEO doesn’t matter any more? 2018 and we say even matters even more. How are you going to plan to include SEO in your plan for total dominance in 2018?

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How to Maximize the Benefits of Studying Online

If you are currently studying online while juggling a full-time job, and the daily stresses of life, congratulations on committing to bettering yourself through continuous education, it is no small feat, especially when you are already employed.

If you are currently studying online while juggling a full-time job, and the daily stresses of life, congratulations on committing to bettering yourself through continuous education, it is no small feat.. Now, I am sure you have heard this question before; “How do you get time to do all of it?”. While some are able to answer this question , most of us answer with a tired shrug while rubbing sleep deprived eyes. If you fall into the latter category, don’t feel insecure. The ones who can indeed answer that question either went through months of the same and only gained a rhythm after multiple courses, or they’ve become really good at hiding it.

After many long days and late nights, I have narrowed down the following tips that will hopefully help you just as much at succeeding at work, as well as achieving the results you want from online learning.

 

#1 Implement a realistic schedule, and stick to it

While this tip may seem fairly obvious, the importance of it lies in the “how”. Whether you are signed up for a course where all course material is available at once, or the material is released intermittently, a schedule is vital.

Before embarking on your course and diving in head-first, check the course’s timeline, the volume of content that you will be covering and whether you will be assessed on a specific date. Once you have an idea of what to expect, start having a look at your daily routine and when you have most free time to accommodate the course.

You may find yourself to be excited and energetic while planning your schedule, but please remember that you will not feel this way every day. Create a weekly schedule with a maximum of 4 study sessions per week on different days and don’t forget to take into account the extra time you may need for each lesson, i.e. interaction, recommended reading, practicals and more. Allowing for extra days in the week will also give you an opportunity to catch up if you missed anything. Since we all get busy with family, events, birthdays and the like, you need to allow for flexibility in your schedule and aim for a lower amount of study sessions to keep from being overwhelmed.

While it is super exciting to take the step in signing up for a course and to think about that nice certificate with your name on it, remember to pace yourself and define your schedule according to your own capabilities and lifestyle, even if it means completing the course later than you would have wanted to.

There are also many online tools at our disposal that we can use to keep track of our schedules. Make use of your online calendar, or even sign up on free project management tools such as Trello or Asana. I currently make use of Trello to track my online courses, to do lists, lessons, and assignments while being given the option to power-up all my cards with due dates, reminders, comments, checklists and so much more.

 

#2 Practise by doing

Since online learning provides us with a certain sense of freedom, do not allow this to hamper your discipline. The best practice is to treat your online course the same way you would have treated school. If your course has recommended reading, exercises, or questionnaires which will not interfere with your final grade, remember that there is a reason the course educator included it.

While we may feel that the amount of information is overwhelming, an added benefit of this is that we are able to work through this in our own time. According to The Research Institute of America, eLearning increases retention rates 25% to 60% while retention rates of face-to-face training are 8% to 10% (source). This is why you may feel that the amount of learning material is too much for the intended timeline, but we are more than capable of digesting this information as well as retaining it when it is covered in smaller increments.

After all, you have probably spent your hard earned money on the course, so why would you want to rob yourself of the full potential the course has to offer? In most cases, students are able to answer questions and pass without doing the recommended practical sections of the course, however, by doing this, you would be defeating the purpose of taking the course in the first place.

 

#3 Interact and engage

Nowadays online learning platforms are getting very close to recreating a real learning experience in the virtual world. Regardless of the college or website you are studying with, you will most likely find that they drive engagement with their students in on-site forums, social media, comment sections and even YouTube. Start viewing these mediums as your classroom and learn to engage with your educator and peers if you have any questions on the material or even if it is only to network with like-minded individuals.

Interacting with your “classmates” and lecturers will provide you with the full learning experience that the course intends to offer. When you participate in discussions on your course topic with other students, you will have a completely unique experience with the opportunity to gain various different insights, and most of the time you will find yourself learning beyond what the course content offers.

 

#4 Don’t lose sight of your goal

After doing many courses, I have found that a recurring problem I faced, especially with long-term courses, was losing sight of my goal and why I signed up in the first place.
By the time I reached week 3, my weekly study sessions started feeling like just another routine and this was normally the point where I would skimp on the recommended reading just to get it over with.

It is easy to lose sight of your goal when it takes a while to get there, but if you made the decision to study, it is likely because you are looking to improve your skills in your current job, improve your career, or even to gain new employment. Whatever your reason may be, it relates to something much more important than missing an episode of your favourite show, or having had one bad day; it is about your future and working toward something better and greater. Do not lose sight and do not slow down. When you get your certificate at the end, you need to be confident in the fact that you are actually capable and educated enough to prove what you have learned.

 

#5 Determine the value of your qualification

It is never easy to start working on a new goal especially when it is something that requires rearranging a busy schedule in order to make it happen, but the end results are worth it. Even though online education is extremely convenient and forgiving, it forces us to be accountable for what the certification’s value is.

Online education has placed a tremendous amount of power into the hands of the student by allowing us to mould how online courses are perceived by employers. To the detriment of many students as well as the e-learning industry, there are those who are able to make it through their courses without investing the time and effort that is truly necessary to be able to apply what has been learned and then have no skills to back up their certification. It is cases like these that devalue a course and its accreditation as well as the institution offering it.

If you absorb all an online course has to offer you by completing all the added exercises and studying the additional material like I mentioned above, you not only benefit yourself personally, but you also put the value back into the course and eLearning as a whole as well as what it means to have completed your course.

 

Since we are now in a digital era with so many channels that we could use to up-skill and educate ourselves, varying from free courses to premium courses, there is no reason not to take hold of these opportunities to further your career and skills.

For a further look at the facts and stats about eLearning, check out Shift eLearning’s infographic here.

5 Reasons why you should be studying online

I am sure that by now you have heard of how beneficial it is to study online, you probably have one or two friends that are studying online and are raving about how great it is. Whilst there are lots of articles out there that explain the benefits of studying online we thought we would […]

I am sure that by now you have heard of how beneficial it is to study online, you probably have one or two friends that are studying online and are raving about how great it is. Whilst there are lots of articles out there that explain the benefits of studying online we thought we would provide you with some idea as to why we believe you will benefit from studying online. We can’t guarantee that online learning is for you, as everyone is different and learns differently, but from our student’s feedback and our own experience, we can highly recommend it.

#1 The Ability To Learn At Your Own Pace

You probably already know this but the major benefit to studying online is the ability to learn at your own pace. Everyone learns at different speeds and whilst traditional learning doesn’t accommodate for this, online learning does. It affords you the opportunity to learn at a pace that better suits you. Say for example you don’t understand what meta data is and need more time to digest what you have learnt, with online learning you won’t be quickly rushed onto the next chapter before you have had the chance to comprehend what you have just read. You are instead given the opportunity to fully understand the concept.

#2 You Can Improve on A Niche Skill

Unlike traditional learning, online learning gives you the opportunity to focus your studies on a niche area. With online learning you aren’t forced to study a subject as a whole but rather have the opportunity to focus your time and effort on studying just the topic of interest. Whilst it is good to have a broad area of knowledge and expertise, sometimes it’s important to focus specifically on a topic that will improve your career prospects and that interests you.

why study online

#3 You Can Study Anytime From Anywhere On Any Device

Not everyone has time to go to class and spend 4 hours listening to a lecturer badger on about XYZ. For a lot of us this can get frustrating and you may find yourself missing important information. With online studying you are not forced to sit in a classroom for hours on end but can rather study for 45 minutes at a time if that is what you please. If you study at a time and place that suits you, you are more likely to absorb the information provided.  With online learning you’re not stuck in a classroom but can rather study from your home, office or even your favourite WiFi accessible coffee shop. And by not having to travel to lectures you can also save a great amount of time and money.

#4 You Are Able To Practice What You Learn Immediately

Whilst being book smart is great, it isn’t going to help you in the real world. In an interview situation, you’ll be given a practical situation that you have to solve on the fly. With online learning you are often given the opportunity to go through a chapter and immediately practice what you learn. There is no go-home and do it for homework, if you want to practice writing title tags for a website you can do it there and then, whilst you are reading the chapter. This allows you to properly make sense of what you are reading whilst the information is still fresh in your mind. Hermann Ebbinghaus created the forgetting curve which states that after an hour we have forgotten 50% of what we learnt and after 24 hours we would have forgotten 70% of what we learnt. That is why it is so important to practice what you learn as soon as you can, this reinforces the knowledge in your brain and helps you to retain that information for an extended period of time.

#5 You Are Able To Connect With Lecturers Easily & Conveniently

You would think that in traditional studying it would be easy to get hold of your lecturer and ask them a question but often this isn’t the case. We often hear stories of people who queued for over an hour to ask there lecturer a question about course material. With online learning this is not the case. If you have a question, you can ask via email, phone or even group chat and get your answer within the hour.

There are many benefits to learning online and with the huge increase in online learners over the past couple of years, it is becoming increasingly obvious that many students prefer online studying and its ease of accessibility. Did you know that the number of people studying online grows by 1% every year and that 34% of graduate students in 2015 were under the age of 25 that is 9% more than in 2012? This shows that online education is fast becoming the future of education.

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