Global Wire Associates

Support News and Information for Refugees

President Trump’s executive order banning immigrants and refugees from Muslim-majority countries has been disturbing to many, including myself.  I work with two videographers from Somalia who regularly travel back Mogadishu and Nairobi to see family, and this may now be up in jeopardy.  This also touched me personally because my whole family immigrated to the United States from Jamaica in the 1970s so I could have better opportunities.  Many of them also have green cards.  I worry about how Trump will expand the order in the new future.

I have been lucky to meet with many immigrants and refugees throughout the years through my work at Global Wire Associates, where we provide basic computer literacy and media development training to those who support making communication accessible to all.

Many immigrants and refugees depend on clear and concise news and information to stay abreast of issues directly affecting them.  Internews in South Sudan has developed an innovative recorded audio program to provide life-saving and life-enhancing information to people displaced at four of the UNMISS Protection of Civilians sites across South Sudan following the conflict in that broke out in that country in mid-December 2013. The service utilizes a quad bike that moves around the site playing the programs in dedicated public spaces, at “Listening Stops”, through speakers that are bolted to the bike. A USB flash drive with the twice weekly professionally produced program is plugged into speakers.

Internews is a leader in humanitarian communication.  If you can, please consider making a donation to the organization to help them to continue their good work!

Time To Do a Spring Content Audit

The Web Design ProcessSpring is here, and it is time to do some cleaning, and I am not just talking about around your house.  Now is a great time to do an inventory on your online presence by doing a content audit.

What is a content audit?

No, a content audit has nothing to do with your taxes.  Rather, it is an inventory check of the content on your website, social media or other online platforms.

Why would I want to do a content audit?

The main purpose of having a content strategy is to make sure the information you are presenting online is consistent with your organizational messaging and brand identity.  It’s a good idea to do audits to keep your content on point.

What things should I be looking for in a content audit?

This depends largely on what the goals are behind your content strategy.  An audit can be an inventory of your whole website, or certain parts of it.  Some audits might just look at the effectiveness of your email newsletter or social media strategies.  There is also something called content sampling, where you randomly select content on your website to review.

How exactly do you conduct a content audit?

In the simplest fashion by using a spreadsheet, a basic audit for a website will include columns for the following: Page Title, Page URL, Keywords/SEO, Description, Date Published and Audit Date.  There you want to go through your website and fill in the rows with the metrics you are auditing. If you use a web traffic reporting tool like Google Analytics or Hootsuite, you would need to match the traffic with the pages.

You will spend your time reviewing the conversion rates and content for your pages on the spreadsheet.  Specifically:

  1. What are the web pages or links with the most or least traffic?
  2. Are images easy to view and tagged correctly?  
  3. Is your content up to date?
  4. Are pages meeting the standards for web accessibility?
  5. Are blog posts written with proper grammar and appropriately embedded SEO keywords?  
  6. Do you need a redesign of your website?
  7. Are your email and social media outreach consistent with content posted on your website?   
  8. Can some content be repurposed on other platforms?  
  9. Should you stop using a certain platform if it isn’t giving you the needed results?
  10. Etc… other content questions specific to your audit

Now would be a good time to correct and/or delete any content that no longer serve your purposes. Depending on how much content you are reviewing, like a website with hundreds or even thousands of pages, the process might take a while and you will need to get your co-workers or colleagues to help you.

How often should I do a content audit?

It depends on what your content strategy looks like.  Most people do it quarterly or annually to coincide with company financial and marketing reporting.  Others do it monthly or even weekly.  No matter how often you do an audit, it is always a good idea to review how your content strategy is working for you.

I still need help with doing a content audit

You can contact me or my staff at Global Wire Design about getting further assistance with a content strategy and audit or web design and marketing support.  We are hosting an “Extreme Website Makeover” on 14 May where we will showcase a “before and after” of two websites we redesigned recently.   Space is limited and priority will be given to current and past GWA clients, so sign up now at info(at)globalwireonline(dot)org.  

On Immigrants, Refugees and ICT

GettyImages-migrants-with-phones.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smartOver on Global Wire Associates’ blog this week, we have a post about how technology is support the recent influx of Syrian and Latin American migrants entering eastern Europe and the United States, respectively.  Our blog is designed “to provide thoughtful coverage and commentary on the politics of technology and social innovation.” In the last couple of days we have received a barrage of emails, criticizing us for “promoting a pro-immigration agenda.”  Global Wire Associates doesn’t have an official position on the very complex issue of immigration; the point was to showcase how apps and coding are being used by migrants.

But I guess many of you didn’t view it that way.  So I decided to publish a couple of the emails we received so far here. Most of them were about the American immigration debate.  I withheld their their names and email addresses.

“I do not understand why you all are telling illegals how to enter this country illegally.  This is very irresponsible and your blog should be shut down!”

“Germany is being overrun by these Syrians.  I don’t care for teaching them how to code.  They and [Angela] Merkel must go!”

Again, this is just the opinions of others and we didn’t take any specific policy position here.  Many of them complained that illegal immigrants were taking jobs from natural born citizens.  One of the points we brought up in the post was about Refugees on Rails, a nonprofit that teaches refugees how to code, which is a useful technical skill needed in today’s job market.  Despite complaints from anti-immigration advocates, in this case, refugees who are properly trained are taking jobs that are not being filled by native citizens.  

As in the United States, European countries have a severe shortage of people pursuing ICT careers.  A report shows that Europe will have 800,000 ICT jobs unfilled by 2020 if nothing is done to increase the number of workers, and most of these digital skills deficits are seen in poorer eastern European countries.  Programs like Refugees on Rails can actually jumpstart the economy with technologists who are eager to work in their new home countries.

This is a slightly different issue in the United States, where most undocumented immigrants tend to work in under-the-table jobs in the agricultural and janitorial sectors – again, jobs most U.S. citizens don’t want to do.  The reality is that there are over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and they are not all going to be shipped back to their home countries, despite whatever Donald Trump says.  Maybe there should also be something similar to Refugees on Rails in this country for immigrants who want to work legally in an in-demand ICT field that pays a living wage.   

I guess I will get negative emails for saying this too.  But before you email me, please tell me if you have a better solution for the immigration crisis and the economy.

Why You Need a Personal Website

Website Wireframe Sketch On Digital Tablet Screen

One of the most frequently asked questions by my clients is whether or not they should have a personal website.  Many of them are job seekers looking to better brand themselves to potential employers.  In my opinion, I think personal websites can only enhance your chances of finding your dream job.  And, no, I am not just saying this because I am a web designer trying to get new clients.  I say this coming from my own experience with this website.  

I am self-employed in journalism and digital marketing, so it is a must that I have a website that showcases who I am and my previous work.  In today’s competitive market, anyone in any field that is not self-employed also needs a website to get the next job.  

Let’s break down the reasons:

  1. You can control your brand – The first thing most recruiters do today is google the names of prospective job applicants.  As many of you know, both good and bad things about you can show up in a google search.  Having your own website can control your brand and help protect your reputation online.  Presenting information on your own website shows you in the way you want others to view you online.  Also, having your name as the website’s URL (yourname.com) also establishes your brand and will guarantee that your site will show up on the top of the first page in search engine results.
  2. Sell yourself – The whole point of your personal website is to sell yourself.  Why should someone hire you?  Your online portfolio should be a grand showroom of your best work for recruiters who want additional information about you that goes beyond a CV or resume.  You can show off what makes your skills and personality unique and marketable. Also, anyone in the world can see your website, and you never know where your next job will come from.  I have gotten really awesome job opportunities from people who happened to stumble upon this website!
  3. Show your investment – Having your own website shows others that you invest in yourself and career by branding yourself online.  Employers will take you more seriously.
  4. You are accessible – Having a website makes it easier to find and contact you about work.  Your website should have a clean, simple navigation design, where it is easy to find your biography, contact information and samples of your work.  Stick to the three-click rule, make sure your site supports web diversity and avoid busy-looking websites like the plague.
  5. Links to social media and networking tools – Your website can also be the one-stop to all of your social media accounts, which makes it easier for recruiters to find you online in other places.  You can also put links to other online spaces where recruiters can find your work like Behance.  A word on social media: a lot of people ask me why they should have a website, when they already have a Linkedin or Facebook page.  The reasons are already stated above.  Everyone’s social media accounts look the same.  Having your own website distinguishes yourself from others and showcasing your unique skills and personality.  Furthermore, there are always new social media tools coming onto and going away from the market.  Websites are more future-proof that can grow with your career.

Now that summer is over and everyone is back to regular work and school schedules, now is a great time to think about doing a personal website.  Global Wire Design is running a 10 percent discount on all of its services until 30 September 2015.  Contact us about your online marketing solutions!