Advice for Web and Instructional Designers
We have received a lot of Facebook and email offers for web design and SEO marketing for our site. This is expected any time you run a website with a lot of visitors. I get it, people are hungry for work. I have been in your shoes.
Ironically, web designers generally don’t stumble across a website like this one unless they saw mention of it elsewhere. Doesn’t that kind of signal that our promotional efforts have been at least semi-successful?
Our audience is pretty specific, and in this article I will share some tips that will result in you getting the web and instructional design contracts you are seeking.
Know Your Audience
Specifically, the visitors of this site are generally teachers r educational technologists. If I had to guess (and I am) they are looking for resources and tools to use with their students – or if they run an educational website for their visitors. So, to work with this audience you have to ask yourself what a teacher or school on the Internet needs. Or better yet, ask them. Polls and online forums are the best methods for this.
Have Something to Show Us
It’s better to point people to a website showcasing your body of existing work and let them decide whether they want to hire you based on what they see. You can be the best designer in the world, but that doesn’t mean that what you produce is what a potential customer wants. And, you can’t make everyone happy. For example, let’s say I run an educational site for gifted and talented college bound students. I would probably want a design full of pictures of successful, educated people, not one with puppies and rainbows.
I am much less likely to hire someone to design for me from an email telling me that you can help me design my website and optimize it for web searches, than if you send me a quick note introduction yourself and pointing me to your online portfolio. Spend some time developing your LinkedIn page and build a website portfolio.
Offer Content or Product
Most people will not hire you for a service like design. We have been conditioned to expect such services to be too expensive for an individual teacher to afford. Besides which, teachers are pretty creative people themselves.
If I were looking spend money to build a website or online classroom I would be much more likely to buy one that is already built and ready to go live. It’s in your best interest to experiment with the tools to do this like Content Management Systems (CMS) and Learning Management Systems (LMS). This audience is going to want to know if you can build them a Moodle classroom. This is NOT web design – it’s instructional design.
Networking is the key in any business. You have to work hard at building relationships. My advice here is to build a rapport with the providers (like us) and organizations. This means you will probably have to give away something to get noticed. Let me give you some examples:
- If you are a graphics designer, then create some professional looking graphics and offer hem to a website in your target audience with the agreement that they will post your name and a link back to you with the image. This is basically the same thing as a billboard.
- If you are a web designer, offer to build a website for a school for free if they will put your tag and a link to you at the bottom of every page you design. It’s best if you have them word it as “Our school would like to thank (you) for the work he put into designing our school page.”
- If you are an instructional designer, offer to help a school create (or fix) their online classroom. You name should be prominently displayed in every footer. Again, if should show that the school appreciated your help setting up their classroom. This is a lot of work and some will probably be willing to pay you once they see your work.
- If you are a writer, Start by blogging and get that blog picked up by as many educational sites as you can. Make sure each blog or article contains a link back to you.
- In all cases, offer to write blogs or articles on web or instructional design and ask sites to post it. Make sure you close the article with a link to you and your contact information.
- Also, there are a lot of pages out there that just suck up people’s blogs and publish them daily. These blog aggregators are doing this to offer free content in the hopes that readers will click on their embedded advertisements. Make it easy for them to link to your blog.
How Can We Help You?
We do have tools that will help you network with teachers.
- Visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/oneworldclassroom and comment there. Don’t hard sell, just get involved in discussions and politely offer solutions.
- Place a listing in our services directory at https://oneworldclassroom.net/services-directory/. Be very specific about what you are offering. We reserve the right to remove unrelated postings. Again, think about your audience.
- Submit articles for inclusion on our site. Send your article with a clear picture or graphic for the featured image that will show up on our page above your article link.
- Point us to your blog. This is done best through an RSS feed.
- Create a sample website/classroom and send us a link. We’ll be happy to post a link on our links page at https://oneworldclassroom.net/links/. Reciprocal links are always welcome.
- Or, contact us about hosting your page on our server and showcasing the result.
Send all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org