Training Provider Dashboard - Explained


Dashboard

When you first login to your new account dashboard, the page you land on (i.e the home page) we like to think of as a bit like a flight deck, i.e. it's somewhere that gives you a very quick snapshot of your relationship with us. Basically, the home page contains multiple different content blocks of various types of information. These blocks relate to the sub sections found deeper within your dashboard. This will include things like your latest visitor stats, new enquiries, unopened messages, orders from us and any other bits of important information associated with your training providers account.

When you click on any of the mini content blocks that are shown, this will take you deeper into your dashboard and to a more in-depth version of the item you just clicked on. Your home page is really a "for informational purposes only" page and merely provides an executive summary of your entire account.

Company Information

The way you enter and manage the information we hold about your company is very straightforward and is merely a case of entering your info into the fields provided.

Via the "company" sub menu in your dashboard is where you enter your company's basic info. Some of it will already be there from your registration. The first block is your company address and contact details and your general contact email. We'll use this email address to send you enquiries as and when they're received. We'll also use this particular email address to display to your visitors, so please ensure that it's one that's well monitored. Your company logo can also be uploaded here. To upload your company logo file, simply click on the "upload logo" button and select the relevant image file from your computer. Please ensure that the file you upload to us is in either .jpg, .png or .gif format. And don't worry about the size of any logo image you want to upload because, as soon as we have that logo in our system, we will then give you the opportunity to crop and resize it to fit the size and proportions that we need. A logo that's in landscape style (i.e looks like it's laid on it's side) tends to work best for us.

The final point to note about this first block is that, by default, the ability to change your company name has been disabled. This is mostly for security purposes and not simply because you can't. If you do need to change your company name, perhaps because of takeover or a change of ownership, then please contact us and we will help you with that process. Again, by default, we also do not allow the changing of the root domain name of your company email. What we mean by this is, if your company email is Joe@joe.co.uk then you can change this to Frank@joe.co.uk but you won't be able to change it to something like Frank@frank.co.uk. If you see what we mean. In other words, you can change the prefix name of your email address, but not to anything which switches you away from your registered domain name. This is strictly for security purposes. Please contact us if you need to change your company email and we will do that for you once we're assured that the person requesting the change has authorisation to do so.

The next information block is where we ask you to tell us what type of training company you perceive yourselves to be i.e. Would you regard the type of training you provide as being health and safety or business or perhaps I.T or medical etc etc. The reason we ask you this is, because, depending upon what type of training business you believe yourselves to be helps us classify you in our system and allows us print your business in the right place. If you find the choice difficult, perhaps because your business straddles multiple categories in the types of training you provide, then simply tell us what you think is your most active classification.

After that, you can then tell us your opening hours, the payment gateways you accept for payment and the web addresses of your facebook, twitter and linkedIN accounts (if you have such things). Please ensure that when you add your social media links, you do so in the style that's demonstrated on the page.

And finally, the last block on your company page are about your users i.e. the people you want to allow access to your account with us to manage your training. If you are the person who has set up your company account in the first place, then you automatically have admin privileges and are able to add new users, delete them and set user privileges. The two options you have when setting up new users are to either give them administration rights (which are similar to yourself) or give them staffing rights, where options are more limited.

You can read more on the sign up process and why we need your company information here

Classroom Courses

Under the "courses" sub menu you will find the place to tell us about your classroom based training courses. The courses you set up here are those types of training courses which you provide face to face in a classroom and not those courses you conduct online over the internet. We'll deal with those later on. Your classroom courses are ones which might subsequently form the basis of any open / public courses you might want to set up later, but they are not to be confused with open courses themselves.

To set up the basic details of a classroom based course, all you need do is open the form and then begin telling us the details of that particular course. Once you've told us the name of your course, it's important then that you match it against the database of courses we already have in our system, of which there are currently about 30,000. We ask that you do this so as to ensure that there's no confusion over what your course actually entails and also so that you get included in the list of providers we print to visitors searching for that course type. To match your course with our list of courses, simply start by typing the common name of what that course might generally be called (you might need to try several variations) and then select a course match as it appears.

Once you've completed that process, all you then need to do is tell us the details of that course itself. You do this by answering a simple set of fixed questions. You can skip this process for now (if you so wish) and your course will still be created. However, skipping is only recommended if you just want to quickly get started, it shouldn't be something that you never get round to doing. This is because whenever a visitor views your training course, they want to have something tangible that they can read and see what they'll be getting if they then choose to book. Also, if we have to send any prospective clients of yours an email which only has a course title and no other information, then this won't mean an awful lot to them and there's a chance you'll lose that business as a result. Web site visitors also like to be able to compare course information and nothing puts a prospective client off more than when they can't see anything other than just a course name. So do please ensure you give us as much information about your courses as is possible and as soon as you get the chance.

Once you've set up your course or courses, we'll then display these to you in a list. You can go back and edit any of your courses anytime you like.

You also have the ability to add course images. These might be photos of you conducting that type of training or they could perhaps be stock images of that training taking place. We have learned that clients make more enquiries for courses when that course information is accompanied by an image, especially when that imagery or photo is clearly unique and is of you conducting the training. To upload a course image, simply click on the upload button against the relevant course type and a pop up window will then show you the way. Again, only jpg, gif or png images please and do only upload those images for which you have permission to use. Within the image popup window you can also add, edit or delete any of your existing images. Do please remember to save or update everything once you have finished.

You can read more about adding course content and uploading images here.

Training Venues

The geographically fixed locations where you conduct your classroom based training courses are what we call your training venues. These might be the address of your own purpose built training location, your head office, a room you hire from time to time or perhaps a meeting room at a local hotel. Point being, you do not actually need to own a training venue in order to have that set up as one of places where you train. If you run open training courses, you will need to have at least one training venue set up first before you can then tell us about any training dates or courses that you run there. In order to get you started, we've taken the liberty of assuming that your registered address is one of your training locations, so this should already show in your list of venues.

Training venues are set up in much the same way as your training course types are, being that you start by giving your venue a name and then you tell us more about that venue by using the prompts provided. Again, much like courses, you can add images or edit the details of any existing venues simply by selecting them from the list.

The information your clients want to know about your training venues are things like what facilities it has, how near is it to public transport, is there parking on site or nearby and what refreshments they will get whilst attending training at that venue. Adding this information is allowed for in both the venue creation form and in the venue edit.

Your venue images might be of the training room itself, the building in general, the view from the outside, an aerial shot of the area or maybe even a map with a marker on it showing people where you are and/or directions from the nearest landmark. In addition to being able to add your own venue images, you can also "snap!" your venue from the road using our Google Streetview feature. To do this, you simply hit the Snap! button alongside your venue name and select the viewpoint of your choosing from within the pop up. If no streetview image is presented, simply enter your postcode in the field provided and snap whichever angle you desire. When you're happy with your streetview image, save it and we'll add that together with your other venue images. If you have uploaded more than one venue image, you can also choose which one is your favourite and this we will then make as your "main" image. Your "favourite" image will be the one we print in the search results and when we show a summary of where you train to your visitors. All the other venue images you upload will be printed in an image gallery that your visitors will be able to scroll through when they view your company. Much like course images, venue images are just as important and seriously improve the number of enquiries you receive.

Learn more about registering training venues and why providing additional information is important here

Open / Public Course Dates

Under the "dates" sub menu in your dashboard are where you'll find the place to add, edit and delete your open training course dates. More than 40% of the total number of enquiries we receive across our entire network are for those classroom courses that have a fixed date, venue and a price per person - i.e public training courses which we call "open courses". In other words, training which anyone can join, provided they have the appropriate prerequisites (if applicable of course). We've spent many hours trying to ensure that the way you tell us about your open courses is as simple and as straightforward as it could possibly be.

When you first add an open course date, you will need to have both a course and a venue already set up in your account. If you already have this, then the way you set up your first open course date is to select your course type from the drop down menu and then do the same and select your venue. After that, you simply follow the prompts as listed. You must ensure you complete every field, including the part where we ask you for a wholesale price per person, for this will be that price that you agree to charge us, if and when we book our own clients onto that course. We'll not divulge this wholesale price to anyone else and this will strictly be for our eyes only. Minimum discount terms to us may apply.

Once your newly created open course has all the information required, simply click on the "Add" button and that course will immediately be listed in your account and be displayed across our entire network, which will include being printed on the training website that we have built for you and on TrainingDirectory.co.uk. We will also be advertising that course ourselves on Xyz.co.uk and informing any clients of ours who might be waiting for such an open course to crop up.

Much like your venues and courses, once you've set up an open course this then will be printed on the page underneath and you can choose to go back and edit any of these whenever and how often you like. You can also cancel an open course, maybe because it's full or through lack of numbers and, in order to do this, simply click on the edit button and then press cancel on the pop up page that appears. Your course will then be removed from public gaze. Do note however that you will not be able to cancel an open course if we ourselves already have a confirmed booking with you for that particular course. In this hopefully rare instance (where you want to cancel a course for which we already have a confirmed booking) we ask that you telephone us immediately. Please do not, under any circumstances, simply email us any cancellations for that email may not be read or actioned in time and we'll then end up with some very disgruntled clients.

As well as being able to add open courses one at a time, we've also provide you with the ability to "replicate" the details and structure of any existing open courses you have, thus creating multiple open course dates all in one go. This feature is particularly handy for those partners of ours who consistently train the same course type at the same venue, perhaps once a week or every month etc and where the cost and general information is the same. In order to use this replicate feature, simply open the multiple training dates form, select the course and venue from the drop down menu provided (if none are displayed, you will first need to set up an open course first), then simply provide us with the various start dates, available delegate places for each and "any other" relevant dates associated with each new course date you want to set up. We'll then add all those dates to your account with a single click of your mouse.

We have also devised a process by which partners can submit to us open courses by spreadsheet. A lot of our partners manage their open course schedules on a spreadsheet, so we thought, why not devise a way to take those spreadsheets and automatically update course information based upon the information contained therein. In order to use this feature, you must first download either a blank spreadsheet template from us or download from us a spreadsheet that's pre-filled with the existing open courses of yours that we know about already. It should be emphasised that you must use our spreadsheet and not one that you've created yourself. Once you have downloaded your spreadsheet, all you need to do is open that document with your favourite spreadsheet editor (such as excel), add or edit the open course information there-in, save the file and then re-upload that document back to us. And that's it. We will process your spreadsheet automatically, add to your schedule any new dates that you've added and edit any existing courses where the course information has changed. This is a particularly handy feature for those partners of ours who have hundreds, perhaps even thousands of open courses in their schedule. However, If you do not use our spreadsheet template, we will not be able parse (technical term for "use") the information you send us. Our spreadsheet template has embedded code that we've added which is unique to us. It's also been formatted in such a way that our system can understand.

Lastly, we should also take this opportunity to mention our new export feature which allows you to you update your course schedule with any other 3rd party sites that print your open course information. This is something you can read about here

And very very finally, please note, unless it's been specifically requested by us or by one of our agents, please do not send your open course schedules to us by email as these probably won't be read or acted upon in any way.

To learn more about creating open courses please visit this page or visit our FAQs section.

Business Inbox

Your business inbox is probably the most important tool in your entire dashboard armoury, for this is where all your direct enquiries from prospective new clients can be found. Your inbox will also show you any enquiries and orders that you might have received from us.

Your inbox acts just as any other regular email inbox does and the messages you receive here can be opened, read, replied-to or interacted with in much the same way. Your inbox will contain three types of messages. Direct enquiries from clients, training enquiries from us (where we require some sort of response from you) and orders from us for any training we have purchased.

When your inbox receives a new enquiry we will notify you immediately by email and if, by any chance, some or any messages of yours remain unopened after a couple of days, we'll again remind you by email once more. Interacting with your inbox is fairly straightford. All you need to do is simply go to the "business" sub menu in your dashboard and click on any of the messages contained therein. Once opened, they will display the message contents. Messages will be displayed here in date order. If any message is from us then you will be provided with some further simple choices. If the message is direct and from a potential new client then what you do with that message and it's contents is solely up to you. Your orders from us are displayed behind the order tab. When we ourselves send you a message, all we would ask is that you treat our enquiries in the same prompt way as you would any other enquiry. And if you ever get problems with your inbox and, because it's so important, please mail us using the contact us form or check out our FAQs page for answers to some of the more common questions.

And if you'd like to learn more about your inbox and in how you can handle enquiries, then you can read more about that here

Training Directory

The largest and most visited directory of training providers in the UK is our TrainingDirectory.co.uk platform and a new and updated version of the site is soon to be released. Your entry on the new TrainingDirectory.co.uk can be controlled and edited by you using the "Directory" sub menu in your dashboard. The content you supply us here will print on both your page on Training Directory and on the free website we have created for you. Regardless of your membership status, virtually every piece of content you tell us about will be included on your training directory entry, so please fret not if you are a basic member and believe that we are going to restrict some of your content from being printed on the site simply because yours is a free membership. The differences between our membership packages only apply to where your company gets listed on the site when visitors search for training. Business and Professional members benefit from some additional exposure and they also receive a boost in their ranking when we print a list of providers to the 5 million plus visitors that use our various platforms each year. Paid members also featured prominently on our homepage and are recommended to clients who contact us looking for advice as to who to they should buy their training from. Upgrading your company to our business or professional membership is recommended, but it is most definitely not compulsory and basic members still receive a premium service from us, regardless that their membership is free.

Setting up your training directory options are as follows. First up, your Accreditations and Memberships - this might be any awards your company has received, what governing or trade bodies you are members of or what it is you are qualified to train or teach in. You can add up to three awards and edit or change that content as and when you like. Please do not provide any hyper links in the descriptive text however as this will automatically be removed and your text then won't make sense.

Homepage Cover Image - This is the background image we print to your visitors when they visit your Training Directory entry. The images supplied by us are pre-made to size and have been darkened so as to ensure that the text which overwrites them looks good. The images we have provided are from a cross section of training types and you can select the one you feel most fits the training you provide. Simply click on the image you require or otherwise our default background image will be shown.

Extra Images - You already have the ability to supply to us course and venue related images. This block however is for any additional images you want to show that doesn't already fit any of the aforementioned categories. Much like your course and venue images, all of them will be packaged up and shown on your training directory page in a global gallery of all your images. Uploading any new images is simple, just click on the browse button, find the file on your computer and then hit Upload. Provided that image is a jpg, .png or .gif file, it will be automatically added to your image collection.

Your Services - These are common training company services that cover a broad spectrum of the types of services any training company might provide. Red means you do not provide that service, green means that you do. Simply click on / click off any service you provide and change it to the relevant colour. We will print any of the services you provide on your training directory entry.

Special Offers - These are a great feature for Professional Edition members as they give to those members an enhanced way of informing visitors of any special offers or discounts that they currently have available. These special offers get great exposure on our network as we promote them ourselves on the front page of some of our platforms and we also submit them to Google and the other search engines. This will ensure these special offers rank highly in search results. Special offers also feature prominently on both your training directory page and on your free training website. You can add up to three special offers at a time and all you need to do is tell us the course name, the offer title and content, the price clients will pay and when that offer expires. As soon as the offer date has passed we will cease printing it on the site.

Additional Links - Quite simply, additional links are just text links you can add to your training directory page which, when clicked, will redirect your training directory visitors to any 3rd party website/s of your choosing. Available to business members and up, you might want to include links to your own website or perhaps to information about your company which is hosted elsewhere. Text links (and if you choose the right keywords to link) are a great way to get (what are known as) backlinks i.e. something which Google holds in high regard when it decides the order by which it prints search results for those words. You can learn more about backlinks here

Embeded Videos - As the training industry moves more towards rich content and the greater use of visual content, more and more of our partners have videos to aid both their training and promotion of their training services. Your Videos, which might be hosted on places like vimeo and on youtube, can now be embedded on both your training directory page and on your free website. If you have videos to show, simply post the link to where your video is hosted or provide us with the embed code and we will display your videos on the site, so that you visitors can view them without having to leave. Embedding videos also gives a much more interactive experience for visitors which not only improves your bounce rate but also increases the number of enquiries you receive.

Reasons Why - Answer this question. Clients should choose your training business because? This block is what you might call sales or marketing spiel. All companies have hooks and unique reasons why their businessis best and why it stands out from the crowd. Well here is a way to get those messages across. In order to tell visitors why your business is so great, all you need do is give the reason why they should choose you a catchy title and then explain more about what you mean. An example might be a title like - "Voted Best Trainer 2014" and a description that might say "In the Somerset & Avon region, we were voted best regional cider making trainer for that year". You get the picture. Up to 3 headline reasons can be added to your profile here and you can edit these at any time.

If you want to read more about the various settings and options you have for your Training Directory entry, then you can do so here

eLearning

Some say that, as technology improves, online learning or eLearning, as it's more commonly known, is the future of all education and training. Being at the coalface, we're already seeing that change take place so, it's not a statement we could disagree with. The good news is, being well positioned in the online learning marketplace, with our eLearning.co.uk product, we're already set up to help with that change and we've made it our mission to assist our training partners seamlessly and painlessly take their first steps into what, for some, will be the unknown. We are building an eLearning product for both the training providers who are yet to enter the market place and one for those who have already begun embracing it.

We've made becoming an eLearning provider with us as about as simple as it could possibly be. For not only will we offer a service to take existing eLearning courses and promote them on behalf of our training partners but, perhaps more importantly, we also intend to provide the means and the knowhow to help those partners who are yet to begin training online by giving them a platform on which they can easily create and build eLearning courses with us without them having to have any technical expertise whatsoever.

The starting point, and regardless of whether or not you already have the actual content to build an online course, is to tell us what courses of yours you think could migrate to online. What we want is merely the outline of any courses you think we could build together, not the actual eLearning course itself. And you can do this right away..

Found under the eLearning sub menu in your dashboard you will find a similar set of prompts as that found in the classroom courses menu. In so much that we need from you the name of your prospective course, the category it should be listed under, the basic course information and who that course relates to or will be designed for. As usual, all the fields are very self explanatory but, if you do get stuck, there's tool tips to help you and our FAQ section to help provide answers to some of the more commonly asked questions.

If you already have an eLearning course built and live on the internet, perhaps through another provider, then so long as you tell us the course details, the cost and how people can sign up to get access, we will advertise it, promote it and sell that course on your behalf via our eLearning.co.uk site as soon as it's launched.

If you haven't yet built your eLearning course and want to do that with our easy to use course builder, then you can start immediately by telling us the basic details of any course you intend to build. As soon as our site is ready, we'll let you know the moment our course builder becomes available, which should be some time this Autumn (2016).

It's as simple as that. Very soon both our new eLearning platform and our course builder will be online and available to use and we will be taking enquiries and bookings in just the same way as we do on all our other sites. We will also have a course builder team who, for a fee, will build your entire course for you.

Learn more about what our eLearning for partners site will provide here.

Training Website

As part of our service to training partners you may have already read that we build and host a free and completely standalone and unique website for each of them. This website will display all of your course and company information and will take enquiries on your behalf.

Found under the "website" sub menu in your dashboard you will find the options and settings related to how you want your free website to look. There's very little else to do on this page because the content that builds your free website is gathered from all the information you tell us about in other parts of your dashboard.

Your free website will include all your company information and contact details, your venue information, your course content, special offers, opening times and any open courses of yours that you may have scheduled. The purpose of your free website is to create a web presence that solely advertises you and your training business and to gather training enquiries which will all go directly to you. We've built your website to look and work great on any device.

The website settings page does however offer a few choices, though these relate more to the structure and the design of your free website rather than the content that's contained therein.

First up in your choices is the web address or domain name that you want us to use. Two options here, you can use either the domain name we've automatically created for you (which is based on your company name) or you can edit that to a domain name of your choice (provided it's available). Alternatively, if you have your own domain name, you can point that domain to us (instructions available here) and we will host that domain name for you free of charge (of course). If you want to use your own domain name, then it's important you follow the instructions carefully and understand the one or two limitations.

Next on the list are your privacy settings. On your free website, you can choose whether or not you want us to display your phone number and your company email address. You can also, should you so choose, opt out completely from having us create for you a free website. Choice is up to you, we won't be offended. Next block is where you set the website colour scheme that best suits your business. You can try out a few colour schemes first and test which one works best for you. Soon as you make a change in your settings, this will be reflected on the site.

Finally, we also give you full control over the homepage imagery and the text that sits on top of those images. There are 3 slides which rotate on your free website homepage. The first of which should be an image and text that is all about your company, so upload an image (or use the one we've provided for you) and write some headline text and some sub text underneath. You are restricted in character length here, so when you write your headline or sub text, please try and refrain from waffling. After all, we want your site looking the best it can be. You can also change the background images to whatever you like. However, any custom images you upload here you should try to make 1600x900 pixels in size and preferably make them under 150kbs in terms of their actual image file size. Your free website will grind to a halt if you upload an unoptimised raw image that's maybe several megabytes in size.

We always recommend that you edit and optimise all the images you want to use on your website site (just like any website) and scale them accordingly in both dimension and in file size. We know this might seem confusing so, best bet, if you have or don't know the sizes of the images you want to use and/or perhaps don't know how to edit them, is to use an image editor (such as by downloading the free image editor "Gimp") or by using an online image editing service such as this one. Remember, we want your homepage images to be 1600 x 900 pixels in size and either of these tools / options will help you achieve this.

Next, and in order to optimise the memory size of the image to something under 200kbs, is to try using something like Dynamic drive which is a free image optimisation service. This will give you an identical image to the one you've just uploaded, only one that's a lot smaller in memory size. Once you've taken your image through both of these processes, scaled the image to size (1600 x 900 px) and optimised it's memory size, you can then upload the edited version back to us and your free website will then look great and load fast.

As we say, there are 3 slides in your homepage menu, so the image editing process needs to take place for all three of them. The first slide is about your company. Slide 2 is about your courses (so again, please ensure your image and text are about the training courses you provide) and the last slide should be about your training venues, same topical rules apply..

If you want, you don't actually have to edit anything, for we already provide some unique text and some stock images which are already optimised. But you can change some of it, or all of it or simply leave it alone, it's completely up to you. For now, here's an example of what UK Construction Training has built as their free training website. Your's could look just as good..!

Last, but by no means least, in your website options is your subscribers list. Your free website collects subscribers and these sign up to receive any news or offers that you might have to offer them from time to time. We ourselves do nothing with this "subscribers" list, as it's meant for you. Once you have a decent number of active subscribers, why not download that list in CSV format and add them to your mailshot list, I'm sure they'll be pleased to hear from you.

More information on your free training website options can be found here

Additional Tools

Your additional tools page is a bit of a work in progress. As we think of more cool things to offer you, that don't come under any other specific heading, they'll appear here under this sub menu. We've already created one feature that might be of interest to you, and that is the ability for you to be able to export your open courses schedule to any other 3rd party you want displaying this information - this might be to training brokers or even to your own website.

How this works is described on another page, so we won't go into the details of this again. But how you set up your exports are as follows.

There are two blocks on your export page. Much like other pages within your dashboard, the first part relates to the creation of new feeds. The second part shows you all the feeds that you've created that exist already.

In order to begin creating a new feed, you open the form and choose your feed options from a basic set of checkboxes. These allow you to choose to either include that particular element in your feed or exclude it, choice is up to you. Basically, if you want that information included, you check the box, if you don't you uncheck it. An example might be that perhaps you want to export your open courses, but you don't want to export the prices. Perhaps you do want to include your course images, but you don't want to include your venue images etc etc. The choice of what you include in your feed is entirely up to you.

Once you have selected which elements of your open courses you do and don't want to export, you click on the create your feed button and it will start being built in the background. Once ready, your new feed will appear in your list of existing feeds. When you click on "view feed" you will see in the web address bar the URL (web address) of your new feed. You can then copy that URL and give it to whomever and whatever 3rd parties you want. Those 3rd parties will then be able to get a live update of your open courses whenever they want and print these on their own websites. If you have your own website, you might want to consider updating your own information using this feed and your web designers will know how to use it the moment they see it.

Your open courses feed will automatically update itself the moment you update your open course schedule. You will also notice that the URL (web address) is made up of a unique and random set of characters, this ensures that no unauthorised persons can see your feed unless you want them to. More information about your XML feed set up can be found here and in the FAQs.