10 Tips for Government Websites

Browing a website on a tablet

 

Websites of municipalities often leave something to be desired. What is increasingly the calling card for the local government, turns out not to be an advertisement for local services. SEO companies like Clutch Five Media can even make these websites really good that . But what could be better?

The advice comes from a book that is being presented today to European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, and the title is promising: The Secret of the Government Website. The authors want to help the readers on their way by means of ten fairly logical key messages.

Here are the top 10 tips.

  • A bad website costs time, and money and is bad for your reputation;
  • Take your visitor as a starting point for everything you publish;
  • A good vision of web communication has the logic of the visitor as a starting point;
  • A central web editor is a proven formula for quality;
  • Less content is better: easier to maintain, cheaper, and above all more user-friendly;
  • Clashing logic causes a lot of discussion and inaccessible websites;
  • Building and maintaining a website is a process and not a project;
  • Know what you want to test and especially why;
  • You are never done with testing, it is a continuous process;
  • Not all products are suitable for the internet service channel.

First, the worst website in the country. That of the municipality of Muiden, according to Overheid.nl. To understand the first message, it is advisable to take a good look at this. What do you want to know and can you find it?

Whether this is really the worst website, you can argue about that, but after a short exploration on the muiden site, it is clear that it will not greatly relieve the telephone traffic.

“Government websites score poorly on findability, accessibility, user-friendliness, and comprehensibility,” says René Notenbomer, who wrote the book in collaboration with Wiep Hamstra. “A website is still too often seen as a project, without a clear goal. This while a well-thought-out website yields a lot. Satisfied visitors and cost savings.”

Digital services

The fact that it can be done better does not mean that all services must be done online, Notenbomer emphasizes. Not everyone is handy with computers. Some products or services are too complex for digital services. “Thus, the provision of services on government websites does not automatically create a demand for their use, which is in stark contrast to the great optimism among the management of many government organizations.”

These high expectations often lead to complicated and expensive websites. The advice to web professionals is to convert this optimism of the director into the preconditions for creating and managing a good website.

 

ALSO READ: The Economic Impact of the Ukraine War

 

Contents

According to Notenbomer and Hamstra, the content is leading. Logically, it often goes wrong. Why? The writers forget who their work is intended for, use difficult language, or make texts that are too long. With tools such as the Accessibility Reading Level Tool and Sounding Language, you quickly get an indication of the reading level of the visitors. “But this says nothing about the comprehensibility of the text.” Ask simple questions for the readers, is the advice. “For example, do you understand what this text is about.”

And also be wary of texts that have arisen from lengthy discussions about the content and have become a vague compromise for the readers.

Another recommendation is to invest in web management, which will not be a choice for all municipalities. A central editorial team in-house costs money. In times of austerity, this will happen everywhere. Anyway: “Less content is better,” says Notenbomer. This is easier to maintain, cheaper, and more user-friendly.

Web content is only usable or necessary if it complies with two rules of thumb:

  • It aligns with an important organizational goal
  • It supports the visitor in performing a task

Test

With a website, you are never done. “Testing helps you to perfect your website and therefore to achieve your ambitions. And this is an ongoing process. The five quality criteria play an important role in this:

  • Findability
  • User-friendliness
  • Accessibility
  • Understandable
  • Shelf life

First of all, make sure that your target group knows how to find your website, which is understandable advice. “What is an artist without an audience?” Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help with this. “If you comply with the web guidelines, you have already filled in many basic conditions for SEO. And also see how your own search engine works.”

The Economic Impact of the Ukraine War

Support Ukraine

 

The war in Ukraine has consequences for our economy. How exactly? The horrific war with Russia in Ukraine is a huge tragedy for the Ukrainian people. The violence, the deaths and injuries, the bombed-out villages and towns, it is of a scale that we have not seen in Europe for decades.

In the Netherlands, too, we will feel the consequences of the war, although what we notice is not comparable to the suffering of the Ukrainians. Nevertheless, it is important to examine the economic consequences.

Analysis

An analysis by our economists shows that economic growth in our country will fall and the already high inflation will rise even further. Next year, unemployment will rise and public finances will deteriorate. In addition to rising energy prices, other trade is currently suffering minor damage. For an open economy, such as the Dutch economy, this is not so bad, but the impact can be greater. We explain why this is the case. The consequences of the war and the Western sanctions against Russia seem limited for the Dutch financial sector for the time being. However, we must add that the uncertainty about the economic outlook is great because we do not know how the war is going. What is certain, is prices of goods will rise, but for non-essentials like shoes, it’s a good thing that a company like Nike employs a value-based pricing approach that does not directly being impacted by economic disturbances.

Energy: why sharply rising prices?

The rise in energy prices is the most striking economic consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The price of gas and coal more than doubled in the weeks following the raid, and oil prices shot up nearly 30 percent.

Russia is one of the largest gas and oil exporting countries in the world. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused a lot of uncertainty, and that is leading to the strong price increases that we are now seeing. Energy prices in the Netherlands had already risen sharply in the months before the war, because after the corona crisis the economy recovered faster than expected, and the demand for all kinds of products exceeded the supply. This increase is now on top of that.

Is energy more expensive? Other products also

And that price increase has an even further effect. Gas is used for the generation of electricity. The more expensive gas, the higher the bill for electricity. But it does not stop there, due to the price increase of energy, other products are also becoming more expensive. Such as the vegetables and flowers that are grown in greenhouses. These greenhouses are heated with gas. The rising gas price is passed on to the price of these products. We see this in more sectors that consume a relatively large amount of energy. Prices will rise in the industry, transport, and agriculture in particular.

Higher energy prices, therefore, have a strong effect on our daily lives: at the petrol pump, in the supermarket, and on the electricity bill.

Trade with Russia: how does this affect the Netherlands?

Trade from the Netherlands to Russia is limited. Only 1.1 percent of all Dutch exports go to Russia. With Ukraine, the flow of trade is even more limited, 0.2 percent of our exports go in that direction.

But we also import goods from Russia and Ukraine. We mainly get important raw materials from it. About 3.5 percent of our imports come from Russia. This includes natural gas and oil, but also nickel and copper, for example. A quarter of the nickel we use in the Netherlands comes from Russia. And from Ukraine, we get a relatively large amount of corn and vegetable fine oils. Companies that consume these raw materials may face problems due to the disruption in trade flows with Russia and Ukraine.

Parts of products can also come from Russia

If we talk about this direct trade with Russia, then our trade flows, and the consequences of the war, are still limited. But our trade can also be indirectly affected by the war because the production of goods is often chopped into all small pieces and sometimes every piece is made in a different country. This is also called a global value chain. An example: a Dutch bicycle factory imports tires from Italy. The Italian tire factory uses rubber from Thailand to make those tires. The Thai rubber factory needs raw materials from Russia to make the rubber. Along this chain, from the Netherlands, via Italy and Thailand, the Dutch bicycle factory is ultimately dependent on Russia.

Even if we include these indirect trade flows, the Dutch economy is only dependent to a limited extent on Russia. Dutch companies use relatively few parts and materials that depend on Russia. And Dutch companies also sell relatively few products abroad that may end up in Russia via other countries.

Exact consequences are difficult to gauge

Despite this limited dependence, the economic consequences of a trade disruption can still be large: if a low-value product disappears from the production chain, the entire production can suffer. Back to the example of the Dutch bicycle factory. Suppose that the factory imports the bicycle valves from Russia and that import comes to a standstill. Bicycle valves in themselves only have a very small value. And these are hardly visible in the total import figures from Russia. But the bicycle factory cannot sell a bicycle without a valve. For example, the disruption of the import of a small part from Russia causes the entire production to come to a standstill. And that of course has a big impact.

But it remains uncertain whether companies will be affected in this way. That also depends on the circumstances. For example, can a company use a different product as an alternative to the missing part? Or has a company built up enough stocks to temporarily compensate for the loss of a part? Stocks have been under pressure in many sectors since the corona crisis. So this can be a disadvantage. But because individual companies have also started looking for alternative suppliers, there may already be more flexibility at the moment than before the corona crisis. And companies may already be able to cope better with problems.

Trade with Ukraine

The Netherlands can also be affected by disruptions in trade flows with Ukraine, but due to a lack of data, it is difficult to say to what extent.

Financial sector: what risks does the sector run?

The war in Ukraine has consequences for the Dutch financial sector: banks, insurers, pension funds, and investment institutions. They have to deal with this in two ways.

Firstly, because of the sanctions that the European Union has imposed on Russia. Many of those sanctions are aimed at hitting Russian companies, individuals, and the government financially. For example, it is no longer allowed to trade with a number of Russian banks, the financial assets of a number of powerful Russian persons have been frozen and certain Russian companies can no longer be financed. The financial sector must implement these sanctions and ensure that no more money ends up with the people to whom the sanctions apply.

Secondly, banks, insurers, pension funds, and investment funds have Russian financial products on their balance sheets. Think of shares in Russian companies, loans to Russian persons, or bonds from the Russian government. The value of these financial products can fall considerably as a result of the war. But our figures show that the Dutch financial sector is only affected to a small extent. For example, Dutch banks have only 0.2 percent of all their so-called direct exposure in Russia. And that is the position at the end of 2021, so even before the further decrease in investments and loans as a result of the invasion of Ukraine. Many banks had already scaled down their investments in Russia in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea.

 

ALSO READ: Why Former Soldiers are Preferred as Job Applicants

 

Consequences for the economy: what do we notice?

Prices are rising this year

The Russian invasion of Ukraine also has consequences for our economy. Most importantly, we expect inflation to increase even further. Inflation means that prices rise. And that you can buy less for your euro. The sharp increase in energy prices is the main reason that there is higher inflation. This is not only about the price at the pump or for the heating, but also about the price of food because the production of food requires energy. We, therefore, expect inflation to rise further this year to 6.7 percent, but to decrease again next year, to 2.8 percent.

The economy is growing at a slightly slower pace

Less economic growth can also be expected. Because prices are rising, we can spend less. The extra money you now spend on petrol or gas, you can not spend on anything else. And that has consequences for economic growth in the Netherlands. It partly depends on how much we spend. We have slightly lowered our expectations of economic growth, but we still expect growth of 3.5% this year and 1.5% next year. The fact that economic growth is still so high is that our economy was already growing considerably before the war in Ukraine.

Finally, we look at unemployment. This is expected to reach 4.3 percent in 2022, and then rise further to 4.6 percent in 2023.

A lot is uncertain: so also a scenario for setbacks

We have based the figures above on the situation on 28 February 2022, when the invasion of Russia was going on for a few days. How the situation will develop further is impossible to predict. That is why there are major uncertainties attached to the figures. For example, how are energy prices developing? We have assumed that these prices will fall again in the long term. But what if that doesn’t happen? What would that mean for our economy? And what if a further escalating and protracted war is accompanied by rising financial uncertainty and declining growth in world trade?

In order to be able to take these questions into account, we have made an alternative scenario, with more unfavorable outcomes. In this scenario, we look at the consequences of inflation and economic growth if the prices of gas, oil, and other commodities remain high for longer. Food prices will therefore rise. And in the event of a protracted war, the financial markets will also experience a downturn. This can, for example, lead to lower share prices and increasing uncertainty among consumers and producers. The growth of world trade may also fall back. This also has important consequences for a trading country such as the Netherlands.

In this scenario with setbacks, we assume that inflation will be 9.5 percent this year and 3.4 percent next year. Economic growth in the Netherlands will then be 2.4 percent in 2022 and 0.5 percent in 2023. And that leads to higher unemployment: 4.4 percent in 2022 and 5.4 percent in 2023.

To be clear: This is not the scenario we now expect. But given the great uncertainties that exist and the chance that the war will escalate further or continue for a long time, it is a scenario that we have to take into account.

What’s next: what are the challenges and how do we deal with them?

After the corona pandemic, the war in Ukraine is a new shock to the economy. The new reality is one of great global uncertainty and rising energy prices. Households, businesses, and the government will have to adapt to this. Households and businesses have few opportunities in the short term to significantly reduce the consumption of oil and gas. The government can take measures to compensate for the high energy costs of households, such as the recently announced reduction in taxes on energy and petrol by the government, and the extra allowance for low-income households.

For the time being, there is enough gas

The European Commission has indicated that the current gas supply in the European Union is large enough to get through this winter in any case. Even if the gas supply from Russia comes to a complete standstill. If shortages do arise in the future, measures can be imposed to reduce gas consumption. Households and hospitals, for example, will not soon have to choose this. But it may be that industrial large-scale consumers have to drastically reduce their consumption, and eventually even be cut off from the supply of natural gas.

Accelerating the energy transition

Western countries have committed to reducing dependence on Russian oil and gas as soon as possible. This can be done by buying energy in other countries, building up larger reserves, and accelerating the energy transition. By doing this not alone, but in a European context, the energy supply becomes less dependent on geopolitical risks. A transition to sustainable energy is the most future-proof approach.

Why Former Soldiers are Preferred as Job Applicants

Soldiers

 

Soldiers are apparently in great demand in the job market. While military veterans can start their own businesses like a carboot sale business (Find carboots near you), getting a career can also be another great path.

Why more and more companies are specifically recruiting well-trained specialists and where to find them?

In view of the shortage of skilled workers, more and more German companies are specifically looking for soldiers. The vocational training service (BFD) of the armed forces now has fixed contacts at about 5,000 companies that offer jobs and training places as well as internships for departing soldiers, said the personnel administration of the Bundeswehr in Cologne. “The number of cooperations and contacts in the economy is increasing from year to year.” These include large and well-known companies such as the post office, Deutsche Bahn, the retail chain Rewe and the US group Amazon.

The Internet platform Dienstzeitende.de, based in Burgheim, Upper Bavaria, specializes in finding jobs for soldiers. “Some companies like Amazon even have their own military recruiter, i.e. a former soldier as a personnel manager who addresses other soldiers,” says managing director Stefan Geßner, himself a former officer.

The Verdi union, which has been at loggerheads with Amazon for years over its demand for a collective bargaining agreement, has criticized Amazon’s search for “executives with a military background” for the company’s fulfillment centers. But the vast majority of companies that recruit soldiers are obviously not interested in keeping employees in check with the help of barracks barking.

Reliable, disciplined, and flexible: soldiers for the job market

The Bundeswehr itself paints the suitability of its soldiers for the labor market in the most beautiful colors: “They are characterized in particular by a high degree of reliability, sense of responsibility, (self-)discipline, teamwork, and high flexibility,” says the personnel administration. “In the context of assignments abroad, they acquire intercultural competence and prove their high resilience in stressful situations.” The bottom line: If you don’t despair in Afghanistan, you should be well prepared for Amazon.

Good technical education plus high motivation

Managing Director Geßner describes the situation somewhat more soberly: “Many companies attach more importance to vocational training than to the fact that someone was a soldier.” This is confirmed by the railway: “As a rule, former soldiers bring good technical training and a large portion of motivation,” says a spokesman. “On average, around 100 former soldiers start with Deutsche Bahn every year, and we look forward to seeing even more.”

Indeed, the armed forces offer training of all kinds, from truck driving licenses to university studies. “The Bundeswehr is one of the most social employers, the career opportunities are enormous,” says Geßner.

But there are also employers who like to hire former soldiers because of their specific expertise: “They usually enter the job market in their mid-30s, they have training or studies, know where to go, can assert themselves, and are capable of dealing with people in every respect,” reports Geßner. Industries that like to hire former soldiers traditionally include security and guard services.

 

ALSO READ: The Dirt Hauling Business Basics

 

A strong player in a team with logistics experience

Amazon, in any case, emphasizes that the company is not looking for authoritarian executives trained in the command tone, but those who are team players and can motivate employees: “Many soldiers have gained such valuable experience for years,” explains a spokesman. “In addition, there are many specialists and managers in the Bundeswehr with logistics experience.”

However, the change to civilian professional life is not always easy: “However, soldiers often have comparatively little experience in their profession,” reports Geßner, Managing Director of the end of service. “A tank grenadier who trained as an industrial mechanic spent quite a bit of time in the field and not in the workshop.”

According to Geßner, a sticking point is often the pay: “Soldiers have a very decent salary structure. A truck driver sometimes has 200 to 300 euros net more per month in the Bundeswehr than in a private company.” And after a period of service characterized by constantly changing stations, many feel a need to settle down: “When soldiers leave, they often no longer feel like commuting every weekend, but prefer a job in their home region,” says Geßner. “In Upper Bavaria this is not a problem, but in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania or the deepest rural Hesse it can be difficult to find a suitable job.”

The Dirt Hauling Business Basics

Starting a successful dirt hauling business requires more than knowing how to operate dump trucks. There are other business procedures that must be considered, and financial costs to maintain.

Dump trucks do not come cheap, and preserving their condition can be even more costly. As the most important assets of your business, keeping them well-conditioned ensures a steady cash flow and consistent reputation.

Having dump trucks that are non-operating will result in a loss in profits. With so much money at stake, it’s imperative to follow the proper procedure to build up your own dirt hauling business. Failure to do so can result in a financial disaster.

Create a Detailed Business Plan

The business plan serves as the roadmap for your business. Its purpose is to define the business and the direction it intends to follow over time.

Clarifying this important information will help you form a more cohesive vision of what needs to be done to reach your goals.  A business plan is also required if you are looking to secure financing or dump truck loans for your business.

Have a Commercial Driver’s License

Obtaining a commercial driver’s license is required before driving the dump truck. This is usually received after enrolling in a state-approved truck driving course and passing the exam. 

Some states ask for additional licenses if heavy machinery is involved. It’s important to verify this before proceeding with the business. 

Get a Dump Truck License or Permit

Before you can legally operate your business, a license, or permit to operate from your public works department is needed. This serves as a written proof that you are authorized to conduct your business.

As a startup business, it’s recommended to purchase business insurance to protect yourself from unforeseen circumstances. Remember to obtain a business permit and federal tax ID to serve as further proof of the legality of your business.

Purchase Your Own Dump Truck

Choose a dump truck that has enough power and bed to conduct a variety of tasks. Although used dump trucks are cheaper, the costs to keep them in good condition can be steep.

New trucks are significantly more expensive but require less maintenance.  If the truck of your choice doesn’t fall within your company’s budget, then consider applying for dump truck loans. You can also get firma transportowa from this site https://trans-euro.pl/.

When Do You Need a Roofing Company

Do you think your roof is getting damaged already? But have you been in contact with someone who can help you do it?

Do you think you already got all the need that you need by doing it all alone and yet days passed or months passed you still do the same repairs, climbing stairs, checkups and covering all over again?

Well… this is the time that you actually consider hiring someone to do it for you—because getting a roofing company to do the job for you is not something that you should discourage yourself into. We get it, the expenses—but expenses are nothing compared to hiring professionals and experts and you avoiding the risks while doing climbing ladders and walking on the thin roof. Other than that, hiring a roofing company also lets you save money rather spending over and over for your repairs and checkups.

Today, let us talk more about why do you really need to get a roofing company now like Excel Roofers.

Why a Roofing Company is Important?

You have maybe asked, “why to hire a roofing company when I can get it done?”. Sure you can do it, but the risks you are going through, and the efforts are all wasted if you know you are not doing it the right way. Believe that there are people who have studied these things and work and that they can do it more efficiently than you are.

So here are a few reasons why you needed to consider getting a roofing company now.

 

1 Budget Wise

You are beginning to be budget-wise. Rather than spending money on buying roofing repairs why not call someone and ask them for their checkup and repair packages? This way you can be efficient in controlling your repair expenses and as well as making sure that they are also providing the best solution as possible.

2 They are professionals

They know what they are doing, they are made for it. Some say that hiring the best professionals include getting the best solutions too. If you wanted modernization on your roof, you can ask them. If you want a better design for the flow of water and dust, you can consult them. And even before you ask them, indeed they already have seen the problems coming and have already provided the best solutions for it.

 

 

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