17th Mar, 2016

Skills Platform Update: What's New For Providers?

Based on extensive user testing and provider feedback, we have rebuilt the Skills Platform to improve the experience for both providers and users. Here's a summary of what's changed for providers and what it means for your listing. Not listed on the Skills Platform yet? - Click here .

Skills Platform - What's Changed?

Here's a summary of the new features we've introduced for the new look Skills Platform

  • Improved navigation: New category taxonomy to ease user search.
  • Single login: We have remove the confusion surrounding user/ provider logins by creating a unified login. Your company dashboard can be found beneath your personal settings after logging in.
  • Enquiry messenger: Enquiries can now be managed entirely within the platform with easy email replies.
  • Custom quote: Create and email custom quotes that are hidden from site searches.
  • Faster payments: Quicker and more convenient online payments for customers via PCI compliant merchant provider Stripe. Please sign up to Stripe and connect your accoutn if you haven't already.
  • Faster fulfilment: Buyers purchasing on behalf of team members can let you know who they've purchased for at the point of order.
  • SEO optimisation: New topic pages designed to increase Google organic traffic.
  • Tag bundled courses: If you offer bundled courses, you can easily tag these on the course set up page.

Strategy Update:

We recognise that that users want interact with providers and get to know you more before they book a course. Therefore we have made it easier for learners to get in touch with you directly. Users can still use the enquiry function to get in touch and make online bookings, but they can also find your website and phone number listed to reach out to you. We are shifting to becoming a discovery & enquiry resource for providers with online booking being a benefit, but not the only call to action. In summary, we are phasing in the following changes:

  • No enquiry fee: All enquiries will be free to access.
  • Skills Platform 5% discount to phased out:
  • Reduced commission on bookings: Your total charge will be 5% commission, reduced from 10% (5% commission + 5% discount).

There are still considerable benefits to encouraging bookings through the Skills Platform though, not least the fact that customers appreciate a single one stop shop for searching, enquiring and booking. There is also an incentive for providers to encourage booking through the Skills Platform, with bookings volume helping to boost search results ranking (see below).

Charging model:

We are moving towards a listings fee model as our primary charge, but this will be phased in slowly with all customers starting on a free listings model for at least the next 6 months. There will then be a graded fee model starting at an 'always free' listing and moving higher depending on activity. We are analying the right level for these fees over the coming month and will aim for a fair price based on:

  • The traffic your pages are receiving.
  • Clicks back to your website.
  • Enquiries received.
  • Bookings made through the system.

You will be able to see the traffic to your courses and total clicks to your website via the provider dashboard. We stress that platform fees will only be introduced where we can demonstrate the Skills Platform's tangible benefit to your organisation. If you receive little traffic and no interest, you will not be charged a listing fee.

The Skills for Health Quality Mark

We anticipate that providers who achieve the Skills for Health Quality Mark accreditation will not be charged a listing fee. In addition, Quality Marked providers will receive a heavier weight in the search results (see below for more details).

How to rank higher in Skills Platform search results:

The number one factor in Skills Platform search results is topic relevance, so if you want to appear in more search results (and receive more interest), make sure your pages include well written descriptions that are tagged with the most relevant topics. Other tips include:

  • A well written introduction and main course listing including your subject key words.
  • Avoid 'spamming' your course listing with keywords, a page that is easier to read will rank better.
  • Think about associated keywords to increase your hits. For example, if your course is about cytology, also include the word 'smears' in your body text.
  • Insert relevant keywords separated by commas.
  • Tag the most relevant topic categories.

Additional search ranking factors:

Other factors help to boost your ranking in the Skills Platform listings are as follows:

  • Accreditations: Having courses recognised by multiple nationally recognised accreditation services will boost your listing. These include but are not limited to - CPD membership, CRGP approval, the ILM, the Skills for Health Quality Mark, and SFJ Awards,
  • Quality Mark accreditation: Providers achieving the Quality Mark will receive a slightly higher weighting than other providers.
  • Positive reviews: Providers with positive reviews will received a better rating generally.
  • Booking volume: The Skills Platform will reward providers who offer popular courses by making their courses more popular!
  • Enquiry response: Average enquiry response time will be measured to help boost providers offering the best customer service.
  • Profile Completion: Providers who create a richer experience by completing their profiles with well written descriptions and uploading appealing images will receive a ratings boost.

If you have any questions about your listing or want to get in touch for whatever reason, you can reach us here

Post last updated on 28/05/2020