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Your Simple Digital Tips

Read the latest news and tips from your simple digital to help you understand the digital process as simply as possible.

For quite some time now I have been concerned about the subject of Digital Exclusion in the over-55 age group.


As the digital revolution gathers momentum around us and is currently on an accelerated trajectory with the introduction of AI, spare a thought for those who have been left behind.


The digital gap between those who work online and those who can’t is not just getting wider, it is making it almost impossible to catch up.


If you have missed out on learning to work online, either because you never had to do it, or someone else did it for you and then you suddenly need to do it, it is a massive challenge. Not having adequate digital skills to complete everyday tasks such as banking or applying for medical / government appointments is frightening, upsetting, and worrying.


“I feel sick to my stomach, trying to get my tax return sorted out this year. I used to be able to go to Galway and a person would help me complete the forms. My daughter says she will help me but she is so busy I don’t like to bother her. Because I am unable to understand how to do it online, I am now late with my returns, and this increases my distress”


This is a very typical expression of the upset and isolation felt by an older person dealing with bureaucracy in an online world. Even trying to access a phone number to ask for support is difficult. If you can get through to a person, it is commonplace for the staff to be much younger and not to have been trained to communicate clearly or with empathy to someone who has no digital experience.


Researching Digital exclusion to create this article, I have found several detailed reports highlighting the issue.


Despite the publication in August 2023 by Minister Donohoe “Digital For Good- Irelands Digital Inclusion Roadmap” which pledges:


“we will achieve digital inclusion through a coherent and integrated all-of-government approach to delivering the United Nations principle of “Leave No One Behind”


My experience indicates quite clearly that there is a generation who are very much being “Left behind”, as age is not on their side and the pledges of help are simply not being rolled out quickly enough, nor is the investment to support the grassroots immediate action required.


Vodaphone’s program of investment in the digital exclusion space “Hi Digital” also claims to be committed to tackling the problem, however when I enquired where the face-to-face digital skills classes promised are available in County Clare, I was told they are still registering interest. ( over a year after launch)


An investment of €2 million across 26 counties over 5 years will barely scratch the surface. Also, the scheme depends on volunteers to deliver the face-to-face program who I suspect they are struggling to recruit.


“26 April 2022: Vodafone Ireland Foundation has today announced the launch of face-to-face digital skills training classes for over 65-year-olds in Gigabit Hubs and *Public Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) across the 26 counties. There will be an investment of over €2 million over five years in the Hi Digital program, and more than 26,273 sessions have been initiated by older people online to date.”


I have just delivered my first program of Everyday Digital classes to a group of women in Ennis.

What struck me was not just the practical impact a lack of digital skills has on each of them but the devastating toll it has on their confidence and mental well-being.


It takes more than a 6-week, class-based course to feel confident enough to trust your private information online. Most of the class required either additional one-to-one support or further training after the 6 weeks.


More options, especially with smaller groups or individuals are urgently needed to support this swept aside generation, especially in rural areas.



I plan to continue and develop my training in Everyday Digital because my concern for the requirement for support to reduce digital exclusion has been more than validated over the past 6 weeks.


Recognition of the problem is a start, but support is needed now.




Recent Vodafone report reveals just over half (53%) of Irish adults are equipped with basic digital skills over 65s are well below the EU average at 19% v 25%


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The best thing to happen this week was attending the Local Enterprise Office Women in Business network morning.


Not because of the speaker, who was outstanding, but because there was a young girl, in her school uniform who had taken the initiative to come along. Setting out on what no doubt will be the beginning of a long entrepreneurial journey, she illustrated the makings of a successful businesswoman simply by being there.


Making the most of opportunities offered by Government supported enterprise would be second on my list of advice to any budding entrepreneurs. Only topped by my first recommendation which is to tap into the magic of networking.



The speaker Susan Hayes Cullerton was billed to be talking about “Financial Fitness” I’ll be honest it sounded a bit dry, as a creative I have had to work hard to develop an appreciation of the financial mechanics of my businesses. However, based on my belief that you will always learn something from a presentation, and that networking is essential I was determined to invest my time.


My goodness I am so glad that I did!


Susan is a gifted and showstopping speaker. If you ever get the chance to see her, do not hesitate. It was like a machine gun of simple clear actionable advice pouring out across the room. A whirlwind of reminders and new ideas to take for those prepared to invest a morning out of their business to attend.


Everything a good networking event should be. Inspiring, helpful, and stimulating.

One of Susan's recommendations was to go back and check where your last 10 clients or customers had come from, which I decided to try. The results did not surprise me, but it has emphasised my belief in the power of networking with a powerful statistic.



60% of my last 10 clients came to me directly because of networking.

40% came by word of mouth, which is another form of networking.



It can be daunting to walk into a room full of strangers and working out when to talk about your business and how to behave in an appropriate way to attract a wider network.


It takes a while to relax and feel comfortable in a business networking setting.


Just watch and learn, you will see people with very different approaches from the acutely shy to those who overshare, take too much time and leave you confused as to what they actually do.


You will also see those who impress with a clarity and ability to convey their message professionally and enthusiastically, which is the ideal.


As a female entrepreneur, I have experienced the pressure of running a business on top of being a Mum, Daughter, wife, and everything else life throws your way. Taking time out to develop your circle of business support through networking, not only helps you with your business but increases your confidence, your knowledge and leads to lasting friendships with likeminded people.


As you can see in my case, it has also led to being the foundation of my business.

I wish that young schoolgirl every success with her entrepreneurial journey, no matter what age or stage you are there is magic in networking if you are prepared to give it a go.


My next networking opportunity is the NWED I hope to meet you there.




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1. The Internet

2. Domain

3. Hosting

4. Platforms

5. Front and Back

6. This is your FIRST website


When I first took my business online in 2004, nobody said this to me!

“By the way Annabel here are the basic things you need to understand before developing your first website”

So here is my introduction to the very basics that I wish someone had explained to me!


1. The Internet:

This may sound obvious but when I started it took me ages to understand what having a website on the internet meant. There is so much jargon used to describe what happens to a website when it goes live. To help me understand, I now imagine my website is simply my business but floating in the sky. Up in the sky anyone in the world could potentially find me, unlike my business on earth where I am going to be found by word of mouth, local knowledge, or someone walking by.


2. Domain Name:

This is your online address, it is how people will recognise you and find you online. You have to buy your domain name and pay for it annually. Once you have registered and paid for your domain name, it is protected and only you can use it.


3. Hosting:

These are the people who take you website and sit it up on the internet! You have to pay an annual fee for your hosting partner.


4. Platforms:

There are a variety of different platforms on which you can build your website rather like choosing a make of a car, or an electrical product. You need to find the correct base to build your website on. In Ireland most people use a platform called Wordpress, however, for a first website I recommend Shopify for product based businesses or Wix for any other type of business as they are much easier to work on yourself.


5. Front + Back:

, Every website has a front and a back end. The front is the bit that is shown on the internet, and everyone will see, the back is the part that only you or your web designer has access to. Think of it like the front of a shop and the office at the back that your customers never see.



6. This is your first website:

When you launch your first website it is a great sense of achievement and excitement. It is also a part of an ongoing process, and it is highly likely that your business will outgrow your first website and you will require a re model or a brand-new site as your business needs develop and the digital world changes.


I hope this Simple introduction to the very basics of the mystery of your first website helps you.


If you are thinking about setting up your first website contact me to find out more.

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