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New student website takes the pain out of finding student digs

Dan Roberts a graduate from Leeds Metropolitan University has created the only dedicated student halls search engine.

Finding accommodation is one of the most important decisions for any new fresher but a lack of information on student halls has left many struggling to make the right choice.

Now that is all set to change thanks to former student Dan Roberts. The 25-year-old graduate was shocked at how difficult it was to compare different university digs, when he took up at place at Leeds Metropolitan University in 2006.

After struggling to wade through different websites for each accommodation, he set about creating one site that contained all the information and launched MyStudentHalls.com in 2011.
 
The site, which lists different student halls across the UK, detailing their key features and facilities, making information on all the options available in one place, has hit the spot, racking up more than 22,000 visits each month.

Dan says its success shows just how much students needed the facility, which helps to connect them with the best accommodation

We managed to get a few minutes with Dan to talk about the site and how it all started.

Dan RobertsHow does Mystudenthalls.com work?

We packed all the information we think students need in one place, so all they have to do is choose their city or university, then select their budget, and we’ll do the rest.  We’ll tell them which halls have a gym, an en-suite, how to get in touch, and most importantly if they have availability.

What inspired you to start up?

"I actually devised the concept of mystudenthalls.com when I was an undergraduate searching for accommodation myself. I knew that I wanted to be in halls for my first year, however which particular halls was another question entirely. In a city such as Leeds you really are spoilt for choice, but there didn't seem to be a website out there that could show you university halls and private halls in one place. There are of course websites that listed private halls but they were dated, messy, and had no continuity in the way they presented the information. That’s when I thought I could create a site that is clear, concise, and intuitive. Presenting the information in uniform "Hall Profiles" across the site, was the key to creating an enjoyable experience for the user.

How do students find out about your website?

You can Google us, or start searching for your student halls at www.mystudenthalls.com

We also use AdWords 365 days of the year...it is core to our marketing strategy.

It has  helped us  to boost the business. AdWords is a system that allows links to pop up near the top of the Google search engine, when students are searching for university halls, for example. This means MyStudentHalls.com pops up at when students are actively searching for digs.

Social media isn’t always enough to get visitors to the site, and using search engine advertising works for us because it lets people find MyStudentHalls.com exactly when they want to.

Have you received any support in starting your own business?

We received a Proof of Concept grant from Business start-up at Leeds Met. This grant was used to develop the site and take it from concept to reality.

What advice would you give to other students/graduates wanting to start their own business?

Starting your own business is by no means simple, but it definitely can have its rewards. If you have an idea for a business, ensure you spend sufficient time researching it, establish and evaluate your competitors, understand your target audience. If it is a viable idea, then put together a business plan and get to work.

To search for Student Accommodation, visit www.mystudenthalls.com

  • Date published: 01st October 2013

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