Conceptualizing the Website

We have provided an overarching way for staff and faculty to see our core ideas with the website. We have spent the last year and a half working to get academic departments up on . We worked closely with chairs, deans and faculty to offer trainings and generate content. Our efforts resulted in over 60 department homepages totaling in over 300 academic department pages.

The next phase of the website is User Experience, and Search Engine Optimization. This new webpage is to set that standard.

3 Rules to Conceptualize the Website:

Rule #1: You are your website

  • 1/5 students will give up on the institution entirely because of a poor website experience.
  • 3/4 students say the website makes a difference in their perception of the school.

You are your website.

Rule #2: Organizational Structure ≠ Website Structure

Students care about what you provide. Your value is what you offer.

For example, a mission statement is about you, not the student and means “don’t read me.”

For this reason we have made great efforts to focus on services rather than departments or organizational structure.

A website is a conversation you have with students. It is exhausting for your audience to know everything you know. Trim the fat, tell them what they need to know in language they understand.

Rule #3: Value is not measured in clicks

Consider what it means when we say “clicks”.

  • More than 50% of website traffic comes from devices that do not “click.” They use features like geo-location, search by voice, question based search, touch and force touch. How we interact with websites is evolving rapidly.
  • More than 86% of college website traffic comes from the direct search of the college name.
  • More than 84% of students seek out the college by searching for name, then the degree or department they are trying to find.

That means search is the new “click.” Your overall strategy should be about general brand messaging and search optimization, then being found where someone might search out your department (this means fitting where someone would expect you in the site architecture).

A poorly placed link on the homepage is still a poorly placed link. Like a bad apple, a poorly placed link spoils the bunch, it drags down the overall performance of the homepage and confuses our core message.

Improving Your Website

How Do You Become Better?

  1. Write clean, concise, jargon-free, compelling content.
  2. Update your site, keep your content fresh and accurate.
  3. Use forms when possible to help students achieve their task.
  4. Write Descriptions (meta data) for each of your pages. 2-3 sentences about what this pages does.
  5. Write Titles for your webpages. Less than 50 characters. Title your page appropriately, it is what will show in google.
  6. Keep your content simple, that does not mean thin content or lacking depth.

Core Values of Your Website:

Your website needs to communicate this to your audience.

We know who you are,
we know why you’re here,
we have what you’re looking for,
and we’re going to help you.
—Tony Rose, UX Professional

A Special Note on the Homepage

We are building an ever-evolving, ongoing process for a great website. Our primary audience is prospective students. Everything on the homepage fits inside this criteria. We want to empower you to invest in your web presence. If you would like to partner with us to improve your website presence, please fill out the form.

Sign up for a Web Training

We partner with IT to offer trainings throughout the semester and plan to have an online training for faculty and staff on D2L. In order to edit the website you need to attend a training or complete online training.

Request Web Training

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