We talk a lot about the importance of thinking through your content as a core part of your website redesign process. Planning sustainable, strategic content from the outset of your project helps ensure not only a successful launch, but a viable communications platform for the long term.
But what some people don’t realize is that when we talk about the importance of “content,” we’re not just talking about the words on a page. One of the most important content components on your website is your photography.
Storytelling as a practice is as old as time itself. From the oral tradition to mass-produced publications, stories are the currency by which we communicate our culture, our experiences, and our values.
So when seeking to communicate about our organization, stories have a high value. By relating authentic experiences in the words and images of those who lived them, we bring our brands and missions to life.
In higher ed web projects, one of the areas of greatest attention and concern are events. In one way or another, we always spend a lot of time thinking about event calendars:
Where will events display on the website?
What events will show up on the homepage?
What event calendar system should we use?
These questions come up because events are such an important way of communicating the life of a campus. As we direct photography, craft branding messages, and select news stories, events are a critical part of the mix.
The Northeast is lovely this time of year, but you know what’s lovelier? Hardcore higher-ed know-how. And that’s what I found last month at the HighEdWeb New York conference in Ithaca, New York, and the Web Conference at Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania.
The serenity of life on a college campus can be interrupted without a moment’s notice by a crisis. This could be an inclement weather event, a chemical spill, or even an act of violence.
When these incidents occur, communications staff must immediately spring into action, keeping both the immediate and extended campus community informed. This is when your website transforms from core business asset to invaluable crisis communications platform.
Universities everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief. For most, tassels have been flipped, mortarboards flung in the air, and the academic year has come to a close.
Summer is a quieter time on campus, which provides the opportunity to play a bit of catch-up on tasks and projects that eluded us during the school year. So, with a better digital presence in mind, how can you take advantage of this time to shine brighter come the fall?
One of the foundational deliverables for a website project is a content audit. A content audit is a comprehensive website evaluation that takes into account multiple quantitative and qualitative factors in order to gauge current content quality, components, connections, structure, and function.
You know the adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Well, a website content audit helps us know what is broken so we do fix it. And often, you get the added perk of discovering some buried or obscured content gems that you’d want to do more with in the next iteration of the site.
Transparency flies in the face of silos, which are endemic to higher ed. Silos seclude people from one another and disconnect people from streams of information. This creates redundancy and inefficiency, inhibits the ability to gain broad buy-in, and makes communication challenging.
But when you strive to foster transparency, the walls fall away. People become humans, not just names on a list. Information becomes common knowledge, not the stuff of legend. Communication and connections become the currency by which things get done.