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Website Updates & What's Next for the Web Ambassadors Network

ElizabethRose -- Wed, 10/05/2016 - 12:18pm

Here's what we've been doing, what we're getting ready to do, and how we need your help to do it!

Update on Websites

Here’s a quick recap of our successes from the last few months:

College of Liberal Arts launches sites

First, a long overdue congratulations to the College of Liberal Arts for launching their websites in May! It marks the unofficial end of our exhaustive three-year redesign process, and we are so grateful for everyone’s hard work. Take a look through the sites and marvel at their progress:

Graduate School Search Engine Optimization

For almost a year now, we have been working with an outside agency to improve the Graduate School’s website search engine optimization. That has included writing dozens of blogs, optimizing on-site content, utilizing more metadata, backlinks building, and expanding their social media presence.

In that time, we’ve seen some serious results. We’ve had a 10% increase in traffic from search engines and increased the click-through rate to the online application by 94%. Search engine optimization is a long-term project, and we’re excited to see what improvements we can make in the next year.

Housing’s Move-In Central

This summer, University Housing revamped their entire move-in process and enlisted the help of the web team to help incoming freshmen and their parents.

With the Housing staff's help, we created a one-page Move-In Central on the University Housing website. It was imperative that students and parents knew exactly what was expected of them on move-in day, because the success of move-in depended on them following directions to a T.

We divided it into five sections that corresponded to the different aspects of moving in: prepping and packing, getting to campus and checking in, and settling into life on campus. We also had a section to explain terminology like Golden Ticket, Passport, and Unloading Ticket. (Plus a fun gif story, just for good measure.)

So here are the numbers: the Housing Move-In Central page had 12,360 visits between August 1 and September 1 (move-in day was August 17). We know it was successful not just because of the numbers, but because the process went almost perfectly—cars lined up at the appropriate times, they knew exactly how the process should go, and everything stayed on schedule. Web content can make a difference, people!

I do want to point out one additional benefit of having the Move-In Central: a place for emergency communications. Move-In Day was originally scheduled for Sunday, August 14, the weekend of the historic South Louisiana flooding. Because Move-In Central was already created and people knew it had the answers to all of their other questions, they knew to go there for all updates, as well.

So what’s next?

After we unofficially finished our website redesign project in the fall, we still had a few stragglers that need to launch sites. Just this week, we launched the Ecology Center’s website, and you’ll see about 10 more roll out before the end of the semester. In January, the Alumni Association will have a brand new site—and then we’re done!

Well… “done” is a relative term, I guess. The web team is already working on the next redesign, and we need your help deciding how it needs to function and look.

Any requests you have for functionality or tools to use on your site—whether that is for editing or for displaying to the public—tell us! Send an email or pick up the phone.

We will also be recruiting volunteers for focus groups. If you’d like to be part of a focus group so you can have your say in the new websites, let us know! We’ll need students, staff and faculty to provide their two cents.

Anything else?

Yes. I have to apologize for not updating this blog for so long. Being busy is no excuse! You better believe I’ll be working on my content calendar for the spring so this semester-long neglect doesn’t happen again.

Until next time, feel free to reach out if you have any questions or want to share ideas! You can reach me at my desk at 2-1626 or email me at