How to Defeat 7 Common Problems for .edu Sites with A+ Content

December 12, 2016

By syl.deleon

Posted by syl.deleon

Have you ever…

Have you ever been put in charge of running a website only to find there’s no content management system, when you FTP in to fix a typo there are hundreds of files organized helter-skelter, named with long strings of acronyms, and you can’t find the index file with the misspelled word you’d like to fix to save your life?

Have you ever tried to update the navigation of said site because it’s horrendous and lacks the basic links visitors need to find their way around, only to learn that the nav is held together by a complex overlapping template structure that breaks the entire site when you add an “Apply Now” link?

Have you found that all the events you’re promoting are listed on the website without venue addresses or map links and no convenient parking options?

Have your predecessors riddled the site with multiple H1 tags per page, using them as a design element to make anything that seemed important bigger (like dates and times in the middle of the page) and, of course, made prodigious use of all caps and exclamation points and (AND!) center-justified all text?

Have you ever been asked to update a sentence on a webpage, only to find that the entire content area is actually a large image and not real, crawl-able text?

Have you ever received someone’s bio via email with a request to please update the website, only to find that the attachment is a single page-long paragraph that’s a JPEG file of a scan that was saved upside down and, from what you can figure, was written in German? And you don’t speak German. And your website is not in German.

If any of these scenarios feel painfully familiar, you, my friend, have likely worked in marketing at a higher education institution (whether you had the formal title or duty to do marketing in your role or not).

Table of Contents

Challenge 1: Scattered messaging across departments
Challenge 2: Limited web resources and website access issues
Challenge 3: Getting the scoop – collecting engaging content
Challenge 4: Information overload – cutting through institutional jargon
Challenge 5: Acronyms – just don’t
Challenge 6: Print-focused marketing in a digital age
Challenge 7: Getting results

The struggle is real.

As university marketers, we love commiserating over the unbelievable obstacles that make our jobs seemingly impossible. Colleges and universities have a bad reputation for ugly, unusable websites that are filled with maze-like link loops, pages of irrelevant content, and impossible-to-follow instructions for how to get anything done according to policy and on time. Why not just fix all that? Well, sometimes we simply can’t do much for reasons beyond reason, even though it pains us deeply.

If your job is to promote college programs or recruit students, but your department lacks the tools, skills, and tech support to use a .edu website effectively, here are a few tips for leveraging what you often CAN work with. Content.

Challenge 1: Scattered messaging

When various departments are sending out numerous messages …read more

Source:: Moz Blog