A major component of our redevelopment plan for the core website is to fill in some gaps in our page content. One of the most significant gaps relates to academic program pages—high-level information related to all of the various subjects one can study, from non-degree-granting certificates all the way through to graduate degrees. We do have some very detailed information pages, especially on departmental sites. However, all of this information is sprinkled across many, many sites.
Build it and They Will Come
…unless they don’t know that you built it. According to Joshua Kim’s third assertion in his article, 5 (Arguable) Assertions About Academic Websites, “people coming to your site care about different things than you.” They also tend to search for answers in a different way. According to mStoner/Chagg research, 93% of prospective students go to a college website to find information on academic programs.
We want to answer the questions that site visitors are asking. In order to provide the best quality answers, we are working with a large panel of faculty members from across campus to develop this new section of content. The pilot program will develop a content framework to make sure that we provide answers to the most relevant questions and provide quick links to more specific content, like audition requirements, scholarship opportunities and key department contacts.
For years, our core site has been a collection of links out to a constellation of TCU-related sites. There is very little actual content contained on its pages. As a result, our search engine visibility has degraded over time, as has our overall traffic. We are developing several new sections of content to better tell the unique TCU story and improve our visibility. Improving the search visibilty of www.tcu.edu will have a positive effect on all of the sites within our network. Once a user arrives, we will work to ensure that we funnel them to the answers to their questions.
Academic Program Finders: Benefits, Components, and Good Examples by Michael Stoner