Redesigned Website Receives CASE Award

The redesign of the Culver website has accomplished its primary goal becoming more user-friendly for prospective students and parents, and the successful upgrade has been recognized by the CASE V District.

CASE (The Council for Advancement and Support of Education) awarded Culver its 2012 silver award for Best Institutional Website in District V, which represents colleges, universities and private secondary schools in six Great Lakes states. CASE is a professional organization serving education professionals working in alumni relations, communications, development, and marketing.

First and third in the category both went to universities, so "it is noteworthy that we are competing at that level," said Trent Miles, website manager for the Academies.

The redesign project was initiated in 2011 to improve overall site architecture and navigation and better support the institutional brand through the use of photos, videos, and other visual elements, according to Bill Hargraves III, the Academies' director of Strategic Marketing.

The site receives 1,000 visits per day and has become an essential part of the communications strategy, said Hargraves, a 1977 Culver alumnus.

"We really had to rethink the way we presented information," Miles said. "Our strategy was just as much about educating prospective students and parents on the boarding school concept as it was promoting Culver. We felt it was essential to explain how Culver is different right up front."

Another objective realized from the redesign was an improved experience for faculty and staff website editors, and increasing the number of contributors. There are now 70 website editors trained and literate in content management, up from 15 in 2010, Miles said.

Also, visits from search engines such as Google and Yahoo are up 120 percent from a year ago and pages per visit has increased threefold. Total video plays have increased 490 percent in the four months since the launch (November 2011 through March 2012).

Miles said these statistics indicate "the website is more relevant and searchable, more mobile friendly, and more effectively telling and sharing the Culver story."

CASE V winners were announced Oct. 23 and awards will be presented at the annual CASE V conference in Chicago Dec. 9-11.


By: Doug Haberland
Culver Communications


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