Marketing campaign gives website a face-lift

After months of toil and labor, the new Guilford College website and intranet system was launched on Friday, April 15. Instead of the usual sea of burgundy and white space, there are now flashes of blue, hints of yellow and green, and photos of people you actually know. The new Guilford website has arrived.

“The new website is fully re-purposed, with more content added to and created for the new site,” said Associate Vice President for Communications and Marketing Ty Buckner.

In 2006, the website was “reskinned,” according to Buckner. Almost five years later, the website has received its first substantial update, effectively reducing the page number from over 4,000 to 400 pages.

“I like that it’s much easier to navigate and that things are up-to-date,” said sophomore Taylor Seitz. “On the old website, for example, I tried to find out when Forevergreen meets and got a page that described the club and their ‘exciting upcoming activities for Fall 2008.'”

The Office of Advancement worked with the Admissions Office, the Center for Continuing Education, individual academic departments, and a sample group of students and faculty to create a more modern, updated website. They were assisted in the design by the Mitre Agency.

“It’s always hard to adjust to new layouts, but I think the new website is really awesome,” said first-year Annabelle Bolgiano. “At least the school website doesn’t change as often as Facebook.”

The website was also designed as part of an integrated marketing plan to recruit new students. According to Buckner, college websites are critical to student recruitment.

“We wanted the material on the website to reflect who we are to the world, or essentially what makes Guilford Guilford,” said Buckner. “This is about showing off what Guilford is, especially to people who are not familiar with us at all.”

Some students have mentioned that the website does not accurately reflect Guilford’s demographics.

“The website reflects a diversity that’s disproportionate to the actual campus,” said Seitz. “I’m not exactly complaining, however. I love diversity and people from different cultures.”

Another innovative addition is the GuilfordNet, which is geared more towards current students and faculty. Anyone with a Guilford username can log into this section of the website.

Many sections of the old website which were password protected are now consolidated on the GuilfordNet, along with the Buzz, the Student Handbook, important contact information, and other resources.

With the website still in construction, developers are planning to work with individual faculty members to personalize their web pages. There is a tip list available on the new home page of the website to guide students and staff throughout the transition.

“We realize there are some corrections and modifications that need to be made and the web team is addressing those immediate issues,” said Buckner in an email interview. “There are sections of the site that will be more fully developed over the summer and into the fall.”

Some faculty members have stressed the importance of tailoring the academic department pages to match the individual departments.

“We are a herd of cats around here and everyone has a strong opinion and a fierce interest in attracting and retaining the best students, as well as keeping our alums involved in the life of the community,” said Visiting Instructor of Art Maia Derry in an email interview. “But those opinions, that interest, and the energy fueling them are precisely what makes this place such a great college.”

With even more improvements and additions looming in the horizon, the Office of Advancement will continue to work on perfecting the website and intranet system throughout the following months.