Where we were

I thought it might be helpful just to give a brief overview of how the web improvement project is going. When we started the project back in 2017, our web presence as a University was in a poor state in general. We had almost 540,000 content items being indexed by Google with only 36,000 of them actually present on the corporate website which itself was on failing infrastructure.

So have things got better?

Where we are

We’re now looking at just over 154,000 items being indexed by Google which is a huge decrease in the amount of content that is floating around out there and potentially doing us harm. The main corporate website itself has reduced in weight also with just over 23,000 items now present on it. That’s made up of around 14,000 pages plus additional documents and assets. Back in 2017, only 3,000 of them would get more than one hit per day, that’s now more than doubled to over 6,000.

It was more than just a clean up though, we started completely rebuilding the site from scratch in 2019 and reworking and migrating content to the new systems and templates. Of the 14,000 pages, over 11,000 of them are now on the new platform with only 3,000 remaining. In terms of traffic, by the end of this month we should see around 80% of our traffic go through the new platform.

That migration has seen the team engage with a huge range of stakeholders, with us working closely with just about every school and every professional directorate since that migration began. We rewrote all our undergraduate, postgraduate, short and upskilling course pages. We’ve produced almost 270 new guides that have been used over 66,000 times in the last month alone. We’ve migrated nearly 300 policies and procedures that are used 20,000 times every month. We’re now integrated with core business systems to provide clean and automatic data for our people, courses and modules and harmonising data sets between systems to facilitate future innovation. All at a time where we’re having to react and innovate to new and emerging trends that the pandemic is presenting us with.

Search was also a key item that we needed to improve. Since we’ve moved completely to the new system our latest analysis on search is showing that people are using search more but having to search less when they are using it. This is due to better search results and far fewer people exiting search without finding what they are looking for.

Where we’re going

There’s always more to do though and as we reach the end of the initial migration by the end of this year (fingers crossed and pandemic permitting!) we get into an exciting stage of iteration and innovation on the solid foundations that we’ve built so far. Personalisation anyone?!

For those still reading and interested, here’s a list of all the sections that have already gone live.

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