After months of mostly behind-the-scenes work, www.mbc.edu is debuting a new look and functionality that will enhance visits to the virtual world of Mary Baldwin College.
The new www.mbc.edu is the seventh iteration of the college’s official website, first introduced in the mid 1990s.
Officially launched on October 30, the site showcases a dramatically different home page; user-friendly navigation options accessible from every page; fresh design details; and updated content that highlights Mary Baldwin’s distinctive strengths. In keeping with an approach that has been successful in print, students, alumnae/i, and faculty are quoted and showcased throughout the site.
“The challenge was to claim our one-college identity while marketing individual programs to disparate audiences,” said Vice President for Public Relations Crista Cabe. “We needed to capture the spirit and personality of Mary Baldwin College and at the same time provide clear pathways to content for those interested in the residential College for Women, VWIL, early college options including PEG, and adult and graduate students.”
Less-obvious, but no less critical, are changes to how content is presented and coded in order to optimize MBC’s presence on the World Wide Web. A cross-college integrated marketing team is working with Charlottesville-based agency Search Mojo in the area of search engine marketing, which involves not only edits to the college’s official website but also links from elsewhere. The goal is to help prospective students who may not know about MBC find the college’s website via searches on Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, and through focused online advertising.
Leading the collaborative redesign effort has been the Communication, Marketing, and Public Affairs (CoMPA) staff, which was reorganized to allow greater emphasis on web development. Top administrators provided direction and advice, and students, faculty, and staff have provided key information and advice along the way.
Though many changes have already been made, the approximately 6,000-page site is a work in progress. The new look and navigational structure provide a foundation for several planned phases of improvement. Updated content and photos for several sections of the site are on the way and new interactive features are being considered. Also in the works are a mobile site for use on smart phones, and a content management system that will offer faculty and staff the ability to update their departmental content directly. Comments and suggestions are welcome at any time and may be submitted through the “Give Us Feedback” link at the bottom left of each page on the site.