An award-winning website
Focusing on what matters
The University of Gloucestershire, despite being among the smallest UK universities, had a website among the biggest – 13,500 pages of unbranded chaos. Out of these, just 350 were responsible for 95% of all site traffic.
This was especially concerning, as the university was experiencing concerning decreases in student recruitment. It was agreed unanimously that a new website was needed to help the university to regain its competitive edge.
Promoting what matters
We were clear from the offset that the website needed to meet the university’s ‘most pressing’ goals. It needed to promote and differentiate the university brand from competitors whilst supporting student recruitment goals. Clarifying and gaining buy-in to this agenda was important, moving internal stakeholders away from using it as a dumping ground for all audiences and agendas.
Sourcing skilled partners
Our Digital Services team had the technical capabilities we needed to deliver, but we lacked front-end design skills (UX and UI). So we set to work sourcing the right digital agency to help us with our mission.
Once secured, comprehensive competitor and audience research was undertaken to understand user journeys, barriers and motivators. University and commercial websites were tested across different user groups, unveiling the BBC website as a best practice model. It was simple, impactful and intuitive, something our audiences loved.
Building the site
We based our new site on this model, adapting the structure and user interfaces (designs) for our audiences. Concepts and templates were developed and tested, before we were ready to hand it over to our Digital Services team to build.
We then collaborated with university departments – academics, professional services and student support teams – to design and produce content across just four months. We produced a huge amount of new content, including new course, subject and student life profiles, including case studies, photography and videos to tell our most powerful stories.
We concentrated resources on the most valuable assets – 20 pages that were critical in securing revenue, including 12 undergraduate courses (hero courses) that made up 60% of annual student number intake. A tiered editorial approach enabled us to align investments with the most important areas.
Achieving outstanding results
And our investments reaped results! Over a two-year period, the university’s recruitment position transformed, with a 16% increase in firm applications and even more for high-growth courses. Website analytics showed huge improvement also with more visitors, reduced bounce rates and significantly more time spent browsing the site.