In the past year, has received more than 11.5 million hits, with the average visitor browsing the site for almost 19 minutes at a time. Take away all the local traffic (people visiting the site while on campus), and received attention from 777,000 different people around the world in the past 12 months, each of them spending an average of 21 minutes on the site.

I emphasize those visitors not on campus (think prospective students from out-of-state and abroad) because for many of them is their first and only impression of Loyola University New Orleans. Our primary goal here in the Office of Web Communications is to make that impression as good and as memorable as it can possibly be. After all, if someone in that demographic is dissatisfied with the university’s web presence they are unlikely to form a positive opinion of Loyola as a whole.

So, how does the Web Team ensure that the university is represented well on the web? Well, it usually involves a lot of communication, cooperation and collaboration with countless people here at Loyola, including faculty, staff and students. Those are the people who best know the departments and courses and can help us deliver an accurate representation of them online. Without their input, the best we can hope to deliver is a fancy car with no steering and no engine – nice to look at, but ultimately useless.

The best part about this collective effort is that everyone reaps the rewards. Here are some examples:

  • Dr. Erin Dupuis, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, put together a great array of photographs and content for the new Department of Psychology website. The photos show tools used to analyze human and animal behavior. The content includes useful links to forms, degree program course listings, professional clubs and organizations, and other resources for psychology students. Dr. Dupuis pointed students to those resources at her department’s welcome meeting for incoming freshmen this fall. “It’s very helpful to have the course plans online, so when we meet with students, they know what [courses] they need to complete for every semester,” she said.
  • Teri Berthelot, academic counselor for the College of Social Sciences, spends a lot of time with students, helping them understand the requirements they need to complete a degree or minor. She regularly points students to the website to download forms or read more about requirements they need. When she’s not helping students, she assists faculty with advising. “Often times I only have an email and a voice on a phone. The pictures on [faculty members'] bios are enormously helpful,” Berthelot said.
  • Before the homepage was redesigned last Summer, the Web Team assembled a student focus group to ask what should be kept from the old design and what new features should be added. Many of the group’s recommendations were followed, resulting in a refurbished front page that keeps students updated on all the latest news and events at Loyola while also allowing them quick access to popular destinations such as Loymail and Blackboard.

The importance of a strong web presence is only set to grow in the future. If you’re a faculty or staff member here at Loyola, you can use this to your advantage by ensuring your corner of has useful, up-to-date information. Doing so will save you time and headaches in the long run. Imagine having to repeatedly answer the same questions via phone, versus taking thirty minutes to write and publish an online FAQ or blog post which can then be accessed on-demand. Archiving such content means something you publish today can continue to give value years from now.

Indeed, the web is important for higher education. In light of that, here’s to making the best it can be.

Web Content Editor Crystal Bolner contributed to this post.

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