He also says that Buzzr specifically works with smaller colleges with smaller needs, which results in a cheaper cost.
“With us, the cost is dramatically reduced depending on your need,” he says. “Even with a completely custom design, layout and strategy, it’s still going to be closer to 100,000 [dollars] rather than one million. It’s way cheaper and way faster than the university market.”
6) Creating multisite platforms
For larger colleges, web companies can craft a multisite platform to support any cause on campus that needs web attention. Sussman says these can be used for student organizations or faculty profiles.
“We preconfigure templates for specific purposes,” he says. “It’s sort of like a sample website. “With one click you choose the type of website you want, with another click you go through the different design options and can put together a website in ten seconds. From there, you can customize it.”
7) Centralized management on a multi-site platform
Sussman says a big problem is they have different websites that are each managed separately by a different person, using separate content management systems. He says colleges have the option of having their sites migrated or built under the roof of one platform using same content management system. From there, companies like Buzzr can serve as a central administrator to decide who has permission to build and maintain websites.
Sussman says that having a centrally managed website cuts down stress and confusion between the people managing it and keeps the content management system organized.
“One of the problems we’re solving there is we’re unifying everybody under the same system, which means they just have one technology they need to worry about,” he says. “What sometimes happens at big schools is they are decentralized, and can change what they want on parts of the website. When a school does that, they might end up with eight or ten different content management systems, and all sorts of different levels of technology, some very good, some very bad.”
Sussman says colleges that are looking to revamp their websites should keep their eye on the future, especially on the new design’s flexibility with upcoming technology installs.
“I think school should think about the long-term,” he says. “They should think about whether the content management system they’re adopting is flexible enough to grow over time, or where they don’t need to do major upgrades…Ask questions about what’s going to happen in three to four years for upgrades.”
Most importantly, Sussman says colleges should keep their end-users in mind when reworking their website. This includes faculty, current students and prospective students.
“Think about the average person who’s going to be using the website every day, putting up content,” he says. “Think about whether the interface is going to be easy enough for them on a day to day basis. They need to think about who’s going to use it and how easy it’s going to be.”
Video: Take a look at Paul Smith’s College’s journey to a new website.