Author: vschuler2013

Improving our sight…er, site

Siteimprove web governance toolA while back I sent an email about this slick-as-all-get-out “web governance” tool — called Siteimprove — that the Saint Martin’s powers-that-be bestowed on the marketing and communications office, much like Glinda the Good Witch bestowed ruby slippers on Dorothy.

Now, your first question might be: What email?
Followed by: Web wha’?
Then: Aaaand what does it have to do with me?

In the spirit of short and sweet, here are my answers:

What email? Doesn’t matter. Forget this one.
Web wha’? Governance. Web governance.
Think of it this way: web governance is all the stuff we do to run the website and make sure it’s working well. From who works on the site (you, our glorious web assistants!), to how we get things done (workflow), what standards we adhere to (style and content guidelines), what our goals are (well, uh…goals) and the nuts of bolts of doing it correctly (no broken links, misspelled words, incorrect coding, accessibility issues, pages that aren’t being visited that we should get rid of, etc.). Hmm…maybe Wikipedia’s definition was better. Leaner anyway.

Slick-as-all-getout interface

Wow! That IS a slick-as-all-getout interface!

Aaaand what does it have to do with me?
You’ll be able to see where your site is broken so you can fix it. Cool, right? (Yes, I’m a geek.)

Through Siteimprove’s slick-as-all-get-out interface, we can see all the things on the website that might need a-fixin’ (say, broken links or misspellings) and clean ’em up. These fixes are important for a couple of reasons:

  1. Search engines, like Google, treat websites that are well-constructed and well-maintained much nicer than those that are not. Much nicer = higher placement in the search results. This is a good thing.
  2. A well-constructed, well-maintained website helps foster trust between us and our users. Just think about your own experiences. What happens to you when you go to a site and experience misspellings or broken links? Kinda yucky, right?

I’ve completed configuration of Siteimprove and next week, if you’re a primary web assistant, you’ll receive an email inviting you to complete your Siteimprove account setup. Once you do, you’ll:

  • Receive weekly status reports on the health of your website, seeing:
    • Broken links
    • Misspellings
    • (These are the big kahunas. Other things we’ll look at as time goes on.)
  • Be able to login to Siteimprove, see exactly what pages have problems and where the problems are on the .aspx page of your website. Once you’ve pinpointed the issue, you’ll fix it in SharePoint Designer, then send a publish request to Carl.

To help you learn how to use Siteimprove, I’ll be setting up a training. If you’d like to dive in on your own, please check out Siteimprove’s video tutorials or sign up for one of their weekly 30-minute training sessions.

Cheers team!


Saint Martin's vs. SMUI should be writing an introduction post to begin this new Hot Topics! marketing and communications blog, but in the spirit in which the blog is intended, i.e. down and dirty quick tips for you–our fabulous roster of web assistants–this is going to be short and sweet! So get ready for our first Hot Topic!

Saint Martin’s vs. the “SMU”

For branding purposes (and not to get confused with Southern Methodist University), spell out Saint Martin’s rather than using SMU. This is especially important for any external communications.

How’s that for short!

Santa meets Lao Tzu: Saint Martin’s University’s website redesign project

Lao Tzu says, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

Our first step began in spring 2014 when then-Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Jennifer Fellinger, came to the team and said, “We’ve been given a budget for a website redesign!” After mopping up the coffee sprayed all over the table, we shouted, “Yeehaw!” Followed closely by, “Uh, what now?”

“What now?” became step two: Web Manager, Carl Lew, now-Vice President, Genevieve Chan and me, Web Content Manager, Vanessa Schuler, stole away from the rest of the tasks on our plate — early mornings here, late afternoons there — to build, compile, write, list, collect, amass, edit and refine a letter to Santa (a.k.a. Request for Proposal, a.k.a. wishlist) asking for the whole enchilada: one, unique higher ed marketing and web design firm that “gets” Saint Martin’s University.

After two solid months of thinking and conceiving and analyzing and envisioning, we put a stamp on it, and on September 11, 2014 we moved to step three: popping ourĀ North Pole petition into the mail (i.e. email, Twitter and the RFPDatabase) in hopes that Saint Nicholas would hear our plea.

Now the way I understand how Santa to works, you write your letter, put it in the mail and wake up Christmas morning with either a lump of coal or a shiny new toy, depending on whether you’re naughty or nice. Weeelllll, Santa works a little differently on projects with a budget, so a few weeks after we sent our letter into the Internet ether…Ba-da-boom, ba-da-bing! An elf appeared at the MarCom door with 16 proposals ranging in size from 20 pages to 75 pages and a note from Santa saying “Season’s greetings! You decide!”

Ack! Egads! How to choose?

This led to step four:

Like Who’s down in Whoville, the tall and the small,
We poured through proposals, we went through them all.
We gave the committee* the best we could see,
And asked if they’d rank them: one, two or three!

By October the committee had ranked the three vendors and invited them to campus. Step five. One by one they came. Bringing gifts of words, ideas and presentations–each according to their strengths. And their strengths were legion!

We scurried back to HQ to converse, examine and weigh. Through quiet contemplation and deep deliberation we arrived at a decision (step six), dispatching our choice (step seven), via candy cane pneumatic tube, back to the land of snow, to see if Santa would deliver the goods! And…

It’s not yet Christmas, but we’re happy to say,
Step eight has happened, yay, yay and YAY!
Santa delivered our vendor of choice,OHO Interactive logo
The one we believe will give us our voice.
The one who will “get” us and help us achieve,
The magic we’re seeking, the stories we’ll weave!
Hailing from Boston, a fabulous team,
OHO Interactive, they’re truly our dream!

Congratulations to OHO Interactive and Saint Martin’s University on our gift of collaboration!

Our journey of a thousand steps has begun. Thank you to President Heynderickx, the Board of Trustees, Dino Batali and our amazing web committee for helping us take these first steps.

Stay tuned to our MarCom blog. This is a journey we’re taking together. We want to share each step with you and get feedback from you along the way.

“OHO, ho! Merry Christmas!”

*Our web committee: super-duper-troopers Dino Batali, Deanna Bourgault, Bailey Craft, Greg Davis, Ellamae Donato, Meg Dwyer, Genevieve Gottwald, Scot Harrison, Fumie Hashimoto, Ryan Jackson, Spencer Jerome, Megan Lobdell, Mary MaselliĀ and Alyssa Nastasi.