Web Services

The state of migration

Where we were

I thought it might be helpful to just give a quick overview of how the web improvement project is going. When we started the project in 2017, our web presence as a university was generally in very bad shape. We had nearly 540,000 content items indexed by Google, of which only 36,000 were actually on the corporate website which itself was on a failing infrastructure.

So have things improved?

Where we are

We’re now looking at just over 154,000 items indexed by Google, which is a huge decrease in the amount of content floating out there and potentially hurting us. The main corporate website itself has also lost weight with just over 23,000 articles now featured on it. It consists of approximately 14,000 pages plus additional documents and resources. In 2017, just 3,000 of them were getting more than one shot a day, which has now more than doubled to over 6,000.

However, it was more than just a cleanup, we started completely rebuilding the site from scratch in 2019 and reworking and migrating content to the new systems and templates. Of the 14,000 pages, over 11,000 are now on the new platform and only 3,000 remain. In terms of traffic, by the end of this month we should see around 80% of our traffic go through the new platform.

That migration saw the team engage with a diverse range of stakeholders, with us having worked closely with nearly every school and professional directorate since the start of the migration. We have rewritten all pages of our undergraduate, postgraduate, short and refresher courses. We’ve produced nearly 270 new guides that have been used more than 66,000 times in the last month alone. We’ve migrated nearly 300 policies and procedures that are used 20,000 times a month. We are now integrated with core business systems to deliver clean, automated data for our people, courses and modules, and harmonize data sets across systems to facilitate future innovation. All at a time when we have to react and innovate to the new and emerging trends that the pandemic is presenting to us.

Search was also a key element that we needed to improve. Since we’ve fully transitioned to the new system, our latest analysis of search shows that people are using search more but need to search less when using it. This is due to the better search results and the fact that far fewer people leave the search without finding what they are looking for.

Where are we going

However, there’s always more to do, and when we reach the end of the initial migration later this year (fingers crossed, pandemic permitting!) we enter an exciting phase of iteration and innovation on the solid foundation we’ve built so distant. Personalization anyone?!

For those still reading and interested, here is a list of all the sections that have already been published.

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