The Otero Junior College website at www.ojc.edu, has recently gone through a major update that has resulted in a new look that is following current trends for colleges and universities across the nation.
According to Guy Randall, OJC webmaster, the website was transferred to a new content management system (CMS) five years ago that resulted in major changes in the look and navigation of the website at that time.
“Five years is not a huge length of time, but in website years it is significant,” said Randall. “We have kept the foundation, known as the CMS platform, that the website is built upon, while giving over 1000 pages on our website the equivalent of a fresh coat of paint,” explained Randall.
The OJC website is considered the primary marketing tool for Otero Junior College. With today’s digital marketing opportunities that drive viewers to the website and online interactions with potential students, the website recorded over 353,000 visitors last year with 170,000 of those visitors being new, first-time visitors.
Almabeth Kaess, Vice President of Enrollment Management at OJC, explains that with the large amount of people who visit the site on a daily basis, it is important that the site be easy to use and people can find what they are looking for quickly.
“We began working with a website designer in 2014 out of California who specializes in designing college websites. His insights about what makes a college website easy to use have been developed from years of working in the field and conducting focus groups with college students who tell him what they want to see and how they want to use a college’s website. Before we began our current redesign we not only relied on our designer’s recommendations, we also conducted our own research with a focus group here on campus made up of students, faculty and staff,” said Kaess.
In addition to being attractive and easy to navigate, a website must maintain a high ranking for search engine optimization (SEO) that allows internet users to quickly find what they are looking for in an online search. To achieve a high SEO ranking, the OJC website must maintain high quality content as well as four indicators that are not visible to most website visitors. According to Randall, these four factors are reviewed on a daily basis by an independent evaluation program and the site receives scores based on compliance.
“The higher score we receive on each of the four indicators translates into better accessibility to users doing online searches because search engines like Google recognize our site as highly credible and that moves us ahead of others who do not rank as high,” he explained. “I am especially proud of our accessibility score of 99.6. We work daily to increase our scores in the other three areas through the use of keywords and content.”
The four factors that search engines look for include:
Digital Certainty Index (mobile speed): OJC score = 96.6/100
Quality Assurance (broken links): OJC score = 94.3/100
Accessibility (for visual impaired): OJC score = 99.6/100
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): OJC score = 88.1/100
To visit the OJC website go to www.ojc.edu. Within the site, visitors can explore information and history about the campus, take an online tour, learn about enrolling in college as a new student, make a free application to the college and explore the many programs of study the college offers. Visitors can also log into live webcasts of athletic events and explore the campus calendar for campus and community events.