Collegiate Tip-of-the-Month: Raise Your Web Visibility
12 July 2004 (collegiateway.org) — Some universites that have one or more residential colleges, or even a complete residential college system, nevertheless hide their collegiate light under an Internet bushel. I know from having searched for residential college information on the web that in many cases it takes a lot of effort just to find the webpage for a particular residential college even when I know the college exists. By exercising a little effort on your campus, you can alleviate this problem not only for international web visitors but also for people on your own campus.
The first step is to ensure that there is one webpage at your university that lists all your residential colleges, and that this college listing can be linked-to directly. People who might want to promote your colleges (like me, for the directory of Residential Colleges Worldwide) aren’t able to point to your collegiate system if the college list is embedded within a long directory page, for example, and has no web address of its own, or if the residential college list is intermingled with other kinds of housing information.
Once you have a page listing all your colleges, work with your university web managers to get a link to that page put on the main home page of the university. This may be more of a political task than a technical one, so be sure to survey the social landscape before making a direct request, and try to make the request face-to-face rather than by email.
When I go to a university website, I can usually tell right away whether its residential college system is a central feature of campus life: if it is, there’s a quick way to get to the directory of colleges; if it isn’t, the list of residential colleges (if there is one) is buried many layers down. You can enhance the standing of your colleges by giving them a clear “web presence” (to use the trendy expression) and by making it easier for visitors of all kinds, including prospective students and officers of other residential colleges, to find you.