2011 Archives

Do Long Scrolling Pages Work?

Super long pages are a growing design trend in higher education. Do they work? Do visitors read the content? Can you measure it? You sure can.

December 21, 2011 — 1 Comment

Leaving AgencyND

Almost six years ago, I started working in higher ed web marketing. In two weeks, I start a new job in a different career path.

November 11, 2011 — 2 Comments

Difference Between Creativity and Innovation

I once attended a class on innovation and the instructor led with this question: what was the difference between Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison?

November 07, 2011 — 0 Comments

My 1996 Spam Filter

It’s usually a mystery how a spammer got your info. But in 1996, a tiny mistake became to the most useful spam filter I’ve ever found.

October 26, 2011 — 0 Comments

Leadership and Football

I am not your average football fan. Sure, I love a good heart-thumping one-handed-catch-in-the- endzone-display-of-raw-athleticism as much as the next guy, but I also enjoy a more cerebral appreciation to the sport. That’s why, with football season back in full force, so too is my rekindled fascination with systems theory concepts such as emergence and the organizational principles of leadership. A guest post by Brian Grundy.

October 23, 2011 — 4 Comments

6 Things I Wish I'd Known 10 Years Ago

My blog is 5 years old, and I’ve been working professionally in this industry for a decade. Reading Katya Andresen’s blog got me thinking about what I would have told my young self, just embarking on a career (without quite realizing that’s what I was doing).

October 12, 2011 — 1 Comment

Real-Time Stats from Google Analytics

Today, Google unveiled Real-Time Google Analytics and released it to a handful of accounts. You could request to have it turned on for your account, and within a couple of hours of making that request they turned it on for me.

September 29, 2011 — 2 Comments

Design Convergence in Higher Ed Websites

There are over 4000 higher ed institutions in the United States. With largely similar audiences (prospective students, current students, parents, faculty, alumni, donors, etc.) and goals (recruitment, retention, donations, etc.) we’re certainly not alone in our challenges. Thus, when faced the same problems we come up with the same solutions. This is what I call design convergence.

September 02, 2011 — 2 Comments

"That Sucks": Negative Feedback after Launch

On July 1, we launched ND.edu 4.0. This was a new look and feel for the site, as well as a conceptually different approach to the homepage and navigation. But the biggest change was a fundamental shift in who our audiences were. I’ll elaborate on these later, but that’s not the point of this post. The point? Every time we make a major change to the design of the ND.edu homepage, we get feedback. And it’s overwhelmingly negative.

August 16, 2011 — 5 Comments

Afraid of Letting People Work from Home?

Last year during a higher ed panel discussion, I mentioned that most of my team works from home several days a week. In fact, sometimes an employee is only in the office one or two days a week. This immediately generated questions about productivity, how I keep tabs on their work, and whether HR ...

August 09, 2011 — 6 Comments

Yes, You Should Chase Shiny Objects

If Google does something, we all notice. If a hot, new social network hits, we all notice. So this week, the world is a-buzz with the latest social network, Google+. And if you’re a cynic, like me, you’re thinking, “Great! Another social network. What makes this special?” Here’s the thing: it’s ok to be intrigued or cynical.

July 06, 2011 — 2 Comments

Social-Media-as-Savior Syndrome

New term, you heard it here first. SMASS: Social-Media-as-Savior Syndrome. A few weeks ago I wrote about a return to business fundamentals and away from the eager puppy focus that many of our colleagues have to social media. Then I presented to a group of marketing professionals at “social ...

June 09, 2011 — 2 Comments

Should there even be a backchannel?

At major conferences, there are always attendees to blog, tweet, and chat about the conference while it’s happening. This is known as a backchannel. Many conferences and events share official Twitter hashtags (e.g., #eduweb) to help attendees find each other. At Railsconf a few years ago, ...

June 07, 2011 — 8 Comments

Is Social Media a Waste of Time?

Yesterday I taught a workshop on social media to a group of small business owners. Halfway through the session, I realized that teaching these folks about social media was all wrong. They didn’t need to learn about making friends on Facebook or video blogging on YouTube. Half the room didn&...

May 16, 2011 — 6 Comments

Through the Critic's Looking Glass

I spend a lot of time looking at other higher ed websites. Knowing what’s out there is part of our job. Last week, a few colleagues and I spent some time sharing our favorite sites and looking at what others are doing out there. And something strange happened: we became critics. If you have...

April 11, 2011 — 0 Comments

Tales from the Cloud

Last week, the hard drive on my laptop stopped spinning. I knew it was coming, after hearing the dreaded clicks and very luckily getting the machine to boot and function again for a few days before the next round of clicks. When the drive finally met its end, I found myself with a fresh install o...

March 29, 2011 — 0 Comments

Rising Boats: Colleague Education

Every month, we offer “brown bag” presentations to our fellow campus communicators. These staff and administrators are responsible for some kind of communications role, whether for their program, department, or entire college or division. The skills and backgrounds vary widely, leadin...

March 24, 2011 — 1 Comment

The Holy Grail of Higher Ed Web Governance

Every website has a consistent look and feel, one that clearly identifies itself as part of the institution. The overarching themes and messages come through loud and clear, never varying. Every sentence has a common voice. Everything is completely up to date. And the site goals get measured and ...

March 17, 2011 — 0 Comments

Post-Launch, Part 2: Payoff and Performance

In Part 1: The Dangers of Letting Your Website Stagnate, I argued that a website project never really ends – that the risks of leaving a website alone can actually cost you money, and not just from missed opportunities. So what do you do after launch? The answer to that begins before launc...

March 10, 2011 — 0 Comments

Post-Launch, Part 1: The Dangers of Letting Your Website Stagnate

We all know the feelings of a major web project – the rush leading up to the launch, the last-minute jitters, the discovery of problems, and the relief of finally going “live.” Websites are long projects. But unlike many other marketing materials, launching a website isn’t...

February 25, 2011 — 0 Comments

3 Tales of Shut the Hell Up

The Chatterbox A few years ago, I was in a meeting with a group of officers at Notre Dame. I was accompanied by my boss, who insisted that he be present. But during the discussion I was about the speak up and my boss signaled to me to wait – I held my tongue. The rest of the group continued...

February 17, 2011 — 0 Comments

Horizon Report 2011 for Marketers

Last year, we looked at the 2010 Horizon Report and the emerging technologies that are expected to affect our institutions in the next five years. Now, the 2011 Horizon Report is out, and as it is with every year some technologies creep closer and others mysteriously fade away. Let’s take a...

February 11, 2011 — 0 Comments

Our Higher Ed Web Journey

When I joined higher ed in 2005, marketing seemed to be a dirty word. Web designers were starting to add reflections and big rounded corners. Many developers were still building with tables and font tags ran rampant. To many, terms like “information architecture” and “content st...

February 10, 2011 — 0 Comments

3 Email Marketing Failures, Illustrated Edition

Three tales of email marketing gone awry, where they went wrong, and what you can do to make sure you don’t have an email fail.

February 02, 2011 — 0 Comments

Please Choose for Me

My inbox is full. My feed reader is full. Twitter is overflowing with links, articles, blog posts, and other great content that I just can’t miss. But I do miss it. The signal-to-noise ratio is low, and I need help. In the last five minutes, I’ve seen 11 articles roll by on my twitter...

January 17, 2011 — 5 Comments

Becoming Dispensable: A 12-Point Manifesto

I have to become dispensable. A linchpin is under pressure to stay in place. If things cannot move forward without me, then I am slowing progress. I trusted my team enough to hire them, invest in them, and put my career in their hands. Leadership and management are not the same thing. Ideas are ...

January 10, 2011 — 0 Comments

Yes, Clothes Make the Man

A few months ago at a conference, I found myself one of just a few who were wearing a tie and I stood out. At a another conference, I found I was one of the few who wasn’t wearing a suit and I stood out again. Guess which one I preferred? Nick Denardis started a brief discussion last month...

January 03, 2011 — 4 Comments