University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Several of us are currently migrating sites from various CMS's to WordPress. Let's use this discussion thread to share our tips and experiences with WordPress at the departmental and institutional level. (Thanks to Hillary and Steve for kicking off this discussion!)

Views: 761

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

We moved the main public website for Erikson Institute over to WordPress at the beginning of the year. We're thrilled with the change and love the affordability and flexibility of WP compared to the boutique, proprietary CMS we were on before.

The migration was pretty intense, though. Even though the design of our site didn't change with the CMS, the logic of our old platform was so different than WP that I just hired student workers to copy and paste every page of the site. It was a huge process, but actually ended up being more affordable and I think was higher quality than if we'd simply exported SQL and tried to do it that way.

We also created a mu-plugin to redirect the thousands of old URLs from the previous platform.

I actually just gave a talk at WordCamp Chicago about launching the new site. My slides are here, if that's of any interest: http://www.jgordonwright.com/wordpress-goes-to-college-a-case-study/

Great slides, Gordon! I'm working out what we think may be our custom post types and taxonomy. Since I could only read your slides, what was your presentation on curation of content like? How did you curate program pages and guides, research grants, etc.?

From a technical standpoint, we really used that Zone Manager plugin to curate a lot of that. One example is the slider on our homepage. The plugin provides an easy UI for picking any page or post on the site as an item in the slider, and then simply dragging-and-dropping to choose the order of those items.

For linking our programs, courses, faculty, and research, we used the post-to-post plugin. By doing this we can have all the courses for a particular program show up, for instance. Or all the research for a particular faculty member show up on their page.

All I really mean by curation is that we ended up having fewer areas of the site that simply list things chronologically or alphabetically than I had initially expected. It turned out that any somewhat important webpage required us to be really thoughtful about what appeared and in what order. 

Hope that helps!

Definitely. Thanks! What sort of feedback did you get from departments and other content managers who felt deep ownership of their content (that might or might not have been cut from the final)?

Aha, here's where the small size of Erikson has been a huge boon. We really don't have too many content managers out there, and we've managed to centralize a lot of that. So for us the problem isn't control over the content, it's capacity for keeping it up to date.

I see a positive trend here... Migration from proprietary and expensive 'big iron' CMS systems to open source alternatives is beginning to gather traction in the higher education sector.

I'm a big fan of moving to open source software wherever it is feasible. In the CMS realm we have three very good projects that are good candidates for consideration: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. I'll keep focusing my comments in this thread on WordPress, but it would be interesting to see if others want to open similar threads for Drupal and (possibly) Joomla.

Our choice of WordPress for Brescia University College is based on a number of factors: ease of use and familiarity for contributors and editors, a large community of developers, a wide range of useful and functional plug-ins, clean upgrade paths between major versions, and a relatively low dependency on coding to carry out common customizations.

We've been using WordPress for a few years for blogs and news.  We are now starting to use it as a website content management system for some small marketing sites and some of our smaller campus sites, e.g  Curtin Singapore and Curtin Sydney

The rest of the Curtin site is in OpenText CMS or our in-house ColdFusion framework. We're just starting a CMS review project so WordPress will be one of the solutions that will be reviewed as a possible replacement for OpenText and our ColdFusion framework.

It would be great to have a list of universities that are using WordPress as a CMS (rather than just for blogging). Does such a list already exist or is that something we can start here?

This is a good start: http://www.wpbeginner.com/showcase/17-popular-universities-that-are.... Also, we are using WP for our sites but we're still migrating - Georgia State University: http://www.gsu.edu.

There's a open Google spreadsheet for higher ed sites using Wordpress: http://bit.ly/12nblfc

There's also a mailing list for wordpress and higher ed: http://lists.automattic.com/mailman/listinfo/wp-edu and a new site/community: http://wphighed.org

Cara, your links have been extremely useful. We're seriously considering migrating to Wordpress over the summer. We've used TYPO3 since 2009, which is another open-source CMS. I appreciate all the comments posted so far, but I wonder what people's experience is like after using Wordpress for a year or two? Do you still feel you've made the right choice?

Hi Julie,

My experience has been very positive. We are now running several WordPress multisites, and if I could encapsulate the results it would be:

  • Much improved editing experience for departmental users compared to other CMS.
  • Much reduced training time for new staff.
  • Much reduced support time for the web developer.
  • We use managed hosting (wpcloud.ca) and are not running into any performance issues, and have excellent support from them.
  • Development of new plugins and themes is less expensive that competing technologies. (As a rough rule of thumb, costs tend to be 30% less that Drupal for the same functionality.)

I'll be glad to fill in details and discuss if anyone has questions, and would love to hear other's experience with migrating to WordPress as an institutional CMS.

RSS

Elsewhere

Latest Activity

Profile IconKrishneel Kishor and Dana DeFebbo joined University Web Developers
2 hours ago
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Learn how to quickly arm yourself with the website usability data you need to cut through internal politics! Tune in to Higher Ed Live this Friday at 1PM ET. "
3 hours ago
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Nearly 57 million people in the U.S. have some form of disability. Learn how to S.I.F.T. through your website’s content for accessibility compliance in today's post! "
5 hours ago
Nic Winn replied to Morgan A. Huff's discussion Is there a University Web Developers Slack group?
"A team just started up. You can send a request to leta@berkeley.edu and she can add your schools domain. Then anyone with ann address there can sign in at https://uwebd.slack.com/signup."
5 hours ago
Kelsey Layos posted a discussion

Help faculty, staff, and students transition to Canvas!

The Office of Information Technology at UCI has two vacancies for Technology Support Specialists to assist faculty, staff, and students through the Canvas transition (see sites.uci.edu/canvas/).Please share this with others looking to:Help faculty, staff, and students use Canvas and associated toolsSolve problems and remove barriers for end-users dealing with software changeDevelop productive relationships and positive rapport with…See More
yesterday
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"It's Module Monday! Strengthen your school's marketing power and brand with our Faculty Directory module. See it in action! "
Monday
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"How do you get all the help your web team needs without taking a bite out of the budget? We've got the answer in today's blog post!!​​"
Apr 27
Profile IconCraig Koebelin and Evan Starr joined University Web Developers
Apr 27
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Learn why Hope College switched from open source Drupal to OU Campus to manage its website in our new case study! "
Apr 25
Ronny Murahwa is now a member of University Web Developers
Apr 21
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Check out today's blog post for tips on how to structure your institution's website content based on student interests! "
Apr 20
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Ready to optimize your website visitors' search experience? Tune in this Friday to Higher Ed Live at 1PM ET and get tips on how it’s done from Utah Valley University and Oklahoma City Community College. "
Apr 20
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Get your 2016 Gadget Challenge idea submitted for a chance to win free registration to #OUTC17! "
Apr 19
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"There’s no better time to shine than at NCMPR’s 2017 national conference in Charleston, SC! Submit your proposal by May 2 for your chance to present. "
Apr 15
Kevin Kinder commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Learn about the website transformation that got University of North Carolina School of the Arts nominated for a Webby Award in our latest blog post!"
Apr 13
Kevin Kinder commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Let’s show support for our fellow OmniUpdate community member and vote for University of North Carolina School of the Arts in The Webby Awards. Their site is stunning!"
Apr 12
Kevin Kinder commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Does your site look stunning on desktop, but takes eons to load on mobile? Tarrant County College’s Stephen Fornal has the fix in Community college week!"
Apr 7
Kevin Kinder commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Don’t play catch-up! It’s critical to focus on your web presence now rather than later. Why? Get the scoop on our blog."
Apr 6
Kevin Kinder commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Introducing Module Monday, where every first Monday of the month one of our modules will be featured. Check out this month's module! "
Apr 6
Kevin Kinder commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"CCCU’s 2016 Commission on Technology Conference is going to be simply amazing... Don’t miss your chance to present! Proposals due 4/15."
Apr 6

UWEBD has been in existence for more than 10 years and is the very best email discussion list on the Internet, in any industry, on any topic

About

© 2016   Created by Mark Greenfield.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service