Centralized content management systems have streamlined the way colleges build and maintain their websites across multiple departments. When each website at your school is managed on one content management system (CMS), it’s easy to share content and branding while making customizations to support the varied needs and target audiences of each individual site.
The convenience of using a CMS is reflected in its widespread adoption. In a 2011.eduGuru Higher Ed CMS Usage Survey, 96% of college reps indicated their institution uses a CMS. And yet, the top complaint among survey respondents was the lack of a useful calendar system in their CMS package. What’s a thriving college campus to do?
Even though your CMS might not offer a powerful calendar solution, that doesn’t mean you should throw the ease and efficiency of centralization that you’ve come to enjoy out the window. Help both administrators and students reap some of the same benefits you would get from a centralized CMS by centralizing your college’s online calendar.
Here’s how the benefits of centralizing your CMS stack up with the benefits of centralizing your calendar:
1. Centralized management
One CMS means one individual is the designated go-to person for questions concerning campus web development. Confusion over who controls access or how to update a website vanishes and is replaced by taking action to solve problems. One calendar achieves the same convenience for those who wish to add events to your school’s calendar, or generate a calendar for their departments’ pages.
2. Shared content
A centralized CMS can offer schools the ability to share important web content, such as class descriptions or directory listings, across department sites without necessitating duplicate entry of information or risking inconsistent or incorrect content. A centralized calendar replicates this ease by allowing events to be posted to the main calendar and selectively shared on calendar widgets across multiple department sites. No more duplication errors or time wasted entering events on to several calendars.
3. Department-specific web destinations
Like the department-specific websites supported by a centralized CMS, centralized online calendars enable departments, groups, offices and teams to take advantage of the above-mentioned shared content with a focus on personalization. The alumni association might decide to only include events on their calendar widget that would be of interest to visiting alumni. They can also tailor their widget to sort events by categories related to their department. They might choose categories such as fundraisers, homecoming, reunions, or faculty talks.
4. Consistent branding and messaging
A centralized CMS offers a college the ability to maintain the same look and feel to their websites through website templates that allow for some customization. The result is a consistent college brand across all sites that looks collegiate. Centralized calendars offer colleges the same ability to choose a design that fits with their brand, and then to populate it across multiple websites through widgets. Breaking free from the motley collection of calendar types and themes on your college website never looked so good.
5. Users can generate content, admins control publishing
Centralized management doesn’t have to translate to centralized content creation. Just as campus staff can write web content for their department’s website that happens to be managed by a CMS, so too can campus users post events and write event descriptions on centralized calendars. Administrators can then determine the permissions process for approving any user-generated content.
6. Service and support
Centralizing your CMS or calendar means that service and support is centralized, too, saving your staff a lot of time. To take it even further, you can outsource your centralized CMS or calendar platform to a vendor (hint, hint) who will let you maintain control of your websites and calendar, but provide service and support when you need it. You can lean on your service provider for specialized technical help instead of turning to your IT department, which has other campus issues to worry about.
7. Streamlined user experience
In our survey of students at current Localist customers, students picked the ability to see all events in one place as our calendar’s top feature. For your users, it’s easier to see all events in one place, so they can check out the concert on the quad and the visiting Public Policy lecturer with just a few clicks.
Just as your college’s centralized CMS makes it easy and efficient to manage your web development across campus, a centralized calendar can help connect and build your campus community. Events and gatherings, whether academic, social, or a mix of both, add life to a college campus and bring community members together. Support this important component of the college experience by centralizing your calendar.
Interested in learning about the myriad of ways a centralized online calendar can help your campus community thrive? Check out our eBook, “Why Your Online Calendar Should be Social.”