Newedge was approached by RSM Agency to design and build a brand new fully responsive fully content controlled website for Bolton College
Bolton College offers over 800 full and part time courses geared towards high quality vocational training that enables students to enhance their skills and, ultimately, become more employable.
They have five main centres around Bolton, and needed a website to match their fantastic service. Bolton approached their agency partner RSM Agency to help them find a suitable partner. RSM Agency approached Newedge and we were subsequently engaged and tasked with completely rebuilding their web presence from the ground up.
Top of the list was a brand new, fresh, custom design with mobile-readiness at the forefront of their requirements, full integration of a wealth of existing content and a two way API with their existing course booking platform EBS- oh, and not to mention an easy-to-use course finder for students!
The end result we believe is fantastic. We know the college were absolutely delighted with the new website and could not believe how simple it was to manage and control changes themselves.
Custom built and mobile ready
At Newedge, we’ve never dealt with website templates; we view every project as deserving of a unique, fresh design.
Bolton College was no different, and with so much content to pack into their new website it was imperative that we focused on a design that was engaging, beautiful but also highly functional. The user experience was going to be crucial and also recognising and understanding the needs of the very different type of users that would be visiting the website.
Crucially, it needed to work flawlessly on mobile devices, and by turning to the Silverstripe CMS, we were able to build a website that scaled effortlessly on smaller screens, enabling students to access it from wherever they happened to be.
The course finder
Head to the new Bolton College website, and you’re presented with a super-simple way to find a course that matches your exact criteria.
Just choose what you’d like to learn, how you’d like to learn it and whether you’re a young person or adult. The site then displays the most relevant courses from their huge stock.
This was a vital part of the new website and one which we’re confident students will love, given its simplicity and power (that’s what the web is all about, after all).
This was built in such away to allow the college to fully manage all the inputs and all the outputs within the easy to use and control content management system (CMS). Meaning that they can easily add new options or remove existing ones to help the users find exactly what they are looking for.
Dynamic block design
To pack in all of that invaluable content, we opted for a block design. This enabled us to create pages that used every inch of screen real estate sensibly and for the benefit of the user.
The website is also fully content controllable, which means with some relatively brief training, anyone at Bolton College with sufficient access rights can edit existing text and images, and add new blog posts, news items, courses, pop up call to actions, new banner sliders and course content whenever required.
The result is a site that is both contemporary and forward thinking, and which has already saved the college considerable time and expense in updating and maintaining.
Completion of all redirects and new on-site SEO
The old Bolton College website had over 800 pages of content. For the most part this content was migrated onto the new site (as well as the addition of almost the same in course based information dynamically controlled through the two way API with their course booking system, EBS).
As with all the websites we build the new website had been built using user and search friendly URLs. Since Bolton College's old website had not been built in this fashion it meant that we needed to ensure a robust 301 redirection plan for all the old pages to ensure no page not found errors for those that my have booked marked the old pages or for those searches that Google had not refreshed.
At the same time as completing our redirect plan we also updated all the main headings, all the meta titles and all the primary meta descriptions. This was crucial to ensure that the current search traffic was maintained while also looking at improving the ranking, visibility and enquiries from the new website.
And finally...GDPR compliance built in
When the new GDPR rules came into effect in May 2018, web design changed. We’ve taken this to heart, because we understand the dangers of being non-compliant.
This is why Bolton College’s website is built with a GDPR-first mindset, with data security sitting at the heart of its infrastructure and the way in which it collects, processes and stores personal data made fully compliant with the GDPR.
"We are extremely happy with our new website - Newedge listened and understood our needs and as a result, they have created a mobile-first responsive design, appropriate for all platforms, that meets the growing demands of Bolton College’s online users.
We were particularly impressed with the 2-way API Newedge created, which works with our in-house EBS system to pull through course data; previously, we updated courses manually in some areas, but the 2-way API enables courses to pull through dynamically, which has had a positive impact, saving us valuable time and resources.
The user experience has improved massively; our visitors can now use an interactive calendar to book events and the ability to find courses is quicker and easier, thanks to the ‘Find your course’ search implemented by Newedge. The site has also been built to integrate with new systems, enabling users to continue to book events and enrol on courses in the future.
Throughout the construction of the new website, Newedge were on hand to answer any questions or queries we may have had, and Pete personally travelled to Bolton to show us the website when it was at staging. We’d also like to give special thanks to Tammy, who was our main contact at Newedge. The support she provided was invaluable, and she helped to make the transition from our old to new website as painless as possible."
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