The Citadel Military College of South Carolina is where I have worked full-time over the past few years. As the sole person responsible for the college's public-facing website, I maintain over 8,000 pages and train editors around campus. I also develop any brand campaign sites, landing pages, and other necessary subsites.
The Citadel Today - College Newsroom
One of my first big projects at The Citadel was to create a newsroom website for the college. Our entire public website was housed in a single legacy Joomla CMS, including our newsroom. This made it nearly impossible to function correctly as each post was a page on the site with no dedicated area or cross-promotion between posts. To solve this, I designed and developed a separate WordPress website and migrated the content into the new site. The college's public relations team now utilizes the site to post several articles daily in a streamlined and efficient way. Not to mention, the added SEO benefits that came with switching to the WordPress platform.
Brand Guidelines Website
As part of a college-wide brand redesign spearheaded by my teammate, I helped create a brand guidelines website. Before my teammate started at The Citadel, there were no guidelines for using the college's brand, which caused a plethora of issues. To complement the launch of the new brand, I designed and developed a website for use by internal and external stakeholders to show how to properly utilize the new brand.
A major component of this project was the generators that I developed. These generators helped internal stakeholders to create properly branded components that are used daily. Some of the key ones were the marketing lockup generator, the business card generator, and the email signature generator. These helped the college maintain brand consistency across the organization. The business card generator even automatically submits to be printed by the college's printing partner.
The Citadel Magazine
The Citadel Magazine is an annual publication that showcases inspirational stories from students, faculty, and alumni. The magazine has been around for decades, but I had the privilege of creating the first digital website experience for it. I created a digital magazine that showcased the articles in an easy to read and easy to navigate format. The three main feature stories were given their own individual spreads with custom styling. The website was hugely successful, bringing an overwhelming amount of traffic and praise.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to make quick changes to our 2020 commencement ceremony by moving it entirely online. I created the commencement website that included a livestream, separate sections for undergraduate and graduate, faculty submitted messages, and student profiles.
Each student had their own profile page, similar to a social network, that included a profile picture, their graduation information, an audio track announcing their graduation, a thank you video they could submit, a quote, and a comments section where family, friends, and professors could leave personal congratulatory messages. The website had over 70,000 page views in two days and over 6,000 messages to graduates.
It Takes Grit - Micro Campaign
As we returned from the pandemic we decided to create a micro campaign to bolster brand awareness and compliment the return of the football season. We used the landing page as a conversion tool that people landed on after seeing our TV ad spots during the football games. It paired the hype video with information and calls-to-action to provide more information for interested visitors.
Our Mighty Citadel - Brand Campaign
The Citadel runs a new brand campaign every few years to drive awareness to the college, the latest one being the Our Mighty Citadel campaign. This campaign features videos and stories of remarkable students, faculty, staff, and graduates. Of course, we needed somewhere to house all this content, so I developed a campaign microsite. This included a main landing page and pages for each individual story. Additionally, I added some calls to action to drive traffic to our main website and provide key information about the college.
Main Website Conversion
My main project during my time at The Citadel has been the transition of our main website. When I started at The Citadel, I identified several key issues with the current setup:
- The website was a single large legacy Joomla website that was very outdated and consistently patched
- It was hosted on the college's own servers on-premises creating a single point of failure
- There were no development workflows causing the website code to be edited directly
- The editor experience was very difficult for general users to utilize
- There was no automation causing duplicate and outdated content
I immediately began to work on fixes for all the identified problems, eventually leading to the procurement of a cloud-hosting WordPress website. The website is kept consistently up to date to avoid security vulnerabilities. Being cloud-hosted created redundancy and backups to ensure maximum uptime. This also came with development workflows to properly develop, test, and publish code changes. The current version of WordPress gives the content editors a flexible but simple editing experience.
The biggest effort for this process involved completely redesigning and rebuilding our website from the ground up in WordPress. I accomplished this task on my own and laid the groundwork for more features and additions in the future.
Finally, one of the biggest fixes was the automation of key areas of the college's website. Our program and degree pages are created once and then aggregated in the appropriate areas on the website, such as the program listing for the individual school and the college as a whole. The same goes for faculty and staff pages where each person has a single page that can be pulled into other areas of the website. On the previous website, there was duplicate content that lived in several different areas. This was resolved in the new website.
WordPress, Figma, Illustrator, Photoshop