Baker College came to Traffic in 2015 with the challenge of completely altering its public brand perception. We are true believers in altering perceptions one interaction and one experience at a time. Baker College, a century-old non-profit, enlisted our help to shift their brand, their culture, and their visibility in Michigan and beyond.
We conceived a strategy and direction that resulted in a reinvigorated presence that was met with much fanfare with the staff, students and media. We ourselves became BakerProud.
Isolating qualified students.
culinary arts pro
business management schools in Michigan
increase in traffic to degree and program URLs
keywords on the first page of Google’s search results
Through our research we developed a keyword workbook that established keyword clusters related to prospective student behaviors. Our workbook was developed by also benchmarking two and four year colleges and universities. We tapped into the power of Google’s Keyword Planner to discover keyword ideas that were evidenced by the advertising base in Google Ads.
Architected and executed for degree program visibility.
We built migration and onsite workbooks that included page-level meta data and a comprehensive redirect strategy. Our hand-written meta data was implemented on every page on the site. Schema was leveraged for rich data mark up. When migrating a legacy site to a new framework, well-planned technical steps were paramount.
Redefining a century-old brand
Neue Haas Grotesk Display
We started with the logo. Cleaner and more versatile.
Our aim wasn't to completely change the existing brand, rather evolve it to be bolder, more modern and more versatile to Baker's many needs. We built around the familiar circular logo but separated the name from the mark to give them more options for different use cases. This allowed them to use the mark by itself where it makes sense. It also allows for a more cohesive brand experience for the multiple campus locations all over Michigan.
Streamlined, simplified, clear and concise.
We began by addressing the organization of information. We aimed to reorder the content so things were easier to find in a more logical place. We started by consolidating the over 100,000 pages on the existing sitemap down to roughly 1,000 pages. This required a lot of copy changes and updates, as well as writing a lot of new copy to account for the new hierarchy.
We restructured the global navigation to make clear paths to content for Baker's various users. We also had to consider Baker College's two affiliate institutions which had their own brands and websites which felt disconnected to Baker College. Our goal was to evolve their existing brands but bring them under the Baker umbrella to make them all feel apart of the same institution.
Focus on structure. Not color.
With big web experiences like this one, we normally use grayscale comps to flesh out and test the sitemap structure that we came up with. This allows us to focus solely on the user experience and the structure of the content and pages without being distracted by colors and imagery. This was especially worthwhile for Baker College because it allowed us to rapidly explore a multitude of ideas and test different user journeys to help us fully understand the best path for each user.
Making it all come together. Beautifully.
Once all the grayscale comps were approved we moved right into full color design. Our goal was to create something simple yet bold. We played with the bold color palette and typography to make the site feel slick and modern as well as simple and functional. We aimed to create an experience that was fun and informative.
We built Baker College’s new site in MODx, a very scalable and enterprise-oriented open-source PHP-based platform. This would allow their content and marketing teams to make quick and efficient updates and manage course and program listings easily and efficiently. We also built the site to exacting standards to the DOE and utilized full WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliant development standards.
Secure and Scalable
The site framework was designed to be incredibly secure but still allow for simple and efficient content authoring.
Full WCAG 2.1 Level AA compliance with fully documented sign-off and delivery of auditing reports.
Continuously managed maintenance and site updates, with average time to support ticket completion of 3 business hours.
increase in organic search traffic within 4 months
increase in site traffic
increase in ranked keywords