Lafayette College on WordPress

Ken Knewquist just announced that the Lafayette College redesigned website recently launched as a WordPress multi-site. And I have to say, that did it exactly right. It was created and designed by Viget Labs, which has a kinda markety innocuous post about the site launch, framing brand and all that compromised terminology. But what I’d love to hear about, and what is apparent from just navigating around their site is how they are using various separate subdomain sites (or sites within sites) to allow for various users in different blogs.

For example all the department sites seem to be subdomain sites (not sure if they are separate sites, or simply running this in subdomains) allow for various authors, their own space, and basically the power and convenience of WordPress, while the architecture off the main page treats lafayette.edu as a regular single site. It is similar to some of the thoughts I had here, though seeing their work, I am increasingly thinking we need the whole instance subdomain blogs by department. That is mint!

Kudos to the Lafayette College and Vigent Labs folks, I do believe this is a very intelligent conception and design, and this will indeed “be a vital source of information and will play a new, enhanced role in communicating what is exciting and special about Lafayette to all our audiences.” And this is exactly the example we need to frame ours off of. Now the next step to consider, and Lafayette College is already there given they have faculty and students blogging for courses, is to integrate the teaching and learning going on around that campus through the site. Department sites as aggregation hubs of content, etc. A nice design, bully for Lafayette. And who was it that said WordPress is just a blog again?

Now, Ken, I want to know more about the architecture!!! 🙂

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6 Responses to Lafayette College on WordPress

  1. Saad says:

    Thanks for the question re: the architecture. I’ll try to get the developer to either write up a blog post re: your question or maybe comment on here. Feel free to send me an email if you have any specific questions.

  2. Reverend says:

    Saad,

    Thank you, and I will certainly be in touch shortly. ine, fine work over that at Lafayette College, you should all be thrilled.

  3. Jay Collier says:

    As someone who has participated in several college branding exercises, I can empathize with the challenge of clarifying the distinctive nature of a college on a top-level home site. (I do distinguish somewhat between the entry, overview, level of the home site and the deeper departmental sites.)

    Now that you’re going to be involved in the entry/marketing home site for UMW, what are your thoughts on that process, particularly in reference to a marketing/branding overview? I think this integration of the academic and the marketing perspectives is very important to the success of our institutions, and I’m very interested in the ways you will approach that divide.

  4. Saad says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Reverend. We are really happy w the work we did for Lafayette, and were equally thrilled when the founder of WP, Matt, wrote on our blog post.

    Anyways, I just talked to the developer who worked on this site and he said he will try to comment here and/or write a blog post to answer your questions. Expect a tech writeup sometime next week.

  5. Jim Doran says:

    I’m psyched they did this. There was a lot of bad noise on Twitter today in Baltimore about this site being in WordPress.

    I am working up Pathology.jhu.edu in WordPress – it’s a deep site. I don’t know if it’ll make it into production, but I’m excited about it.

  6. Reverend says:

    @Jay,

    I hear you about the branding question, and I know that is a huge issue, and in terms of the UMW stuff, I will probably end up being more of a consultant than the lead. At the same time, if it were in my power, I would “brand” the school based on what’s happening here. Bring in posts from students and faculty throughout UMW Blogs as a means to highlight some kind of authentic experience online and in the classroom they are having. I guess that would be my tact, use the work happening in UMW Blogs to feature and promote the intellectual development happening around the community. This is something so few websites do effectively, and for me what be a breath of fresh air. All that said, I’m sure there is a lot about branding I ma ignoring or over simplifying, but I also thing marketing tends to oversimplify and generate a more singular, obtuse vision more often than not, and I’d rather a universities website be a reflection of the layers, multi-faceted work going on at that institution that a kind of “hard sell.”

    @Saad,

    Awesome, I look forward to the technical write-up, and appreciate your feedback here.

    @Jim,
    I love the example you are mocking up, and this does gives us a lot to chew in terms of an example to build off and think through. Couldn’t be better timing, and should be fun seeing how, exactly, they did this.

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