What we do

Expanding site capabilities to meet expanding campus facilities

Cherwell College Oxford supports A-Level and GCSE students in full-time, fast-track, short courses and re-takes through online or on-campus bespoke education solutions catering to the unique needs of individual students. 

Undergoing expansion, Cherwell College was challenged to demonstrate their nuanced student services while considering how to scale their online presence and the scaling of the facilities.

Expanding their web presence alongside their boarding facilities

Long term client Cherwell College Oxford came to our team with a specific request in early 2020. They were embarking on an expansion of their boarding facilities, adding 20 extra residential places. They recognised that their site was not supporting them as needed, and improvements would be required to aid in filling the extra spots. 

Urban Element had been supporting them with digital advertising for some time. We were aware of the issues with the website and, as such, had been using landing pages to drive traffic for our social media campaigns. When Cherwell College was ready to refresh its site, we were delighted to jump into its development.

Mission

Design a new website with a fresh look and fresh content to improve user experience and drive conversions.

More Website Screenshots

Time to tighten up loose ends

When a site has been running for years, adding new content as required and maintenance falling a bit behind, the inevitable outcome is clutter. The team at Cherwell College were aware that the site had become hard to manage, a lot of information on there but not enough connectivity between pages to make for smooth on-site navigation. 

The directive was to build a new website that would be interactive and user friendly, allowing visitors to locate information easily. The design was to look fresh and engaging, with up to date content and visuals. 

The long-term expectation from Cherwell College was that their new high-performing site should amplify their digital marketing campaigns, boosting their online presence.

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Establishing structure across bespoke solutions

While the bespoke education solutions of Cherwell College set them apart to offer greater support to their students, it’s quite a challenge to summarise effectively on a website. Opinions on how to do this were strong from many sides, making compromise a big part of identifying the best way forward. 

All parties had to think hard about how we could find a solution to incorporate all of the courses and structures while doing justice to the vastness of their solutions.

Site structure diagram

Building out the vision

Once we had agreed on the site’s structure, a comprehensive SEO site map was introduced to give all parties a visual of the structure, bringing the vision together before building out the site. 

Moving away from their previous bespoke CMS, we developed the new site in WordPress to give more flexibility and ease of use on the backend for Cherwell College to manage their content. The hosting environment was moved, and cross-linking was used to give a natural flow of the site for users, keeping them engaged and ensuring they found answers to all of their possible questions.

Cherwell College Website Screenshots

18 months in review

The immediate results of the new site were an improved look and greatly improved site structure, navigation, and ease of use for visitors to quickly get in touch. This immediately affected the brand perception, but it would take time for us to qualify the conversion goals that we hoped to achieve in the long term. 

When setting up analytics, we focussed on user experience and conversion rates as the measurements for performance and ROI. The new site was launched in October of 2021

Comparing year on year results from Oct 14th 2020 to Nov 15th 2021, we were able to achieve:

+ 18% Bounce rate decrease
+ 80% User increase
+ 126% Avg session duration
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