Major Upgrades to the YSU Website

By Raleigh Basinger

Students and faculty may have noticed the Youngstown State University webpage had a facelift. The website was newly designed to be more user-friendly and interactive with social media, and it went live on Oct. 24.

The entire cost for the redesign was $400,000. Bob Tupaj, website manager, said that New City, a web design and marketing company, redesigned the entire website.

“New City came in and did a whole bunch of focus groups and a lot of surveying with different groups of people like prospective students, current students, faculty, staff and parents,” Tupaj said. “I think the idea is to present a little more user-friendly website.

Ross Morrone, YSU director of marketing, said they created advertisements that run on search engines and social media to draw prospective students and their parents to the website. He said doing this captures audiences that they wouldn’t normally get, especially from other regions of the state.

“[We wanted] to help create better funnels for prospective students, or for the audience who is doing research on the website, to actually find what they are looking for,” Morrone said.

Tupaj said that the main focus was to take more of a marketing approach and to make the website easier to navigate. They wanted to attract prospective students, which can lead to increased enrollment.

Certain pages feature social media posts, especially from Instagram, by YSU students. Morrone said this helps them engage and connect with a generation that uses social media daily.

The marketing team looked at analytics to see where webpage visitors go after the homepage. Their goal was to see where people ended up, and how many clicks it took to get there.

“We’ve created a better site architecture that allows people to achieve goals and conversions in shorter clicks. That is really what we focused on, building a website that had less clicks and less areas for people to get lost,” Morrone said.

Based on the analytics there are two different types of audiences, Morrone said. The internal audience uses the YSU portal and checks their student e-mail account, and the external audience is using the website to research the university.

Steven Jeffries, accounting student, said the new website is showing improvements.

“I think it definitely is more user-friendly as they eliminated the other irrelevant distractions and it’s more convenient to direct you where you’re looking to go,” Jeffries said.

The web is always evolving, Tupaj said, and it’s important to evolve with the needs of the people who use it. Morrone said they will continue on enhancing it.

“We set it up that way, so we can continue to build and develop different things” Morrone said. “We know there is always going to be issues with a site this scale, but it’s a living thing, so we are definitely working on improving the experience on going.”

Rob Mielcusny, hospitality management student, said the overall experience on the new website is “phenomenal.”

“It’s much more up to date, and more appealing,” Mielcusny said.