College Media News / design / Websites

Kent State upgrades web presence to Kentwired.com

As part of my summer inbox clean-up, I’m posting about some “old” news from Kent State. In January, Kent State’s student media redesigned, migrated and renamed their web presence, according to an e-mail from student media adviser Susan Kirkman Zake.

kentwired

The new URL for the former KentNewsNet is Kentwired.com, which is much easier to remember than the old URL. The site is now running on the Joomla! (yes, that stupid exclamation mark is in the name, just like Yahoo!) CMS, which is the CMS that runs UT-Arlington’s Shorthorn.

From Zake’s e-mail:

Our contract with College Publisher expired at the end of the year, and we thought it was a good time to retool and expand our growth opportunities with a new content management system. While KentNewsNet had a dedicated following, and high traffic within the CP system, it was not as appealing to students as we had hoped, so we’re working to give the new site a broader content footprint.

We’re using Joomla! for our content management system along with a RocketTheme template called Mixxmagg. We’ve been adapting modules as needed — the site is more graphically driven than KentNewsNet, which has been challenging, but feedback has been generally favorable.

We’re hosting the site on the Rackspace cloud, which has been really good so far, and can adapt to our needs if our traffic spikes up, as it did last year — to 60K page views one day — during a spring riot on campus.

Our biggest challenge has been finding a solution for email marketing of the site. Since Rackspace only allows 250 emails per hour, it wasn’t a good solution for our breaking news updates, so we’re working to take our subscriber list off site and use an outside email marketing provider, probably Mad Mimi.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a screencap from what the old KentNewsNet site looked like before the redesign.

If anyone has other suggestions for subscriber list management, drop them in the comments. I’m sure other student media advisers are interested in the topic as well.

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