Why and how to present at the 2018 #HigherEd WEBSITES Conference

March 27th, 2018 Karine Joly No Comments

Higher ed websites still matter. A lot.

Higher ed websites might not look sexy in 2018, but they are still the cornerstone of digital marketing strategies in higher education.

With social media platforms changing their playbook when they want to optimize their advertising revenues, throttling more and more of what used to be free organic traffic or even being targeted by massive boycott calls from angry users (#deletefacebook, anybody?) or FTC investigations, it is very dangerous for your school to place ALL its eggs in the social media basket, the email basket, the text basket, basically any basket you don’t own and control 100%.

Websites do go down too, but your school has much more control there, since it’s not renting this digital property from a third party.

Websites are still a very important hub for your digital marketing presence.

What’s why we’re launching a 4th conference focusing entirely on higher ed websites: the 2018 Higher Ed WEBSITES Conference – a brand new annual online event!

2018 Higher Ed Websites Conference

The perfect way to kick off your web summer projects!

Since summer is a great time to tackle impactful projects when almost everybody (students and faculty) has left the campus, this conference is meant to share ideas, best practices and new approaches to make higher ed websites better, faster, smarter and more awesome.

If you are looking for a way to get your Web team talking and thinking about your web projects – and fall back in love with all things web, before summer, the 2018 Higher Ed WEBSITES Conference will help.

What makes Higher Ed Experts online conferences (you might have heard about our Content, Social Media and Analytics conferences as they are quite popular) unique is the fact that your entire team – small or large – can attend these live – and lively – events for far less than what it would cost to fly a single team member to a traditional conference. As a result, it’s easier to add these team-focused online conferences to what you have already planned for professional development at your institution.

Just check out what the attendees from the previous editions of the Higher Ed Content Conference said about their experience:

Why present at the 2018 Higher Ed WEBSITES Conference?

Would love to get a chance to attend the conference for even cheaper?

Just submit one (or 2) proposals for a 10-minute session before April 4 as the conference doesn’t cost a dime for selected speakers.

Whether you have missed the proposal deadline for eduWeb, PSEWeb or HighEdWeb or you have already submitted something at these great conferences, send me your proposals for 10-minute sessions! You will only gain extra exposure for your ideas – without any extra costs – by presenting at the 2018 Higher Ed WEBSITES Conference.

But, wait, it gets better: if your session is among the 12 selected for the final conference program, you’ll also get 1 free pass for your team or your whole campus community (as long as it can fit in 1 room ;0) to attend the live conference on June 13.

Not sure what to present about at the HEW18 conference?

Wondering what types of topics would be a good fit for the 2018 Higher Ed WEBSITES Conference?

If you are in charge of one or more higher ed websites, I know you are going to come up with great ideas for this conference, because you are part of the targeted audience :-).

The only topic we are going to downplay a bit for this conference is content. Not because, it’s not important for higher ed websites. We know how much it is. But, only because we already have a conference focusing entirely on higher ed content taking place on April 25, 2018: the 5th Higher Ed Content Conference.

Here’s a list of possible topics to help you put your thinking cap on:

  • Web design trends for higher ed websites
  • Website personalization
  • HTTPS migration
  • Web Accessibility
  • UX, user design
  • Usability, usability testing
  • A/B testing
  • Compassionate, ethical design
  • Web redesign project
  • Iterative redesign process
  • Data-driven redesign
  • Information architecture, navigation, search
  • Content Management system selection process
  • Content Management systems implementation/migration
  • Design frameworks
  • CSS Grid Layout
  • Unified design system, atomic design
  • Speed, load optimization
  • Website security
  • Search engine & social media optimization at scale for the website
  • Google Tag Manager implementation tips, lessons learned, case studies
  • Privacy, data policies for websites, GDPR compliance
  • Working with an agency
  • Free tools that save time for web teams
  • Anything else related to higher ed websites

From brainstorming to proposal in 60 minutes, take the challenge!

Interested and excited, but not sure if you can come up with a proposal that will be a good fit for the 2018 Higher Ed WEBSITES Conference?

My foolproof process to develop a proposal in 60 minutes can help


  1. Take 15-minutes (set up a timer, ask Siri) to list the projects you’ve worked on, the best practices you’ve implemented, the tools you’ve incorporated in your workflow or/and the lessons you’ve learned over the past 6 to 8 months.
  2. When you’re done, take a 2-minute break. Only 2 minutes though :-)
  3. Now, read the list you’ve just made and look for 2 points that you would implement/use again if you started a new job at another school. This little exercise will help you find quickly the most interesting topics for your colleagues. Take 10 minutes to come up with your short list.
  4. For each of the topics on your short list, spend no more than 5 minutes to write a short paragraph addressing why this is important, timely or useful and what your colleagues will learn by attending your session.
  5. When you’re done, take a 3-minute break.
  6. Read your 2 paragraphs and add a descriptive title for each. Don’t worry too much about the wording at this stage. I always do a rewrite of session titles and descriptions for the final program. I want to make sure it doesn’t read as it was written by 12 different people :-). So, don’t spend more than 10 minutes on this.
  7. Take the remaining 10 minutes to submit THE proposal before April 4, 2018 that aligns the most with your professional brand. What do you want to be recognized for in our industry? If you can’t choose between 2 topics, submit both. You will also be asked to provide a short bio as well as a photo (think LinkedIn profile photos).

Congratulations, 60 minutes of focused work and you’re done!


Got a question or comment?