Finding a home for the “Community” web page

Stand-alone page or part of Student-Athlete Dev.?

A quick review of athletic department websites will tell you that community outreach-related content is currently housed in one of two places:

  1. As a standalone page accessible under the main “Athletic Department” tab
  2. As part of the “Student-Athlete Development”, “Student Services” or “Life Skills” page

As we’ve stated before, we believe there are two benefits to organized community outreach — 1) Student-athlete development 2) Enhancement of the athletic department’s brand. Thus, we can see benefit to both approaches.

One question to help settle this debate is “Who is the audience?”

It’s the first question most, if not all, of us ask before creating something new. It’s a question we, as NCAA athletic marketers and web developers, need to ask ourselves when it comes to communicating the impact of our community outreach.

Including community outreach under “Student-Athlete Development” or “Life Skills,” makes sense considering its impact on student-athletes and the influence they have on our efforts. For those of us that are very familiar with the world of intercollegiate athletics, it fits. But is that where “Joe Fan” is going to look for information about the department’s involvement or locate the contact information for the staff member responsible for outreach?

Conversely, does removing “community” from the Student-Athlete Development page decrease the perceived importance of service to the development of the student-athlete? Isn’t it beneficial, however, to be consistent with the format our fans are familiar with? Major corporations and professional sports teams overwhelmingly feature a “Community” tab on the front page of their websites as a standalone entity.

Maybe there is validity to both approaches. (We’d love to discuss in the comments). The approach you take should take into consideration what you are trying to accomplish with your community outreach and your fan — his or her familiarity with the structure of athletics, interactions with the larger web and needs.

You tell us — which approach are you using and why?

If you haven’t designed your community outreach web page yet, we can help with that here.