The College of Electrical Training (CET) in Western Australian offers courses including electrical pre apprenticeship, electrical apprenticeship and traineeship courses as well as post trade training for electrical and telecommunications workers. They were looking for a web platform which allowed them not only to manage their site efficiently, but they also wanted the ability to build additional functionality in future that would hook into their internal systems making their business more efficient.
Their administration was more traditional; largely paper based classroom testing which was labor intensive and inefficient. There was no means for users to view their results, book courses, ordering course material or take tests online; the goal was to get all these processes online. In addition the site needed to be re-designed to give CET a fresher look which tied in with their existing branding and logo.
The challenge for ZimWeb was to migrate their existing site to an enterprise level CMS that could fulfill their objectives and allow core processes in the business to move from offline to online.
Our experience with Sitefinity and the Telerik controls made the choice of Content Management System an easy one for us. We knew that we could provide a robust system, and a solid technical platform on which to build on in the future. With Sitefinity, we felt confident that we could roll the site out quicker than with any other quality CMS on the market.
Sitefinity comes with a number of ready to use modules and offers a very intuitive and easy to use admin panel. Technical support is important to us as a development team and Sitefinity comes with exceptional dedicated support. By opting for Sitefinity, we knew that we would have the ability to fire queries at the helpful Sitefinity staff to help us along the development path of some of the more complex pieces of functionality.
The CET site utilized many out of the box features and CET could easily understand and use the standard News module, built-in security, and the intuitive page management system. They also made use of the versioning and page rollback management tools, particularly useful in a training organization.
Custom modules that ZimWeb built for CET include:
• An online assessment tool for registered students.
• A system for registered students to order and pay for books online.
• The ability for students to log in and view their work logs detailing which modules are completed, those that still need work, and those that are finished.
• Integration with existing internal systems, which allows students to view results and timetables.
We also felt that for an organization such as CET that is looking to attract new students and apprentices, it was important for the site to be found in search engines for targeted search terms. For this reason we felt Sitefinity offered an advantage because of the built-in tools to manage SEO and metadata.
The initial project build took 3 months for 4 developers. Thereafter it has been a phased approach to releasing new functionality on the site. This has allowed the site to scale over time.
Once the initial build using Sitefinity was complete, we found it very easy to add functionality and additional modules onto the platform. As a result development time has decreased and the development team could focus on adding new functionality. Technical lead Sean Molam says “It was a pleasure to work with Sitefinity on this project. It proved easy to produce features to wow the end users and it also took the hassle out of integrating with their internal system”.
ZimWeb carried out some training to get the CET team up to speed using Sitefinity. Using a new system was an adjustment for some of them; however, the ease of managing pages, documentation and the intuitive user interface made it an easy system for them to learn quickly.
We didn’t have many benchmarks to make comparisons against going into the site build, but what we’ve found is a steady increase in qualified traffic and use of the system by CET students. Besides external traffic, what has been equally important for CET is student testing, management of student results, payments and integration with internal systems. All of these has cut down on administration and paperwork and as a result has saved CET time, effort and money.
SEO considerations were non-existent before the site was developed. In the last year the following statistics illustrate the effect of a more focused and considered approach to SEO using Sitefinity:
• 14% increase in visits from search engines
• Average time on site increased by 11%
• Page-views up by 69% and page visits increased by 30%.