Website Launch

A modern university with a focus on business & media should also have a modern student body. A separate website for the General Student Committee is then a must. Find out how I single-handedly used Wordpress to set up a complete website including calendar and ticketing platform in just two days.

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I joined the General Students Committee in October 2019 as the operational leader for marketing, public relations and IT. The committee only used Facebook and Instagram to publish their announcements. Ticket sales took place exclusively physically on specific dates at the university in Cologne. In just a few hours I realized, that there is much more potential, especially at a university, that studies Media- and Communication Management, the course of studies, I follow.

So I gathered all permissions I needed to start my two-day-project. Over the years I collected enough knowledge and skills to manage, what all my predecessors failed at:

Modernizing the General Students Committee.

The source code of a Wordpress theme based on HTML and PHP. Interestingly, the title of the photo says „monitor showing Java programming“.

Photo by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash

Before starting such a web project alone, you have to plan, what you are even trying to achieve.

At first, I needed a easily manageable website, so all my successors, without much knowledge in technology, can use it without problems. Content Management Systems or CMS are perfect for that kind of usage, as they can be managed via a back end-interface or even an app. Users just need to create content, like blogs, images, etc. and upload them to the CMS. With nearly 60% market share, WordPress is the leading CMS worldwide, although it was originally launched as a blogging software. Thanks to the amount of users and the open source community, WordPress offers many different plugins and themes to enhance a website. Therefor, I decided to use it for my project.

Next up, I had to think about, what contents the website should offer. Content is everything in media. In this case there were three main categories to be implemented: News, a contact form and a shop. News, or in modern words a blog, is already implemented in Word press itself, so I had no further work to do.

For the contact form I had to install the Contact Forms 7 plugin, which is a highly customizable contact form plugin with deep integration in lots of themes on the market. As the General Students Committee has multiple different resorts with a separate e-mail address for each of them, there need to be multiple contact forms for each of these addresses. The layout of these forms is identical for each of them, only the receiver address changes. The more interesting part is the implementation of the form into a page. The contact page is split into multiple parts for each resort. You can change the resort via the big accessible buttons on the right. Via this simple method the page is easy to understand for every visitor. Also, every single member of a resort is introduced on the right of the form, including their social media links. That way, anyone knows, who is going to receive the message. So the contact page was finished and ready for use in just half an hour.

Probably the easiest but most accessible contact form possible.

Last but not least, there is the shop, possibly the most advanced and difficult part of the website. The shop should be able to sell digital and physical goods, but primarily events tickets, that can be redeemed at student parties. For that I used the combination of WooCommerce and FooEvents, both highly advanced e-commerce Wordpress plugins.

We have chosen Paypal as the only payment method, as most of the students use Paypal actively already and it is the most straightforward payment process out there. The prices remain the same for the students despite the Paypal transaction fees, as they are still lower than the production costs for the physical tickets. Thus, switching to the online shop allows higher revenues with less effort.

With FooEvents it is possible to sell real digital tickets. Each ticket contains a barcode (or a QR-code), that can be scanned by a code reader (e.g. a smartphone) to check in. The box offices at the events can simply scan the codes with their smartphones and check in the online tickets within a very short time. Meanwhile, everything is logged in the web interface. This makes it possible to track who attends which parties. This in turn can be used to plan the next events.

Thanks to the online shop it is possible to buy tickets right in front of the event, too. Attendees can buy their tickets just in time via their smartphone and check in in an instant. This prevents long queues.

And sothe project was finished

With the help of the website, new communication channels have been created that are entirely in the hands of the author. While social media channels generate more reach, they also have limitations. Having your own website offers more freedom and possibilities.
With the online shop, the physical ticket sale was replaced and made more efficient. Not only are production costs saved, but it is now possible to sell tickets anytime and anywhere and, at the same time, to track sales. The success control and analysis is thus much more extensive, but also easier.