Customer Spotlight: Belhaven University

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By Gary Hudoff — Mar 21, 2024 11:00 AM

Belhaven University Customer Spotlight
Background & History with Hannon Hill

Belhaven University, a Hannon Hill client and Cascade CMS user since 2015, is a private Christian university in Jackson, Mississippi. Founded in 1883, Belhaven offers its students a wide variety of degree programs both on campus and online. 

To better serve its growing online student body and increase enrollment, Belhaven underwent a major website redesign. While the redesign focused mainly on visual updates and mobile optimization, several other improvements were made to help the institution reach its long-term growth goals.

Recently, members of the Belhaven University leadership team shared with us some of their key takeaways from the redesign project and why they chose to continue trusting Cascade CMS for their institution’s unique content management needs.

Belhaven’s Unique Positioning & Needs 

As with every higher-ed institution, Belhaven University had a unique set of goals and priorities for its website redesign project. Early on, the team at Belhaven identified several main objectives for the new website.

In this spotlight, we’ll take a closer look at the goals the University outlined. 

1) A fresh new look with more visual appeal

With Belhaven’s previous website around six years old, it was time for an update. A website design with more photos, videos, and interactive elements was proposed to help showcase the university’s diverse student body and eclectic course offerings. 

2) An increase in conversions & enrollments

A focus on driving inquiries, conversions, and enrollments on the new website would be crucial to Belhaven’s success in the future. 

3) A mobile-friendly website design

More and more website visitors log in from mobile devices. In fact, as of the first quarter of 2023, 45.49 percent of web traffic in the United States originated from mobile devices. Belhaven, with its robust cohort of online students, focused its website redesign project on mobile-first with an emphasis on presenting information in a concise, easy-to-digest format.  

4) Improved content strategy & SEO

Facing the impending demographic enrollment cliff and rising competition, Belhaven knew that an improved content strategy and a strong SEO presence would be crucial to boosting search rankings and increasing online enrollments.

Project Implementation & Rollout 

Using the objectives outlined above, Hannon Hill and its strategic partner Stamats, were able to craft an action plan that addressed each of the institution’s key goals.

Stamats prioritized a user centric, mobile-first approach when designing Belhaven's new website. Recognizing that most of Belhaven's visitors use mobile devices, Stamats designed an optimal experience to guide conversions.

Stamats process ensures from the outset that the site is specific for mobile users, while also considering the unique needs of a desktop user.


Next, Stamats worked on the visual update to Belhaven’s site, creating a design that places an emphasis on photos, videos, and bright blocks of color, all while staying true to the institution’s core messaging and design language. 


Before the launch of the new website, Stamats worked collaboratively with the team at Belhaven to ensure proper redirects were in place from the institution’s old pages.

In addition, Stamats rewrote hundreds of web pages to the new content strategy in order to improve SEO, bring down the site’s readability level from college level to high school level, and consolidate text-heavy messaging. 

As a result, the university successfully maintained its SEO rankings post-launch. Thanks to the Proactive Quality Controls in Cascade CMS, future updates will be SEO-friendly, positioning Belhaven for potential growth.

New Features, Positive Results & Feedback Since Launch 

At launch, the team at Belhaven University was excited to see the addition of a few new features designed to make content management and communication with students easier.

The first new feature, “bricks,” or reusable content blocks, allows the team at Belhaven to design and edit a piece of content on one part of the site and seamlessly embed it into another. Anytime changes are made to the original brick, content will update sitewide, saving time and ensuring no out-of-date information is lingering on forgotten pages.

The team at Belhaven reports receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback on the website revamp, noting that users have enjoyed the new look and feel. Aside from garnering praise, the refreshed design has helped drive an increase in traffic to the site and a noticeable bump in applications as well. 

According to Doreen Fagerheim, Assistant Vice President of Digital Media and Web Marketing, the University has seen a:

49% increase in traditional undergraduate inquiries since the new website’s launch and a 27% increase in online inquiries. In addition, traditional undergraduate applications have risen by 6% since the launch, and online applications have spiked by 22%..  

Wrapping Up 

While the requirements and goals presented by Belhaven University were unique, the team at Hannon Hill was able to seamlessly deliver a new site that addressed past challenges and made improvements to existing features.

With a revamped site design, mobile optimization, and a host of content management features, the team at Belhaven is now set up for long-term growth and success. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Cascade CMS’s industry-leading content management tools and how Hannon Hill can help your institution grow, reach out to our team with the contact form below.   

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Gary Hudoff
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Customer Spotlight