Out with the old…
Way back in 2006 we created the first Madrelingua Italian School website by copying and adapting the code from the English school site which we’d paid a fortune for the year before. The result was a visual disaster, an awful mix of orange and green!
Nevertheless, students used to tell us that they chose our school because they liked the site – perhaps it was the fact that it looked so hopeless!
Since then, we’ve kept working on it, always trying to make it better, if we could. One year, a young designer from the U.S. doing an internship at our school managed to give the site a wonderful new look, without spending any money (thanks, Karen).
Other interns helped us translate the content into 15 other languages, including Thai and Chinese! Still others took photos and wrote exercises.
And I’ve personally spent many months of my life cutting and pasting bits of HTML from one page to another in an effort to make sure that the site was always updated and smart.
Over time, the site attracted a good level of traffic, and moved up the search-engine ratings so we were able to compete with other Italian schools.
But now, 6 years on from that initial experiment, www.madrelinguaitaliano.com is looking dated. What’s more, the world has changed: social networks, sharing, content created by the user, and Google’s latest changes to its ranking system, have all contributed to making the old site obsolete.
and in with the new!
Presenting…. www.madrelinguaitalian.com ! An almost identical domain, which allowed us to create a new, parallel site (you’re on the new one now!) from scratch, while leaving the old one in place until the day when we’ll finally be ready to scrap it.
Most of our users read English, so we’ve started with that language, and will gradually add others when time and resources permit.
A wonderful content management system allows us to achieve a nice visual effect with our limited resources, and has liberated me from the grunt work of coding hundreds of pages by hand. Stefi and the teachers will also be able to work on the site themselves when they need to, without needing technical skills.
So, what do you think?
Well, have a look around.. click a few links, go on! Well? What do you think? Better the new or the old? Go on, you can say what you REALLY think (gently, though).
Seriously, we’d love to get your feedback on the new site. Leave a comment to let us know if you like it or not, and why.