Your website is your most important digital asset. For many potential students it is their first interaction with your school. It’s also important resource for your current students, alumni, professors, community leaders and all others who go to your website for news, events and information related to your institution.
It’s imperative to provide them a positive user experience that reflects all that your school provides to stakeholders.
Here are 7 tips for making your higher education website shine:
1. Clearly identify who you are
Make sure that your website reflects your brand—one of the most important assets your school has. Every page should consistently include identifying factors such as your logo and school colors, from the high level university pages to each course listing.
2. Use supporting images that reflect your values and culture
A picture is worth a thousand words. Use images that reflect the experiences and aspirations of your stakeholders. Shy away from stock images, and let your school shine.
3. Call out your strengths
What makes your college or university great? Different from the competition? Make sure these differentiating factors are called out and easy to find. They matter.
4. Clearly show prospective students when and how to apply
Don’t hide your admissions away in an isolated corner of your website. Make sure that your admissions forms are easy to find and use. Additionally, are admissions dates called out and easy to find? Don’t bury important information in long blocks of text.
5. Regularly conduct “user experience” audits
A user experience audit does not need to be a major undertaking. Five people can point out 80% of your websites usability problems. By conducting two audits a year, you will be able to identify more issues before they become major problems, and have the time to do something about them.
6. Usability is more important than looking “cool”
It might seem like a good idea to incorporate website elements; styles and lingo that make your school seem cooler. But potential students are highly cognizant of what going to your school means for them. Their future depends on it. Be real and honest with potential students—they want to know you are worth their while.
7. Optimize your pages for non-readers
There are few things more disheartening than landing on a page that is nothing but a giant wall of text. Fewer than 20% of people read content on a page word for word. When important information, an application deadline, is buried in long blocks of text, it gets lost. Keep important information high-level and easy to find.
For tips on optimizing your content, check out our previous blog post, “Nobody Reads Online: Designing Content for Non-Readers.”
Take the time and truly own your higher education website and provide the kind of positive website experience that gives users everything they need at every touchpoint.