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Websites for universities compete heavily on the Internet for students’ attention, especially considering it is often the #1 influential source of information for students. Making a large, personal investment of time and money is not an easy decision for a student to make and higher education is one of those sectors that require many follow-ups and touch points with a potential alumn before they decide to apply, starting with your website.
While there are many general tips on good web design out there, because Optimum7 has 15 years of experience and we’ve worked with various, large universities, we can speak in detail on what universities, specifically, should include when re-designing their website.
All of these design decisions should effectively drive prospective students through your long-lead enrollment funnel. A well-designed university website can also automate many processes and reduce man hours.
Average Increase in Website Traffic+97%
Average Increase in Conversion Rates+52%
Monthly Total Leads Generated3,000+
We become an indispensable resource for our clients to drive traffic and leads.
At Optimum7, we’ve noticed a shift. Sure, a university site must have SEO-friendly text, varied content, including videos, infographics, easy navigation, good interaction, shareability, etc. However, search engines have been heavily rewarding university sites that feature:
An example of establishing good structure can be organizing your blog posts into themes under proper “categories,” that the web designer sets up as part of the webpage’s framework. This will likely over time result in a boost in your page traffic.
Especially true for university website design, information should be organized in secondary, tertiary, etc. navigation.
You might argue that your demographic is older or from an area that spends more time researching on their desktop than mobile devices, but we can guarantee that because choosing a university is such a big decision, that your potential students will check the mobile site whenever they are inspired with a question while out and about.
Factoid: For the first time, 50% of the entire world’s population now has Internet access.
“Responsive design” is jargon for “the website adapts really well to a mobile device screen.” One obvious example of responsive design is when menu items running horizontally on a desktop version are hidden away (for a cleaner aesthetic) inside of the hamburger (three line icon) menu when the same page opens on a mobile device.
Build students’ trust in the quality of your university by offering a quality, responsive navigation experience on their mobile device. Users give a webpage 2.5 seconds to convince them that it has the information they are seeking and that the design is pleasant and user-friendly enough to warrant staying. As with any site, test different browsers and devices to see if the design is compatible. Use analytical tools to check loading speed, check bounce rates and adjust anything that might be slowing your university site down.)
Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. If there is something that is working well, alert your web designer in a written format and write it in to the project specifications. This will ensure they need to keep and, furthermore, enhance those elements.
The American with Disabilities Act section 508 that just went into effect in January 2018 makes it clear that your website needs to make education accessible to the disabled. The list is long and clear, but we have summarized actions that we take at Optimum7 when evaluating and designing a university website:
These are some of the top specific tips for universities looking to redesign their website. Get a free assessment of your university’s website by Optimum7 pros now.