#HigherEd Summer Checklist: Revisit Your Website

SmartphoneThe quiet(er) months of summer offer many in the higher education industry a chance to slow down and refocus. For colleges and universities, it’s the perfect time to revisit marketing platforms and tools to evaluate and assess performance. Given the ever-increasing role of digital communications, we suggest starting with your website – with special attention to the admissions site for prospective students.

With recent research on what drives students away from college websites top of mind, here’s a simple list of starter questions to ask in reviewing your site. We’d recommend getting input from a number of perspectives – including current students and, if possible, prospective students. This temperature check will help you ensure that your site is targeted, relevant and effective.

 

Is the content easy to read and digest?

This is the place for clear, simple language – especially when you’re outlining steps students need to follow to apply for admission, financial aid, etc. Students are only willing to spend so much time interpreting what they read – regardless of individual reading level.

How much time do students have to spend filling out forms?

The best websites strike the right balance between gathering useful insights and allowing the site visitor to move quickly through the site. Requiring too much information upfront can be a major turn-off.

Is the information most important to students featured most prominently?

While internal priorities and pressures can present challenges in terms of choosing what content to include – and where it should live – the information your prospective students most want to see should always take the lead.

Is the site an honest representation of you and your campus community?

Investment in a high-quality set of photos of your students on your campus to use on the website and other materials is crucial. Prospective students want to see people like themselves, in real campus settings where they can envision their future life. Overly staged photos – or worse, stock photos that may pop up on other websites during their search – can be off-putting.

Does the site communicate in an authentic voice … or marketing-ese?

Prospective students today are savvier than ever before to marketing techniques. The most engaging sites avoid clichés and overtly sales-y verbiage and stick to simpler, more accessible language.

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