on October 22, 2014 Website Design Schools

Stand out from the Crowd: Why Your School Website Design Matters

When it comes to websites, they are often the first impression of your school for visitors. How they look, are laid out, and what content they have all can make a big impact on visitor engagement, and ultimately their decision is school selection. By outlining what sets your school apart, how visitors can learn more, and- most importantly- contact you for more information are valuable elements to include in a website. Read on to learn about the importance of a well-constructed website, and if you need a website redesign or not.

Answer theses questions to improve the online success rate of your school website design:

How Are You Unique?

What sets your school apart? Why should people be interested in your school over the other choices? Identify what sets yours apart from the rest with facts and photos that users can click on and link to the relevant pages of the website. For example, if you have a fact about or image of a popular program, ensure the link goes to that program’s landing page so that visitors receive valid information when they click through your website. This is a great way to encourage engagement and trigger their interest.

Examples of quick facts to include are faculty to student ratios, special programs offered, awards and recognition, and program highlights/ awards. Photos should showcase how attractive the campus is, in- class images to highlight programs, and team/ organization achievements (ie did a school team rank best in a recent competition?). Eye- catching images are a great way to draw people in and encourage them to learn more about your school.

How Can Interested Parties Learn More?

A valuable element of every homepage is a call- to- action, whether it be in the form of a button or an easy- to- find drop down menu. The goal is to convert curious individuals into leads and a call to action encourages them to take the next step. Capturing a candid audience’s attention is one thing, getting the response you want is another; don’t let an opportunity slip by.

Where Can People Reach You?

Contact information should be clearly visible on your homepage, not buried somewhere deep within your website. It’s important that visitors can learn where and when to contact your school so that they are more likely to reach out. If they have to work too hard to find a way to reach you, chances are, they’ll look elsewhere.

Have information such as address, email address, phone number, and social media networks on your homepage. Address information is good to display at the top, while links to your social media profiles can be displayed along the top or bottom of the page, depending on what works best with the layout.

What’s Your Campus Culture?

Often when people visit your website the first time, they will be unsure about what to expect. Some visitors may already know a bit about your school, but you shouldn’t assume. You want to make sure you communicate what makes your school special, what sets it apart.

Treat this first interaction like a ‘first date’ scenario; you want visitors to feel comfortable and at home on your website, not alienated and confused. This will directly influence how they feel about your school as a result. Here’s another opportunity to include some photos that link to relevant pages on the website: use student quotes about why they like the school with an accompanying photo that links through to a ‘Testimonials’ or other relevant pages. Testimonials are a great way to create a positive impression about the school and help potential students get excited about the prospect of attending.

Designing your school website is a key element in gathering more applications. Your website is a valuable tool and can make a lasting first impression with visitors. Having one that is well laid- out, is easy to navigate, and promotes the positive attributes of your school can help convert curious visitors into successful applicants.

Let your website tell the story of your school and watch your attendance increase.

Deborah Janz

Deborah is a true leader. Not only has she jumped through legal and regulatory hoops to launch a multi-million dollar US-based business in Canada, she also wears multiple hats at IMPACT. She's the researcher and strategist. She a learner and adopter of innovative practices. She's a speaker, consultant, and trainer. She's also building a dynamic team of experts through an awesome workplace culture. Prior to launching IMPACT, she was in the trenches of sales and marketing in the tourism industry. A globe-trotter by nature, her boots-on-the-ground approach to exploring new opportunities internationally is why IMPACT is successful. She's adventurous, hungry to travel the world, and is always willing to try different foods - bugs are not out of the question. When not working away to make IMPACT the best it can be, you can find Deborah climbing mountains, diving in clear waters, or mentoring female business owners.

Thinking of a website redesign for your school?

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