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8 things you need to know about website design

Posted by Brock Ashton

Website designWe live in a world that demands instant gratification. Potential parents want service and information ‘yesterday’, and if we can’t meet their needs immediately, they can choose to look elsewhere. Never before have schools faced such competition in the pursuit of enrolments; where one click is all it takes for our prospective parents to choose the next best alternative.

Advancement in technology has enabled a shift in power; consumers call the shots, yet many schools continue to operate with a ‘build it and they will come’ attitude; and their website design reflects this.

So, now you are probably wondering whether your school’s website is working for, or against you.

Here are eight tips to improve your website and turn visitors into enrolments.

  1. Simplify. Keep your pages free of clutter and ensure your key message is clear. If prospective parents can’t quickly find what they need, they will move on. Design tip: Ensure files are compressed, such as video and photos, to ensure a fast load time.

  2. Tell customers about the problem you solve. People aren’t interested in you, they want to know if you can solve their problem. As Simon Sinek mentioned in his TED talk, one reason Apple is so successful is because its communication efforts revolve around ‘why’ it does what it does, rather than the details of its products. They tell us what problems their products solve. Tell potential parents that you understand their educational desires and can provide a better solution than any other school.

  3. Remove sliders – today. You have five seconds to capture the attention of a visitor and convince them to stay. Don’t waste that time on homepage sliders that don’t communicate key messages or, even worse, provide a poor user experience (for those with limited internet access).

  4. Create intuitive navigation. Make it as simple as possible for your visitors to get from A to B. Anyone who has worked in administration will tell you the joys of a well-structured filing system. Your website needs to be easy to navigate, or visitors will hit the back button – which is unsurprisingly the most common website command button. Don’t give visitors a reason to use it.

  5. Visually delight the senses. Ensure your visual identity is appropriately pitched, captivating and professional. The ‘look and feel’ of your website matters, and consistency is key. Design tip: Use a neutral (easy to see) colour pallet to enhance readability, while using colours from your logo to highlight key words, headings, and graphics. Make it easy for readers to notice your keywords and messages.

  6. Track your performance. ‘Set and forget’ should not be the foundation of your website strategy. Measure and track your website views and hits. Doing so allows you to streamline the most popular pages, such as the School Calendar, Admissions, Sport, and News.

  7. Integrate social media. Equip your visitors to share your posts and information, converting them into brand ambassadors. Word of mouth plays a larger role in school marketing than a lot of people give it credit for. Ensure social media icons are visible but not dominant – you don’t want visitors to leave your website too soon.

  8. Get the simple stuff right. Poor grammar, misspelt words, and broken links will all drive visitors away. Get the basics right to ensure you are converting on as many leads as possible. Design tip: Get a ‘second set of eyes’ to review your website on a regular basis.

How does your website design stack up? 

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This blog was written by Brock Ashton

When he isn't writing blogs or providing marketing communications support to clients, Brock spends his time reading fiction novels or chasing oval shaped footballs around a paddock. You may occasionally find him in your local Japanese restaurant, fuelling his passion for unique cuisine and culture.

 

Topics: Lead generation, Education, Website, imageseven, Communication, Marcom, School website, School