If someone asked you which types of websites users spend the most time visiting, an academic institution's website perhaps wouldn't make it to the top of your list. While a learning management system (LMS) that students use for homework or online class facilitation would likely generate a lot of traffic, you might envision a school's informational website being as popular.
The truth is that, as a school, your website probably generates more traffic than you realize. Your website's visitors may be parents of prospective students or third-party vendors, such as textbooks, school supplies or furniture, or food and beverage companies. There are also students who use your website to link to an external LMS or perhaps to access an already-integrated one.
There are likely various end-users you ultimately serve, or that want to do business with you. It's imperative that your website is easily navigable and has all the functionality they need. So, what strategies should you employ to improve your school's website? Here are some strategies that some of the most successful academic institutions are employing to better serve their target audience and others:
As you're likely aware, some users come to a website repeatedly for the same explicit purposes, while others visit sites randomly. The bulk of your attention should be placed on your regular visitors' navigation. In other words, you should ensure that your web content is organized in an intuitive way that makes it easier to find what they're looking for. For example, information about your school's programs should be easily located.
Focusing on your "regulars" doesn't mean that you ignore all other users. You should also identify what information they're searching for and find ways to ensure they can locate what they need efficiently too.
Improving navigation is all about creating a site that functions that allows you to convey the information you want to share with others in a way that will appeal to the end-user when they go to access it.
When strategizing about ways to improve upon the navigation of your academic institution's website and its performance in search engines, you may want to focus on mapping.
Creating a site map so that search engines can gain better insight into the breadth of content on your website is key. Users also may find a site map of value in finding information about a topic of importance to them.
Bread crumbs display the steps readers followed in drilling down to the information they ultimately found resonated with them. Users appreciate having the steps it took to find relevant information available to them.
Many educational institutions and other entities are often in a hurry to establish a web presence. They rush through the content creation process and instead put up what amounts to placeholder information that's not half as interesting as consumers expect.
As a school, you have to keep in mind that parents entrust you with their most precious gift's safety and future. The content that you include on your website must create a good first impression that makes someone want to do business with you. And because you operate in the academic industry, your website and its content should set an authoritative, trustworthy, integrity-focused, insightful, and forward-thinking tone.
Many web design trends, including those mentioned above, are helping academic institutions like yours stand out among the pack in 2022. Here at Dotlogics, our development team has the skill set necessary to build or redesign a standalone school website or integrate an LMS and other functionality into a single platform. Let's chat about your school's web design and technology needs so that we can share with you how we can help you achieve your desired results.