Your website is probably the most important marketing tool you have. Things like your prospectus, social media, online advertising, PR etc all depend to a greater or lesser extent on you having a really good effective website.
Let’s face it your prospectus is likely to be out of date soon after publication, online ads only work well if you have a quality online web presence and your PR can only go viral by being online (and where better than your own website?).
Most of your 14-19 potential students will be digital natives and expect you to have a website that they can view on their mobiles or from Facebook links.
A quality website is essential. So why are so many poor .. or even appalling?
During recent website audits for client providers, we’ve found the following …
- Application forms that fail to submit
- Provider sites that can’t be found for their own name and town on Page One of Google
- Websites with no Analytic software (we prefer Google Analytics but there are other .. you need at least one of these to know how your site performs)
- Non SEO optimised sites .. basic things like meta tags not optimised, no alt tags, the same meta descriptors on every page
- Poor calls to action .. if you want punters to contact you about courses, why hide the phone number in some obscure part of the site?
- Key information missing .. I went to a provider website this morning where no members of staff are identified. I don’t expect all of them to be named but this site doesn’t even mention the Principal once (a search of the site returned a note saying the word Principal was not recognised). Is this college ashamed of their Principal? I know who head my bank, who the owners of my local shops are .. so why is the college so secretive?
- Broken links
- Pages not loading
- Incorrect contact details .. numbers that aren’t answered, email addresses that bounce back (because someone left last year), wrong opening hours etc.
The list is long and checking all the details takes time. But it is essential. Your website is your first impression in many cases .. and you only get one chance to make a first impression.
So my advice is simple. Take the time needed to check every page, check that each phone number answers, that every link works .. and if you don’t have time to check that your website is credible give me a ring and ask me to do it for you!