Apr 25 '12
Gone are the days where your website is just an electronic version of your prospectus. It’s now a window to your school or college. A living, breathing thing that people will return to regularly if you give them fresh things to read. Here is a list of ways that you can quickly improve your website to really make it earn its keep.
- Can you easily find what you are looking for? Having useful information hidden deep within the site will make it difficult for people to find what they are looking for, so, take a fresh look at the navigation and really try to simplify it.
- Update your site regularly, keep it fresh, give people a reason to come back for more
- Improve your search engine ranking, it’s hard to give specific advise on this as Google changes their algorithms so often, but, make sure you have a range of key words within your copy, update your site regularly, label pictures & generate as many appropriate links to your site from external sites as possible.
- Include a newsletter sign up box so that you can capture visitor information and communicate with them about your organisation (be sure to capture opt-in information and unsubscribe functionality though).
- Include a sitemap, one page where visitors can access links to all other pages. Not only will it help with natural search results, it will also make it easier for people to find what they are looking for.
- Make sure your site doesn’t take ages to load, there’s nothing worse than sitting in front of a screen waiting for a site to appear. So, keep images small, don’t pre-load videos & test with different browsers.
- Tell visitors what to do, don’t leave them guessing about what they should do once they’ve read a page, include links like ‘apply now’ or ‘find out more’ to encourage them through the process
- Make links obvious, don’t randomly include links within text without making it really obvious that they are links, after all, the point of a link is to help people find out more and move through the site, make it as easy as possible.
- Check server error logs regularly, especially if you’ve just launched a new site. Your server will keep a record of any errors, such as missing images etc, so, be sure to check them and then take action to fix the errors, no one likes to visit a broken site!
- Analyse reports on a regular basis. Google Analytics can provide you with a wealth of information, where are people entering the site, where are they exiting, what are the most popular pages , what are people searching for when they are on your site. All of this information can allow you to bring the most important pages to the forefront and avoid ‘dead-ends’ where people get lost.