A university’s website is mission-critical. As your number one marketing tool, it can do a lot of heavy lifting in terms of 1) recruiting, 2) engaging and informing current and prospective students and 3) fundraising. When you add in a website’s ability to reduce phone and email inquiries to your administrative offices, you’ve got a real workhorse on your hands—if you build and maintain it properly.

Too often, universities take their websites for granted. As a result, many are behind the times in the way they look and act. This is a significant miss, since websites are the top-ranked information source influencing student interest. A bad website experience can have a negative impact, with up to one-third of frustrated students either moving on to other sites or calling the school to get what they need.1

Basics you can’t overlook

It can be tough to know if your university’s website is up to par, especially since prospective students, who range from post-Millennials to Baby Boomers, have widely varying expectations. Here are nine basics to help you gauge whether your site is good to go, needs a refresh or could stand a total overhaul:

  1. Is your site always up to date?
  2. Does it provide complete information on programs and policies for current and prospective students?
  3. Can users find what they’re looking for in less than three clicks?
  4. Is it mobile-friendly? More than three-quarters of adult prospective students look at college websites on mobile devices.2
  5. Does it contain mixed media such as videos, photos and live-streaming?
  6. Is the text short, concise and easy to read?
  7. Does every link work? Broken links signal a dated site.
  8. Are photos of the school and experiences authentic, versus looking “canned?”
  9. Does it clearly convey your university’s brand and what makes you different from other schools?

Where to go from here

These questions seem like no-brainers, but you’d be surprised how many higher education institutions answer “no” to one or more. Does yours pass the test? If not, Rivetica can help. We know college marketing inside out and combine this expertise with our consumer branding and marketing savvy for a holistic approach focused squarely on results. We don’t just build great-looking websites, although that’s a definite plus. We use strategies and tactics to appeal to your diverse audiences, differentiate you from competitors, generate leads and drive enrollment.

Thank you for reading!

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[1] 2017 E-Expectations Trend Report, Ruffalo Noel Levitz, NRCCUA, OmniUpdate and CollegeWeekLive, 2017

[2] Study of Adult Prospective Students, Ruffalo Noel Levitz and Campus Explorer, 2016