A Medium for All Constituents
Of course, your website isn't just for your potential constituents. In fact, it's generally the most omnipresent medium representing you because nearly every current school parent will spend time there, perhaps daily, and many alumni and others with ties to a college or university will use it as a primary point of reference. One of the most important aspects of an effective website is the ability to connect with a wide range of visitors and their diverse interests.
What Makes a Great Site?
What do all those visitors look for on your site? Though it varies with their aim in going to the the site, most people share similar needs in their basic experience; the key is how you integrate those with factors that help you, such as search engine optimization, effective calls-to-actions, and cool features such as virtual tours (at right).
The look and feel of the website
The ability to easily navigate to the chosen destination
Site content, part 1: the copy must be relevant, interesting, and accurate
Site content, part 2: distinctive images and videos, an increasingly important factor in our visual world.
An effective mobile presentation
Themes that connect to your other marketing materials and media
Web visitors today expect a crisp, fast, and fulfilling experience - does your website deliver?
If not, EdChanges can help. Willliam Bullard launched one of the first wireless communications sites in 1996 and has worked extensively in website strategy, content development and optimization, and user experience since then. He has led over a dozen web redesigns in many software platforms, including Finalsite, Whipple Hill (Blackbaud), and Edline (Blackboard), He is also the VP of Internet Marketing for the American Marketing Association - Boston, for which he manages their WordPress site.
Your website is the single most critical marketing tool for your school, college or university. Virtually every prospective student or family will visit it during the admissions process from initial research to application to a potential revisit - but if they don't find your site interesting, relevant, and easy-to-navigate, there's a good chance you won't get past that first visit. And in our increasingly global world, prospects for higher ed and boarding schools will gain most of their impressions of your institution from your website and social media. With the crucial importance of search engines in the initial phases of an inquiry, the ranking of your site is critical, meaning its search engine optimization (SEO) must be effective, with knowledge and attention applied to its content, tags, meta descriptions, and links.