What Makes a Good University Website?
For many prospective students and their families, the first experience they will have of your university is the website. A well-designed university website will convey professionalism and dedication to excellence, the very things which are likely to entice those individuals to apply to be students. Conversely, a poorly designed website can easily carry the complete opposite impression and deter candidates.
It is, therefore, important that every page of your university’s website is designed carefully and thoughtfully, so that it not only creates the very best impression possible but that it also demonstrates the underlying ethos and principles which separate your institution from all the others.
Identify Your University on Every Page
You should make sure that every page of your website clearly identifies your university or college on every page. This doesn’t have to be anything intrusive, nor does it have to be prominently displayed at every point on the page. The addition of your institution’s logo in the header will be enough. Alternatively, you could add a watermark to the background of your website with your university’s name on it.
Many universities ensure that their main websites are clearly marked, yet they neglect to do the same for any microsites or other pages which, while still being a part of the university’s offerings, are separate to the main website. Any website or offshoot that is still part of the main university should be clearly identified as such.
Use Images That Convey Your Ethos
First impressions are important. When visitors first arrive on your website, they will instantly begin making judgments about the kind of institution that you have based on the visual clues they see. These include how well organized and well laid out your website is, as well as the photographs and other images which you choose to represent yourself. If all the images of your students and faculty show only white people, for example, then this can easily create the impression that you do not take diversity seriously. Whether this assumption is fair or not, it is the image which you have conveyed.
Make You ‘About Us’ Page Actually About You
Too many universities take shortcuts with their ‘about us’ page. They show only the very basic pieces of information which, rather than giving visitors an impression of what you are actually about, instead portray an institution which is only concerned with surface detail. The ‘about us’ page should be informative and should make visitors want to come and experience your university. This isn’t as difficult to achieve as many people think; it simply requires care, thought, and attention to detail.
If your university is known for excelling in a particular subject, then be sure to mention this. Whether it’s basketball or law school scholarships, make visitors aware of what it is that lies at the heart of your university’s individuality.
Emphasize Your Achievements
Every university worth its salt has something which sets it apart from the competition, something which makes it unique and demonstrates its excellence. Visitors to your site will want to know exactly what it is that sets your university apart from the competition and you should be eager to show them.
Designing an effective university website isn’t difficult, but it does require care and attention to detail. Be sure to create the kind of website that you would want to see as a prospective student or parent and you can’t go too far wrong.