Make Your School Or College Website STAND OUT

[Don’t miss Dan’s ‘Website MOT’ for Schools & Colleges half-day Masterclass workshopbook now.]

Attract More Visitors To Your School or College Website…

In a world of shifting digital trends, it can be challenging to maintain a consistent presence in a fast-paced digital world.

Multi-platform (device) usage has increased and brands, businesses, organisations… and Schools & Colleges… are being shared, discovered and discussed on new services and platforms everyday.

In today’s digital sphere, being seen and providing simple, quick access to function and information alike, is key to digital success.

These are some quick tips for reviewing your presence in Social and Search, and for developing user journeys and landing pages that boost conversions.

Determine how Social Media previews link to your website

Take a moment today to review how links to your website(s) look on the various social platforms. For example, Facebook (and most of the other Social Media platforms) will generate a preview of a web address link shared on their platform, using the web page information, metadata, images and content of the website in question.

These previews are great… some of the time. Other times an image may be shown that isn’t the right size or doesn’t properly represent the webpage content, or incomplete or unhelpful snippets of page text may be shown automatically.

Did you know? Visual content is over 40 times more likely to get shared on Social Media than other types of content. (Source: HubSpot)

It is important to ensure your website pages preview in a highly appealing, visual and attention-grabbing format.

To do this, you or your website service provider can ensure your webpages identify the snippets of information which describe the text content for the page and/or the image to be used (even if it doesn’t exist on your website page) by the automatic preview.

If you are using WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin provides easily configurable functionality to achieve this. Plenty of other content management systems offer similar levels of functionality out of the box, or in plugin form.

However, if you have a website on a proprietary content management system or as a static (non-CMS based) website, you may need to do this manually by placing tags in your content, to ‘mark-up’ the relevant information for us by Facebook.

For example using a combination of code like ‘meta property=”og:title”‘ and ‘content=”Your Title Here”‘ correctly would force Facebook to see the page title as “Your Title Here”, rather than the actual page title. (Meta properties include type, url, image and more.)

You can read more from Facebook on this topic at: Facebook Developers – Sharing

TIP: As Facebook stores previews for links that are shared on its platform, link previews are not always ‘live’ if a link has been shared before. You can use the Facebook Open Graph debugger to ‘scrape’ your link again, pulling the latest page information and media from your site to Facebook for future preview.

You can even preview the preview, so you can ensure that links to pages and articles on your website look great on Social Media, regardless of who has posted them and when.

Influence how Search Engines display information about your School Or College

With more than 95% of clicks going to ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ search results over ‘paid’ listings, it’s now more important than ever to stand out positively from other search results (especially competitors’ results).

Using free tools provided by Google and other Search Engine services, you can review, optimise and manage your appearance on search results.

* The ‘Google Search Console’ offers methods for controlling how your website is seen by Google and options for requesting new ‘crawls’ of your site if you’ve changed information and want to ensure the search results are up to date.

The Google Search Console also provides information and tools for marking-up (identifying with code) your content in ‘rich snippets’.

This ensures that key information such as events, can be displayed in a rich and visually appealing way in Google search results, increasing clicks and conversions.

* ‘Google My Business’ allows you to control your presence on the business listing normally shown to the right of search results on desktops and at the top on some mobile experiences.

Often these listings will be created automatically with public information but with complete access via Google My Business you can update your hours of business, contact information, photos, videos, web address and more.

TIP: Ask your website provider how to get the most out of Google Search Console and Google My Business. They should be able to help with all areas of integration and management, or simply set them up so you can use these tools yourself.

Plan user journeys on your Website, optimising webpages to boost conversions

Your website should not only be easy to navigate, it should enable ‘user journeys’ through the webpages to the information visitors require and/or options to engage (conversion opportunities and goals).

Where possible, you should also have dedicated ‘landing pages’ set up for specific conversion targets or campaigns, for use in online and offline advertising, Social Media and email marketing.

Specifically designed landing pages can provide key information and create a quicker user journey leading to a conversion or action as visitors find what they need and respond positively to it.

By creating dedicated, optimised webpages with specific users and/or goals in mind allows you to make the most of your inbound traffic from search, social and paid channels… giving more personalised user experiences… without having to change or customise your website home page.

You can also more easily track and analyse for attribution (visitor origin) and identify visitors more easily for remarketing.

Don’t forget to continue to test, track and review the effectiveness of your landing pages.

TIPS: Talk to your website service provider about landing pages and conversion rate optimisation; and keep in mind that online forms with 3 or fewer fields are the most effective at ensuring conversion.

Good luck… and don’t forget to keep up an eye on your analytics, across your site, social and search – to give you an understanding of how these changes are impacting traffic, engagement and conversions.

Website MOT – Masterclass workshop

For more tips and techniques, insights and ideas please join us for the EMCdigital ‘Website MOT’ for Schools & Colleges half-day Masterclass workshop I will be delivering as part of the EMCdigital Masterclass programme.

For information and to book your place please see the ‘Website MOT’ for Schools & Colleges workshop description.

See you there.

Dan O’Driscoll
(Website Development Consultant, Singularity)

Do join us for our expanded Masterclass programme and book soon (places are limited to small groups for the benefit of all participants).

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