When you look at different school website examples, one thing is apparent: schools have a lot of content on their websites. The design of your site and the way that the content is presented has a huge impact on the user experience and the ability to increase enrollment at your school.
The Pareto principal is a general principal that says, 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes. When you apply this principal to your website, it means that 20% of the content on your website is attributed to 80% of the results. This principal can be a great key to helping to simplify your school’s website and determining what content is necessary on your website.
Here are 5 ways to simplify your school’s website:
Think of your buyer personas
Your buyer personas are the different types of people that go to your site looking for information. Lots of school will identify their target market, but creating buyer personas goes a step further into understanding who your customers really are. Schools usually have several different types of people that they target, including parents. By determining your buyer personas, you can ensure that all of the content you create is directed at a specific group. Your buyer persona profiles should guide your website design process and will help you simplify your website.
Use Calls-to Action
Using Calls-to-action will help guide the user experience on your website. They tell users where they need to click to get the information they are looking for. According to Unbounce, “More than 90% of visitors who read your headline also read your CTA copy.” If you make your Calls-to-action stand out, you can guide people through all of the content of your website in a way that isn’t overwhelming. School websites tend to have lots content explaining enrollment, student life, and all of the different programs offered. With calls-to-action you can quickly direct each of your buyer personas directly to the information that they will be interested in.
One of the biggest mistakes schools make in website design is presenting all of the content they have on a long scrolling page. If you do have a lot of content that you need to include, you can use interesting and compelling headers throughout your website that help users know where to find what they are looking for. If you just have pages and pages of text, chances are people won’t read it even if it is relevant to them. You can also break up your content into sections so that it is easier to digest while scrolling down the page.
Design with Whitespace
Everybody has been to a website that was overwhelming because it had too much content and was presented with poor design. Chances are you didn’t read any of the copy. In fact, according to Econsultancy, website visitors on average only read 20% of your content. When designing a website that has a lot of content, whitespace is your friend. Whitespace is simply the space around your website pages that are not filled with content. It actually helps user to digest the information that they are presented with a lot easier because they are not being bombarded with a ton of text. In order to keep the interest of your website visitors, keep your design simple and visually appealing.
Design A Simple Navigation Menu
The navigation menu is the list of pages on your website, usually found at the top, that link users to all the different sections of the website. This is where you are able to categorize your content so that it is easy for people to find what they looking for. Generally, the more simple your navigation menu is the better. If you have too many pages listed in your navigation, it will make your site look busy and cluttered. Using dropdown menus and calls-to-action can help to minimize that clutter as well.
In general, when it comes to web design, simple is better. It is important to determine what information is important to include and what isn't. While there are certain items that every website needs to include to be effective, and the way you organize and present them on your website will drastically impact the user experience.
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