SERIES: Improving Web Content – What Your Site Needs

This is the second post in our blog series on improving web content in 2018. If you missed the first post, read it here.

Last week, we discussed why it is important for every department to have strong web content. Websites are the top way prospective students learn about a university or a program, and the information presented on those sites is the resource that most influences a student’s interest in a college or university. Takeaway: If we want to draw more students to WKU and connect those students with our resources in the easiest way possible, our web content must be top-notch.

Determining what content belongs on your website can be overwhelming. Luckily, a great deal of research exists studying what content prospective students are looking for. Let’s consider first what students are seeking when they visit a university site. The 2017 E-Expectations Report asked subjects to identify their top five questions:

When we drill down to the department-level, students begin seeking more detailed information. In an addendum to the 2016 E-Expectations report, students ranked the following as the most valuable content:

  • Cost/tuition information
  • Job or graduate school placement stats
  • Testimonials
  • Program details
  • Rankings
  • Faculty profiles

Students want to know what they’ll be learning, from whom they’ll be learning, and what outcomes the degree program offers.

Each department’s needs will vary slightly, but we recommend that your site contain the following information at a minimum:

  • Degrees & Programs (with a single, separate page dedicated to each program or concentration)
  • Affordability Information (with links to cost of attendance, net price calculator, etc.)
  • Accreditation/Outcomes (job and/or graduate school placement statistics)
  • Testimonials (from current students and alumni of the program)
  • Application Information (specifying requirements above university standards)

It’s also important to include a link to the application, a way to schedule a tour, and contact information. For our full list of recommended content (including sample top and side navigations) or a consultation of your current content, visit www.wku.edu/webservices or contact webservices@wku.edu.

To meet prospective students’ needs, ensure that your department’s website contains this essential information. Including these key points on your site provides students with easy access to the content they desire.

That leads us to next week’s topic: keeping your content simple and straightforward! We’ll share best practices to paring down your site, displaying important information with brevity and clarity, and saving time on content creation!

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