Do You Need a New Website?

How to know when it’s time to replace or repair

I was recently involved in a small fender bender. Thankfully no one was injured, but there was some damage to my car. What to me seemed like a minor dent and busted light, to my mechanic was a reason to write off the car. I opted to have the car fixed, but this question of “repair or replace” is a common one these days, whether it’s a vehicle, furniture or appliance.

But what about your website?

A new website can seem enticing, especially if you feel like your marketing has plateaued and you want to jumpstart lead generation. There are certainly a lot of marketing companies that just so happen to sell websites to tell you you need to buy one. But how do you know when a “repair” will do, ie. update photos, clean up SEO elements, add testimonials and other best practice elements and when you’re better to start fresh?

If you’ve looked into assistance with marketing your school, you’ve likely been pitched on buying a new website. But is it necessary?

We recently shared a pair of articles with tips on how to evaluate your existing website, including:

If you know that your website hosting is up-to-date and functioning properly, page load times are good and you’re not having technical issues like dropping offline periodically, it’s possible you may be able to save yourself a significant amount of time and money with improvements to your existing website.

5 Elements to Improve Conversion Without Buying a New Website

5 Elements to Improve Conversion WITHOUT Buying a New Website

  1. Photos – Do the photos on your website resonate with your prospects? Do they see themselves reflected? Do you use all stock photos or do you have authentic shots of the school, staff and potentially even students? Your website may be a prospect’s first impression of your school. It is worth investing in high-quality professional photos of your facilities, staff and community in order to showcase your school in an authentic way.
  2. Clarity – Does your homepage clearly express the following:
    – Who you are?
    – What a prospect can DO on your site? Are there clear calls-to-action, i.e. “sign up for more information”?
    – WHY a prospect should engage with your school?
  3. Contact Forms – Do you have clear, compelling contact forms on all major pages of your website? A quality contact form can be an incredible way to boost website conversion. Some people don’t like the look of a contact form on every page or think it feels “too salesy.” While overall look is a consideration, the purpose of your site isn’t to be good looking. It’s about providing a simple way for prospective students to take action and move forward with their pursuit of career training with your help.
  4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – SEO is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but it can often seem vague. Most simply, SEO is a set of practices designed to improve the appearance and positioning of your web page in organic search results. Some key metrics of SEO include the quality of internal links, i.e. links to pages within your website, and external links to pages on other sites. Other SEO elements include things like photo tags and captions, keywords and more.
  5. Compelling Copy – Does your website engage visitors? Is a reader drawn into your story and compelled to read on? When a prospect gets to a program page, is there enough information on that page to pique their interest and provide answers to some of their questions? Website copy can be easy to overlook in favor of design elements, but ultimately a prospective student considering a life decision like potentially going back to school is typically invested enough to spend some time reading copy that is relevant to them and their goals.

Have an Expert Review Your Website

If you’re curious about the performance of your website and how it measures up against today’s best practices for lead generation and conversion, Enrollment Resources can help. Schedule a free website audit with an EDU conversion expert.

Click Here to Request Your Website Audit

How to Check Your Website’s Foundation

Does the backend of your website make the grade or is it time to upgrade?

In this piece, we’ll share a few important things to check in order to assess whether the backend of your website is up-to-date and functioning optimally. This is particularly relevant if you want to generate more organic leads and/or are considering a new website.

The backend of your website is like the foundation of a house. If “the bones” of your site are good, you can potentially improve performance through design elements and the use of best practice conversion elements, rather than a complete (and often costly) rebuild or redesign. To continue the house metaphor however, if the foundation is rotted it will likely save you in the long run to fix it before you invest in design.

How to Evaluate Your Site’s Overall Foundation

Do you have access to your website’s Google Analytics? If so, take a look at the analytics for the following things:

  1. Does your website traffic drop off completely at any point?
    This can be an indicator that the website is inaccessible at times.
  2. Is your page load time 3 seconds or less?
    Google recommends a page load time of 3 seconds or (ideally) less. According to Google, 53% of mobile site visitors will abandon your page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
  3. Do you know your website conversion rate? Is it trending down?
    Your website conversion rate can be measured by the number goals achieved, in this case the “goal” is any time a prospect took action to contact your school, divided by the number of unique website visitors, multiplied by 100. For example, if your website receives 2,000 unique visitors per month and generates 50 leads, your website conversion rate is 2.5%.

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions…
This can be a sign that your website hosting may potentially be out of date or otherwise providing below optimal function. If this is the case, it could potentially be time to invest in an upgrade.

If you answered “I’m not sure” to any of these questions…
If you aren’t sure the answer to any of the questions above, it’s worth a conversation with your web developer or anyone knowledgeable in Google Analytics who can walk you through it.

If you answered “no” to these questions…
That’s good news! If the basic foundations of your website are sound, that could mean you do not need to invest in a foundational upgrade. That also means you can potentially boost your website’s performance through less costly improvements such as copy, improved calls-to-action, more authentic photos and other best practices.

What About Mobile?
For a quick way to test your website’s performance on mobile, click here to check out this blog post from last week.

Want Help to Assess Your Website?

If you’re curious about the performance of your website and how it measures up against today’s best practices for lead generation and conversion, Enrollment Resources can help. Schedule a free website audit with an EDU conversion expert.

Click Here to Request Your Website Audit

Are You Missing Out on Mobile Leads?

The Simple Test to Evaluate Your Site's Mobile Design

Do you know what percentage of your monthly website traffic is mobile? If you have access to the backend analytics of your site that metric should be pretty clear. Even if you don’t have access or aren’t sure the exact percentage off the top of your head, it’s a safe bet that the majority of your website traffic these days is users on mobile devices.

On average, around 70% of traffic to career school websites is mobile. That number often trends even higher for trades schools. That means if your site is not set up to accommodate a mobile user, you could miss connecting with a ton of otherwise interested prospects.

Most modern websites are “mobile responsive,” which means the design automatically adapts to accommodate user’s on mobile devices. But just because a website is mobile responsive, doesn’t necessarily mean it is well set up to serve the needs of mobile users or that it is automatically easy for these visitors to engage with your website.

Quick 3-Question Test of Your Site’s Mobile Usability

Step one: Bring up your school’s website on your smartphone or mobile device
Step Two: Navigate around your site via your phone/device

Ask yourself the following 3 questions:

  1. Does the site load quickly?
  2. Is it easy to navigate?
  3. Is it clear how to get in touch with your school?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, your site is likely not well optimized for mobile. The good news is, this represents a huge potential opportunity.

What to do: If you find your current website is not optimized for mobile, it’s time to speak to your web developer or seek outside assistance. Mobile traffic is too big an opportunity to pass up.

If you answered “yes” to all 3 questions, that’s great news! That means your site is likely well optimized for mobile traffic so you don’t need to invest in a costly upgrade in order to accommodate prospects who visit your site from their mobile devices.

So my site is optimized for mobile, does that mean I’ll get more leads?

Taking the time to make sure your website functions well for mobile users is a bit like clearing your front walk before you invite people over for dinner. It ensures a visitor is able to access your place, but it doesn’t set the table for them.

Optimizing your website for mobile will help to reduce bounce i.e. the individuals who reach your website but immediately leave because they find it inaccessible or there’s some aspect that causes enough friction to abandon the effort. The challenge then is to turn those website visitors into quality leads. That’s where elements like compelling copy, images that resonate with the prospect and engaging calls-to-action, i.e. the things that motivate the prospect to reach out and connect with your school, come into play.

Want to see if you’re leaving leads on the table on your website? Schedule a free, one-on-one personalized website conversion audit with an Enrollment Resources Conversion Expert. Get a report with action items you can implement right away to boost conversion on your site.

Click here to request your free website conversion audit