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This can be a sign that your website hosting may potentially be out of date or otherwise providing below optimal function.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

Previous Education & Enrollment

Understanding Prospects' Prior Post-Secondary Experience

I want to like nectarines. There’s a nectarine tree in my parents’ yard and every summer they rave about the sweet fruit fresh off the branch. But I’ll never know, because years ago I bit into one and didn’t realize that, in addition to a pit, this particular nectarine also harbored a small spider. Since then, I’m more partial to a peach.

My summer fruit preference is obviously not important, but I share it to illustrate the way our experiences shape our perceptions. Do all nectarines contain spiders? Of course not. Would most people ever even consider that? No again. But I do, because of my experience. I’m sure you have examples of this in your own life. Maybe a particular liquor you no longer drink after an enthusiastic overindulgence or a place you think of fondly because it’s where you met someone special.

Our previous experiences shape our perceptions and expectations, which is why when a prospect inquires with your school it can be crucial to understand that individual’s previous educational experience in order to best support them.

Do you know what percentage of your prospective students have previous post-secondary experience?

Our recently published research report The Hidden Motivations of Prospective Students, compiled from input of over 250,000 prospective students, found that 38.9% of all prospects surveyed have some type of previous post-secondary experience.

Pie Graph of Prospective Students with Previous Post Secondary Education vs None

Generally speaking, that’s almost 1 in 4 career school prospects with some post-secondary experience before they inquire with your school. That prior post-secondary experience can have a huge impact on prospects’ approach to career training.

Does your current admissions interview process incorporate questions about previous education? The sooner you’re able to gather this information, the better you’ll be able to shape a valuable conversation with your prospect.

For prospects that HAVE attended other post-secondary, important follow-up questions include:

  • What type of program were you enrolled in?
  • Did you complete your program?
  • (If they completed) What type of degree/certification did you receive?
  • (If they did NOT complete) What held you back from completing?
  • What was your previous experience in school like for you?
  • (If you are a Title IV school) Did you receive Financial Aid & do you know the status of your loans?

Knowing whether a prospect has had difficulty, for one reason or another, completing a previous program can be crucial to your evaluation of their fit for your program and knowing how to best support that prospect.

TIP: Stories from successful graduates of your school who have previously attended other schools can be particularly powerful. These types of personal testimonials can lend incredible credibility by speaking directly to the experience many prospects have and can help to allay doubts that may linger for some prospects if they have had negative experiences with post-secondary in the past.

Previous Post-Secondary Experience by Career Area of Interest

For careers that typically attract a younger demographic, such as trades and beauty, the instances of prior post-secondary experience are lower. The 3 career areas that showed the highest percentage of prospects with prior post-secondary education are:

  • Social Services (55.3%)
  • Education (56.2%)
  • Hospitality (57.7%)

If your program tends to attract career-changers, i.e. individuals who have been in the workforce a number of years already and are ready to make a change professionally, it’s even more important that your admissions process allows opportunity to explore and address the prospect’s prior educational experiences.

Know Education Status Before You Reach Out to a Lead

When a lead comes in, do you have background information like previous education experience or do you have to uncover it in your conversation? When your lead generation tools, such as signup forms on your website etc, allow room for prospects to share details beyond their immediate contact information, Admissions teams are prepared to better serve that individual prospect’s specific needs.

If you’re interested in how to gather more information about your prospective students without compromising leads (even increasing lead flow), click here to request a demo of Enrollment Resources’ innovative lead capture platform Virtual Adviser.

Want to see more from this in-depth research? Access the Hidden Motivations of Prospective Students Research Report here.