Optimizing a website for a restaurant, online store, or community to help its intended audience find it better is not a new idea. However, the idea hasn’t been quite as fast to catch on in the educational field. Sites for online degree programs and schools should consider optimizing their design so that they suit the demographic that is most interested in them- prospective students.
When someone visits a page for an online degree, there are two primary reasons for doing so. The first is that they are a student in that program and they want to access their courses and school content. The second is that they are thinking about enrolling and they want to learn more about the program. It is highly beneficial for such a site to concentrate on appealing to this second group. This is because the first group, the current students, will need to login to some kind of portal or account for them to do what they need to do.
However, the second group needs close access to information that they can reach quickly and easily. They will want to know about degree outcomes, the experience of taking classes, and other facts that determine whether they will apply to enroll. They don’t need to know the details of the content or see links to password-protected pages for insiders.
Furthermore, it is a good idea to structure the site to appeal to prospective students because current students are already enrolled. The site doesn’t need to do anything more to convince them to sign up. Other important groups of visitors might include potential employees of graduates who want to learn about the program. The same kind of design and content that appeals to prospective students will also be informative for them.
The specifics of this optimization process depend on the specifics of the site’s goals. Every site has its own needs and target demographic. For example, a program for nurses should talk about job placement, the length of the program, connections to local hospitals, and specialties. A program for teachers might showcase compliance with standards, key skill-building courses, any availability for special needs or other specializations, and so on.
The commonalities are clear: talk about what the program does, how it does it, anything that sets it apart, and what jobs it can lead to. It is also a good idea to discuss the advantages an online degree has over a traditional one, such as convenience and speed of completion.
Prospective students have three choices: don’t enroll in any education, enroll in a traditional program, or enroll in an online program. The site should establish why an online program is the best choice and why yours is the best one in your specialty. Many sites fail to answer one of those two questions, and as a result aren’t making the best case they can to people who want to consider the program.
An online degree program has some special advantages over a traditional program, but it is key to devote some time and attention on the website to explaining those advantages and why they matter. The upsides to an online degree are not all self-apparent. Conduct the design of the site in such a way that it answers the questions that a potential student would ask. That will generate the most leads and the best conversion rate. It will take some time and effort to build the site in the right way, but it is well worth the initial investment to establish the program and its online presence.