OK, so you’ve debated, discussed and deliberated among your administrative team. It’s been decided your new school website will have a prospect focus. You recognize that a prospect-focused website is the first impression prospective parents encounter when they start looking for schooling options for their children.
You also recognize that web copy has a special function that regular copy doesn’t have; the job of web copy is to get people to do something. The content of your website pages has the potential power to end the visitor’s window shopping and convert them into leads.
Your desire is that your school website will become an invaluable member of your admissions team. It will work for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and won’t even ask you for a two week vacation.
How will you judge how much information to share with your prospects on all the interior pages without boring them and sending them clicking away? Let me bring you in on a few secrets that will help you to write perfect copy for school website pages.
Understand Website Visitors
First of all, recognize who visits your school’s website. If you haven’t already done so, take some time to learn about your school’s current and prospective parents. Defining and understanding your parent personas will enable you to write content for your website that addresses their pain points and provides solutions for their challenges.
Next, recognize the way your parent personas gather information. In these days of information overload, we have all become very adept at filtering out unwanted and unnecessary details on our computers and quickly looking for answers to our most pressing questions. And because there is such an abundance of information out there, we expect answers to our questions at lightening fast speed or we’re on to the next thing.
The goal with your website’s interior pages should not be to test the patience of your visitor as you drone on with technical details, but to cut to the chase quickly with information they need and calls-to-action that will lead them further into their journey.
When visitors are clicking around on your school’s website, are they internally screaming, “Do they seriously expect me to read all this?” Unfortunately, content overload is a mistake that occurs on far too many school websites that I have looked at recently. Irrelevant, boring copy and meaningless jargon from the education industry will not get results when your goal is to convert website visitors to leads.
Finally, consider the website user’s experience while on your site. Take a look at your site’s navigation. Are sections clearly labeled or are you left guessing what clever titles mean? Are pages bucketed together in a way that makes sense to your parent personas? Do visitors have clear opportunities to dig deeper into topics of interest?
Anticipate The Need
The tendency of many website writers is to offer all sorts of information that they feel is important. However, it is most important to provide parents with the information they need to accomplish their desired outcome.
In order to provide content that really resonates with your parent personas, not only should you thoughtfully anticipate their needs but also utilize hard data. Drawing upon sources such as Google analytics, recorded visits, heatmaps, and surveys can deepen your comprehension of how visitors are interacting with our site.
For example,when writing content for a page about your school’s fall sports program, ask yourself, “What does the parent need?” They probably need to know what sports are offered in the fall, what type of time commitment is expected from the participants, and who the coaches are.
While it is possible that some parents may want a full comprehensive description of the fall athletic program including all sorts of details and stats, most parents are looking at the website to find answers to high level questions. Pique their interest and provide a path that ensures more details can be explored by downloading ebooks, printing a detailed white paper and visiting the school to talk with administrators, admission officers, teachers and coaches.
Provide Scannable Content
Understand that when a visitor views one of your school’s website pages, they will scan the page to look for answers to their questions. Here are a few best practices to format your pages to make them scan friendly.
- Use bolded headings
- Write short, concise paragraphs
- Allow for plenty of white space
- Provide bulleted points
- Display images that explain more about the topic
- Add a call-to-action that invites visitors to take the next step or learn more details
Remember that visitors will only read so much text on your website page before they lose interest and click away. When you provide answers your parents are looking for and rid website pages of unnecessary distractions, you can gain their trust. Establishing a relationship with prospective parents that is built on trust is gold as you work towards enrollment and retention.
Want a quick way to figure out if your current school website is up to par? Perform a quick test. Pull up a random page on your school website. Look at it for 5 seconds. Then look away. Try to answer these 2 questions:
- What was the page trying to inform you about?
- What were you supposed to do?
School website pages that drip with perfection are pages that are written for distinct parent personas, provide content that is easy to scan and enable prospects to accomplish their goals.