Does your school website attract a lot of visitors? Once there, are those visitors staying to read your content and taking the next step by subscribing to your blog or newsletter? Or are they failing to engage at all with your website?
If your goals to reach a certain number of visitors and leads are not being satisfied, you may be lacking the content necessary to attract and keep visitors on your website.
While a website’s design is a large factor for attracting visitors, it’s the content that will entice them to stay and encourage them to keep coming back. It can also be a big reason why your visitors may be leaving your website so quickly, without so much as reading your articles.
Visitors to your school website are likely to be accessing your site from anywhere on their mobile tools. They can easily come and go with a quick click or swipe of their fingers and will usually just scan a web page rather than take the time to read everything immediately.
Whether they’re using their PC’s, laptops, or mobile phones, they have access to search engines that can show them millions of websites, including your school’s as well as those of your competitors.
An average internet user’s attention span is so short that you typically only have about 7 seconds to engage them with your website’s design and content. If they don’t like what they see upon first glance, it’s goodbye to a potential lead.
When you’re writing for a website, there are a variety of factors to consider. Here are some tips that can assist you in writing the type of copy for your school’s website that can help you achieve your marketing goals:
1. Getting Visitors to Your Website is Only Half the Battle
Visitors may be led to your website for any number of reasons. Perhaps they’re simply searching for information in general, looking for a solution to their problem, or maybe they’ve come to do research on your school.
Regardless of the reason, visitors have a specific need that they want fulfilled, and may not have the patience to dig around in content they don’t need.
First, it’s important to identify the buyer personas you are trying to reach so you’ll know what they need. You can then provide them with relevant information relative to their needs.
Second, formatting your content in such a way that is viewable to “scanners”. Expect your readers NOT to read, but rather to glance and scan only. Write with short paragraphs that are straightforward, without being too wordy.
In addition, take out any unnecessary information. Focus on helpful material that will lead your reader towards taking their next step.
To improve your chances of turning visitors into leads, avoid putting in too many details that may veer the content away from the message you want to convey or the actions you want your readers to perform.
Simply put, provide just enough information to guide them to the next step in their buyer’s journey.
2. Use the Inverted Pyramid
Since you’re aiming to have your readers find the information that they need easily, be sure to use the principle of the inverted pyramid:
Place your most important information at the top, which is likely to be a big, attention-grabbing headline, or an H1. It can be the title of the page, supplemented by an H2 subtitle. The subtitle can be the value proposition to entice your reader.
Take this as an example:
An H2 tag is used as a subheading for an H1 tag. An H3 tag is a subheading for an H2 tag.
After your readers gain a better understanding of what you do and what you can do for them, you can then provide more detail in the body of your website content.
Use each tag in a consistent manner throughout your website to increase readability.
Keep in mind that Google categorizes the content of a webpage by using H1 tags. If you have several H1 tags, Google will not be able to determine what keywords it will use to link to your content.
With this process, you can gather and build interest first before providing too many details that may leave your visitors lost at the onset.
3. Avoid Jargon
In writing the body of your content, avoid using words that may confuse or alienate your reader. You want to build a connection and present your visitors with content that they can relate to.
Jargon is an insider’s language used within a specific circle or community. Outsiders would not understand it unless it was explained to them.
For example, your school community may easily identify with a school program or activity you refer to by acronym, such as ESY, AP, or CBA*; however, those outside of the community may have no idea what you’re talking about.
Including jargon in your content may put off visitors and even make it more difficult to make a connection with them and build trust.
You may include their definitions and explain their context; however, be mindful that including too much information that may be irrelevant to your readers at this point may simply further confuse and even turn off your readers.
*ESY = Extended School Year Services; AP = Advanced Placement;
CBA = Curriculum-Based Assessment
4. Always Consider SEO
Another important aspect to consider with regard to your school website's content is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This will influence where your school website and its content falls in search engine result rankings based on the keywords an individual is searching for.
Include all the terms and keywords in the content on your website that you want to rank for — from the title of your pages to your school news or blog.
5. Write Mobile-Friendly
Generally, your visitors will access your website through multiple gadgets, such as laptops, tablets, or mobile phones, which means your website will be viewed on different sized screens.
In addition, make sure your fonts are big enough to be read on a mobile phone. Your fonts should scale correctly and include enough space in between the lines of text. Try using a font size of 16 and a value of 1.5 for spaces between lines.
6. Highlight your Calls-To-Action
Your website may be able to deliver content and information that your readers are looking for, but don’t forget what you want that content to do: get leads.
To convert website visitors into enrollment leads, your Call-to-Action (CTA) links and buttons should be strategically located throughout your webpages, all leading to a separate landing page where your visitors can input their contact information. This requires very specific and relevant CTA’s.
As a guide, your CTA’s should be able to answer the following questions:
What will your visitors find useful to them?
What specific action will your visitors need to do for you to accomplish your goals?
How can you continue to engage your visitors so they won’t leave your school’s website?
7. Remember Internal Linking
Aside from visitors being unable to read your content, search engines will also be unable to determine your web pages’ importance. Internal linking will help solve this issue.
Take the time to plan which pages should be linked to and from what other pages. Whether your strategy focuses on promoting a theme for a particular time, the best practice is to create connections between your pages and CTA’s to ensure a visitor’s consumption of content continues.
Make the effort to mention or link to past content whenever it is relevant to do so.
Creating good content for your school’s website involves more than just providing well-written articles. With so many factors to consider in tracking, promoting, and formatting your online content, think about implementing guidelines on how your school staff should be handling your website copy.
When done correctly, the implementation of these best practices can reap rewards for your website in terms of increased leads and conversions.
Remember that your website is your best marketing tool and your website visitors’ introduction to your school.
First impressions last, and being able to impress potential leads with a website that has impeccable content that can be easily accessed and read is the first step in achieving success with your online school marketing efforts.