How College Websites Can Prove Their Impact
When you’re setting up your college website, it’s important to make the best decision for the website. Paying extra for things like web design to ensure students have access to a responsive site and using a reliable web host like LCWSoft (www.lcwsoft.com) to ensure minimal downtime is vital for your college’s reputation and longevity. But how can you check to see these choices are actually having an impact?
Pageviews, session duration, and bounce rate provide a solid health check for your college or university website. But this is only the beginning. We recommend setting up conversion goals in Google Analytics. You should also focus on user experience too because User Experience is crucial in web development. If students don’t enjoy using the website, they won’t use it, which isn’t great for conversion. A conversion goal typically measures a completed activity such as:
- Campus visit registrations
- Requests for information
- Beginning the application process
We call it a conversion when a user reaches the “thank you” page after submitting a form.
How Can Conversion Goals Improve my College or University Website?
Once you start tracking data with conversion goals, you can ask a whole set of new questions about your website performance such as:
- Which pages or content elements are most helpful in conversion?
- What is the session duration for visitors who convert?
- How can I test to get more conversions?
- What devices are people converting on?
Tying website traffic and conversion data provides the insight you need to improve your website and to align your website with the business goals of your college or university. Constant website monitoring is often seen as the very best way to ensure that your website is performing at its very best. Conversion goals are the beginning of showing how the website is not just a cost center, but an investment that generates revenue for your higher education institution. Your website can attract more people to your college, so it’s important that your website is of high quality. The very best SEO Practices to get more traffic can also be used so that more and more potential students actually visit the site and read the content that’s on it. In fact, colleges should consider investing in various SEO services to try and get more people to visit their website and see what their college has to offer. After all, the college industry is very competitive and a lot of teens are online, so having a decent online presence is essential. By visiting outreachpete.com, for example, colleges could learn more about some of the SEO strategies that have been known to increase website traffic.
Website Conversion Goals in Action: A University Case Study
For one higher education client, we established Google Analytics conversion goals outlined above. After 12 months of tracking, we analyzed the data to understand how people that convert behave:
- There are 4,000+ pages on this university website – but users that converted only looked at 234 of these web pages. These 234 pages are the pages that the marketing team now pays the most attention to.
- The average website visit time was 2.5 minutes – but users that converted stayed over 12 minutes on the site and visited an average of 11.5 pages. This provides an opportunity for using real-time web personalization.
- Of converting users, 43% of the pages viewed were in the admissions and financial aid section and the majority of the views were focused on less than 10 specific pages. The marketing team is looking at how to improve this content to make it even more effective.
For more on Google Analytics from OHO Interactive, check out:
- The Google Analytics tutorial on goal conversions
- The Introduction to Google Analytics video
- Our previous webinar, “Holy Analytics, Batman!”
By Jason Smith, Managing Director & Founder at OHO Interactive. Follow Jason on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jason_smith and read more about his work at https://www.oho.com/collections/jason-smith-higher-education-thought-leadership.