How an Outdated Website Experience Turns Off Prospective Students

StudentBridge Staff |Nov 22, 2019

When a prospective student initially becomes interested in your university, chances are the first thing they’ll do is head right to your .edu website. Studies show that you’ve got just 6 seconds to capture a prospective student’s interest when they first visit your website. If you don’t make a killer first impression in those short 6 seconds, you’ve potentially lost a student. If you’ve got an outdated, poorly designed, or improperly functioning website, those 6 seconds aren’t serving your university. If hundreds of prospective students visit your website each day, but your website isn’t making the impression it should be, you could be losing hundreds of students each day. Your website should encourage engagement and promote trust and confidence in your institution. A bad website can do just the opposite, which can become incredibly costly in the long run.

Here are some ways your website could be negatively impacting your student conversion rate:

  1. Slow load speed. Most visitors to your website will be expecting your homepage to load in 2 seconds or less. 79% of internet users report that they would not revisit a website that takes longer to load. Prospective students need to see your homepage load quickly so that they can be immediately engaged upon visiting your website.

  2. Mobile unfriendly. Mobile internet usage has far surpassed desktop/laptop internet usage. Did you know that your website has to be optimized to adapt to all types of mobile interfaces? If your website hasn’t been updated to be mobile friendly, you could be quickly losing prospective student interest. If your website fails to load correctly on various mobile devices, your university will appear antiquated and outdated to any potential students.

  3. Poor site navigation. Your website shouldn’t appear cluttered. Clutter includes any flash animations, ads, or excessive background music. Different areas of your site should be easy to access, and menu bars should be clear and easy to use. Crisp, clean, and easily navigable websites can keep prospective students from becoming confused or frustrated.

  4. Missing calls to action. Make sure to let visitors to your website know what to do next. Clear and concise calls to action can drastically increase your conversion rate. Don’t assume that visitors to your website will know where to look or where to go next. Properly placed calls to action can gently push prospective students in the right direction so that you can increase your conversion rate.

  5. Unengaging content. Your website content shouldn’t focus primarily on long, lengthy paragraphs with hundreds of words. Not only does this make your website look cluttered, but it also doesn’t capture the attention of today’s prospective students. Make sure that the content on your website is specific, relevant, and interactive, and ensure content is tailored for your target audience. For instance, 60% of prospective students report wanting to watch student testimonials so this would be an ideal video to add to your content.

When used correctly, your .edu site can be your biggest and most effective tool in engaging prospective students and helping you convert them into enrolled students. A good site will decrease your bounce rate and encourage prospects to engage with your website. Your website should be an accurate representation of your university and should help foster interest in campus life and academics offered. Don’t let an outdated site bring down your student conversion rate.


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