How does your school look? We’re not referring to your buildings, grounds, or athletic fields–no, we mean your website. Your school’s website is probably the first thing that prospective students will see. Most schools have quickly acclimated to the digital age, but the existence a website is not enough. School websites need to be informative, user-friendly, and attractive. Is your website up to the challenge?

Just like any piece of marketing, the form and function work in tandem. A gorgeous site is worthless if the average user cannot find the information her or she needs. Does the website of your school/department/program/course look professional and appealing? Is the information presented in a clear and concise manner or is it packed with jargon-filled text that might intimidate potential students? Is it easy to find what you want, or is navigation clunky at best? After all, this is not only representing your brand; it is becoming your students’ control center in their continuing education journey.

When you’re marketing your course, keep in mind the following aspects of your website and consider if they are up to par.

1. High-Quality Visuals

If you are shopping around for a product online and you find blurry, pixelated, or otherwise terrible images, you will likely to question the legitimacy of the product and the seller. Your continuing education course is no different. Keep in mind that you are appealing to adult professionals who are focused on quality. Everything must look stellar to show your program in the best light.

2. Navigation

Your website should be created to be user-friendly. Your site should be designed so that prospective students can quickly find the page or information they need. They should be able to learn about courses, register, pay, and create a profile without worry or confusion. Many schools have alienated potential students because their website was difficult to navigate when registering in person was not an option. Make sure everything is laid out in a simple and convenient way.

3. Aesthetic Appeal

Web design is as artistic as it is technical. Your course’s site should look sleek, modern, and appealing — especially to your target audience of the prospective professionals who would be enrolling in your course. Just any website won’t suffice. You also need to have a website that has the same creativity and aesthetic appeal as all of your other marketing materials.

4. Speed

For this aspect, you may need to speak to your IT team so that you can understand your current hardware and specifications. If your students can log in to view their coursework online, they will want your site to run fast and smooth. If they’re waiting for several minutes for a page to load, they will naturally become frustrated. All technical aspect of your website, especially speed, should be running smoothly. Problems can sometimes be due to a hardware issue: we have worked with several clients whose servers are so antiquated that they might as well not have a site at all. If you want to maximize enrollment, you need a fast and reliable website.

5. Functionality

You’ve made sure that your website looks great. Your site is running smoothly, and it seems to be easy to navigate on all fronts. But can your students interact with it? Your website is your course’s online identity. As a result, your students should be able to use your site to accomplish several practical tasks, like registering for a course, managing their grades, looking up their transcripts, and communicating with classmates. They also want to pay for their education the same way they do everything else — through the internet. If your site offers these functions, your students will be satisfied.

When you are trying to market a continuing education course, you should realize that you’re trying to appeal to busy professionals who require a streamlined approach to further their education. As a result, you are going to need an online hub for them to navigate through the continuing education course seamlessly. With this in place, you will also benefit your marketing efforts.

XenDirect can help you do all this and much more. Learn more about our software and sign up for a free tour here: http://ow.ly/a3Du30j6ybH

Author Rick J. Stern

Entrepreneur Rick Stern built Xenegrade Corp with a focus on service to educational organizations. With an MBA from Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester and over 20 years continuing education management, his experience provides valuable insight into the needs, demands, and trends of the continuing education market.

More posts by Rick J. Stern

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