An updated website will not only give prospective parents the best experience possible, but it will also make them more likely to enrol in your school. In this article, find out why no website should be seen as outdated.
In today’s highly competitive online market, your site needs to be both attractive and functional to keep up with the times. To stay competitive, a website must offer an aesthetic that feels 2021-ready.
In short, if you want to keep your School website up to date, there’s a lot of benefits. With most people spending more and more time on the internet, regularly updated content can help your school grow by lifting it up with quality content that is well executed. Conversely, a lack of updates online means you’ll be missing out on potential opportunities.
Here are some of the most important benefits to updating your website regularly:
Reason #1: Upgrade technology
The internet is constantly evolving and developing; new tech stacks come out every day with the goal of making websites better. This can include things like making them faster, simpler, lighter, or more secure. If you’re looking for ways to improve your website’s performance opt for a new tech stack! Always provide your users with the best possible service and user experience. Earn a good reputation and greater enrolments!
Check out our article on Tips to Improve Your School Website to learn what to implement in your website to make it ready for 2021.
Reason #2: Rebranding
The changes you make to your brand also need to be reflected in your School website design. We understand this might seem obvious, but it actually helps attract better traffic to your page. You should take advantage of this by customising the site even if you only make minimal changes simply for the sake of consistency.
This is even more important when you’re introducing changes to your business strategy. Your School website is the face of your brand and should always be in sync, as it is first thing potential parents see. Be sure that this face looks professional and never lets down your future students.
Reason #3: Follow design trends
Keeping up with design trends is important to stay competitive in the modern world. Those who don’t will be left behind as parents start looking elsewhere. The plain old look doesn’t equal outdated or retro anymore, so if you don’t keep an eye on trends you’ll end up losing enrolments too. Loyalty is key in any business, and that includes attracting new students.
As design trends continue to evolve, people are realising that colour themes and shape choices are not the only part of the equation. Before you can set up a website, there’s all sorts of other factors to take into account. For example, simplifying web design has become a trend recently. Cleaner and straightforward websites will be all the rage with the motion UI growing more popular each day. There are many tactics to keep up with new trends in online marketing. It’s important to stay updated on the latest website designs and not overdo it so that your site doesn’t get overwhelming. There are even ways you can use this trend to your advantage by attracting dynamic new students!
Read more: 5 Tips for Great School Website Design
Reason #4: Improve website speed
One of the major issues we all face in our everyday lives is that we don’t have enough time to complete everything. If people find a page too slow to load, they won’t stay on it long. In fact, slow loading speed is one of the main reasons for a high bounce rate.
There are a number of factors that affect website load speed. You might be tempted to think it all boils down to the website design prowess of your team, but this is only one factor. To make for faster loading websites, you may want to check the recent trends in web development technology- there are many useful features that aim at improving load time and site usability. The new technologies Beyond Web are using can help bring down your website’s high bounce rates and provide your Google rankings that much-needed boost.
But there are a few reasons that your website can be slow. One of the main causes is an outdated theme. Other causes include cluttered UI and heavy images or video files.
Reason #5: Ensure data safety
Protecting the data you collect from users is essential. When people fill in long forms with personal information, it’s often stored digitally. For example, your personal medical history might be saved on the servers of your healthcare provider.
Outdated security measures won’t stand up against modern hacking attacks. A hacked server can contain spam and other viruses which will cause more problems than they might solve. If you don’t keep your data safe on the cloud, all your user data can be compromised and stolen. Your website’s Content Management System (CMS) must be maintained on a regular basis, and make sure it’s compliant with the latest security standards.
Reason #6: Provide flexibility
Today, if your School website doesn’t have a mobile version, you can just throw it away. According to Statista over half of all website traffic (52.2%) was mobile-generated. Granted, in some countries, this number will be lower. But in others, it will be higher. A mobile version of your site is a must these days and the stats say you should be aware of this. If you don’t have one, it might be too late!
Even if you have a separate mobile app, your website still needs to adapt to mobile screens; otherwise, you face the very serious danger of losing potential students. If you’ve been around for some time and your site is more than a few years old, you might want to consider adding a mobile-friendly version. We use technology that renders pages seamlessly across different screens, so you don’t have to worry about outdated code specifically affecting desktop viewers.
Reason #7: Improve your search engine rankings
When should you update your website’s SEO settings? Well, major changes to Google’s search engine algorithms happen approximately every half a year, so it is always good to keep track of those. But smaller changes to Google’s algorithms can happen at any time. Sometimes, we see iterations every couple of weeks; other times, there’s several months of calm before the storm.
Changes in search algorithms can affect your position in search results, so it’s important to update your website regularly if you want to rank higher than your competitors. And with the new requirements set out by Google, it’s crucial to know how SEO works and use that knowledge every day.
What about the content itself? How often should you update your website’s information? Well, this really depends on what kind of business you have. What we do know, though, is that webpages with updated content rank higher in search engines.
It is important to think about these aspects before creating content. If not, you may end up with poor quality content and find yourself at a competitive disadvantage. Regularly updated poor content can be your downfall, both with visitors and with search engines — for example, it’s widely known that Google’s Panda algorithm can lower the rankings of websites in search results for keyword stuffing (overloading text with keywords that lack proper context) and for low-quality or repeated content.
Google’s algorithm has been increasingly tough on quality standards in recent years, so they created some guidelines to follow in order to maintain a high ranking:
- Beneficial purpose— Websites should be designed with your end user in mind.
- E-A-T(Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) — It’s important for websites to seem trustworthy. Google will rank a site lower if it appears sketchy or harmful in any way.
- YMYL(Your Money or Your Life) — Content that touches on information which can impact big decisions among readers (news, medical advice, financial advice, legal advice etc.) should be written by professionals in the field.
Check out our article on 5 Creative Ways to Make Your School Blog Stand Out and learn how to generate high quality blog content, and dive into how to consistently create it without stress and frustration.
Reason #8: Add integrations
There are many plugins and third-party web apps available that can be integrated in your website which will not only make it more functional but will also engage your audience better. The reason for redesigning the website often is to include technologies like these. Some of the most popular ones are:
- Social media
- Google Analytics
- Reservation/booking systems
- Interactive Calendars
It’s a common practice to adjust your website with added plugins. Doing so may also lead to a change in your website code & design and/or make you realise that the technology is no longer allowed or not up-to-date. Retaining your competitive advantage is important for which ever option you take, but sometimes it may be necessary to make these changes with Plugins.
Signs you need to update your School website
Websites are constantly changing and evolving. Most School website owners don’t always keep up with the latest trends. So, how do you know when it’s time to redesign your site? One way to think about it is whether your site is running at either a sluggish or slow pace compared to others in your field.
Rest assured that there are signs that can help you figure out if your website needs an update. Here’s a list of criteria to look for that might indicate you should find a website development company. You can typically find these criteria with Google Analytics or alternative services. Keep them in check and up-to-date so your School website will continue to perform well:
- Bounce rate. The bounce rate is the percentage of people who see a single page of your site and then leave. If it’s too high, you need to redesign your UI & UX as soon as possible.
- Page loading speed. If your website takes too long to load, people will look for whatever they need somewhere else. With so many alternatives available, we simply don’t have time or patience to wait for something that’s taking forever. There are a number of ways you can measure page loading speed.
- On-site time. The amount of time people spend on your website is a good indicator of how your UX design is performing. The optimal time depends on the specifics of your site, but you should usually take it into account and work to sustain this for as long as possible. It can also be a good complement to the bounce rate.
- Leads and conversions. Leads become potential students and conversions are the numbers that represent how many leads have completed a desired action, such as filling out your contact form. If you have seen a drop in leads or conversions, it’s very likely that site visitors aren’t finding what they’re looking for. This can be due to old content or navigation being difficult. Whatever the reason may be, it’s time to freshen things up!
And here’s a list of unmeasurable things that indicate you should update your website:
- Your website is old. You need to update it periodically or risk being left behind. 5 years is too long to go without updating these days and UI/UX, technology and content are all evolving rapidly. Don’t leave your site long outdated without modernising!
- You have no mobile version and/or your website isn’t responsive.
- Your website uses HTTP. All reputable websites have now switched or are in the process of switching to using HTTPS, the secure version of the commonly-used HTTP protocol. It is especially important to use HTTPS if your website deals with any kind of sensitive information.
- Dead links. Links to pages that don’t exist are bad and make visitors lose interest in your website. Make sure you have few links like this.
- Making changes is a challenge. That’s why new websites are being built for easy updates and modern platforms are flexible. If it takes time or requires third party help, it means you need to rethink your website.
- Yours is among the oldest-looking sites in your niche. If your competitors’ websites look newer, they might start stealing your students. Newer sites often give off a cleaner and more modern vibe, which say a lot about the reliability of your School (especially if you aren’t taking care to keep your website up-to-date).
The importance of updating your School website: Summing up
If you’re not investing in regular design, code and SEO updates for your website then you’re missing out. Modern-looking School websites with fresh content generally rank higher in organic search and not only will your prospective students see that you’re up to date but they’ll be more likely to attend a School with a sleek design. Using the latest technology keeps your website safe and earns trust among users and search engines alike.
So, How often should a School website be redesigned? Experts would say that 2 to 3 years is the maximal lifetime for a site design-wise. Longer than that and it will have the risk of being outdated. New technologies have become a necessity and not a luxury. Schools in today’s world can no longer afford to be left behind in the race for innovative education. Many of these new technologies are key to helping students learn, connect and explore, ultimately increasing school engagement which in turn help with student retention rates.
Have you been searching for some expert help with your website? Beyond Web can provide that and more. We have talented designers who can craft a beautiful, user-friendly site for your School. We offer consultation & advice in order to achieve what you want, while staying up to date on the latest web trends. Schedule a time to chat with us.