We recently did a webinar to IALC members about social media survival tips, and thought it would be great to…
81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying. This fact came from a survey in 2014, so in 2020 this number will have definitely increased, and even more so during self-isolation due to COVID-19.
This will also be true in the international education industry as travel may have been halted, but the hunger for language learning remains.
If potential students have found you online then it is highly likely they will have looked at your website.
It is also true that potential students that were referred by a friend or an agent are also looking at your website to find out more about who you are, and what you have to offer.
This will be for online learning now and study abroad in the future.
We would think that it’s pretty obvious that, in 2020, all schools, colleges or universities out there have a main company website. However, how many have an effective website?
Having a website that works well is vital. A website that is fast enough for use on mobile devices is, has a design that engages and promotes use by visitors, and architecture that makes it easy for the potential student to find information has never been more vital.
You need a website that is appealing to visitors and makes you stand out from your competitors and brings instant credibility to your brand.
Does your website do all of these things currently?
Here are 8 reasons why having a very good website is extremely important for your school, college or university.
As we all sit in self-isolation and are socially distanced from friends and relatives, it is a fact that Internet usage has risen dramatically.
The first internet streaming and usage figures are suggesting that total internet hits have increased by between 50% and 70%.
UK Internet provider Virgin Media has reported that daytime Internet usage has doubled in the UK, as we are in lockdown and so many people are working from home, or studying when schools or campuses are closed.
So it is now more important than ever that your website is easy to find and easy to navigate.
Your website represents your shop window right now and is your hardest-working sales employee who doesn’t need to be furloughed.
An accessible and approachable website is now more vital than ever to show potential international students all of the good things you and your teams are doing, both during the pandemic and when the world starts moving again.
You must promote your online provision effectively. You must show the world that you are still open for business online, and also continue your online communication as to how you are navigating these tough times, and your unnerving commitments to welcome international students back to school or University as soon as possible.
Perhaps compare the impact a person has when they walk into a school with a disorganised reception or a building in need of TLC. Then they walk into a well-decorated school, with clear signage and comfortable areas to wait before being counselled, etc.
Instant judgement is equally made when people visit a website. It apparently takes a 10th of a second to form a first impression about an individual and websites are no different.
It is reported that it can take only 0.05 seconds for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they will stay or leave. An impressive visual appeal and easy navigation have the biggest influence on people’s first impressions of your site.
In our regular working day in language travel sales we are sending emails, taking calls, sending out quotes or application forms – basically communicating with potential customers in various ways (directly or through agencies), all of which takes time.
Your website can save you time by providing answers to common potential student questions and enquiries.
By providing easy access to information about your business in an engaging way will mean more communication using less staff time.
Online presence before the pandemic was important, but it has now become an absolute necessity.
Your website and social media are likely to be your sole source of developing brand awareness at this time, making this a key component is any survival strategy during what are challenging times for the education industry.
Many University and school businesses will remain closed for some time. Many have moved impressively and effectively to provide online tuition, but this still comes with the constant challenge of helping people to find your online courses, and if they do, be impressed enough to consider these against the many low-cost online English services that already exist.
Just because they cannot travel at present, doesn’t mean that students stuck at home are not hungry for English language programmes. When researching these options, students will naturally want to take a look at your main company website.
People do not simply browse the Internet to discover companies they want to buy things from. The process more often is that they visit search engines. 93% of online experiences start with a search engine.
It is therefore essential to have a search-optimized company website that can rank well in search engine results. This will ensure that potential international students can find, and connect with, your school, college or University.
You can use some very simple basic factors to help engage with visitors when they have found your website. Did you know that the top-left area of your site is where visitors usually go first? There are similar findings in a study by Yahoo. Check your site and see what you have in these areas.
Are your main paragraphs in a larger font size or in bold? If they are then as much as 95% of visitors will read the whole section.
People DO scroll down (particularly on mobiles), but when visiting via laptops people spend a lot more time above the ‘fold’ so consider what you have there (in particular if you have added a COVID-19 notice – make sure it doesn’t dominate at the expense of your online courses for example)
The importance of your website is increasing alongside the amount of consumers searching for English programmes online. COVID-19 will continue to affect bricks & mortar businesses, but this may be mitigated by purchases made online, becoming more the ‘norm’ in international education.
As people can’t walk into your premises, or be received and counselled by your direct staff or passed through normal agency routes, the importance of your website comes into play. A simple Chatbot might also help with engagement.
When we are past the pandemic, online purchasing of courses will be more ‘normal’.
For further information on improving an existing or developing a new website, please contact is at LV
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