Higher Education Marketing

Web Design Tips to Improve Lead Generation

Date posted: January 24, 2012

Improved lead generation starts with the bare bones foundations of your site: web design. Putting it simply, if the design of your website is clumsy or misguided, it will undermine any efforts you put in to improve online lead generation.

Effective web design has to have a core message that is driven by clear-cut goals for your website and individual program pages. Once you’ve defined these goals (and it can be anything from clicking on certain links, requesting more information or booking a tour to visit the campus), the next step is designing navigation and layout that is clear, clean and conducive to achieving your goals.

Above all, the design of your website should:

  • Convey credibility
    Visually, your website has to look as professional as possible. A shoddy looking website can do quite a bit of harm to lead generation efforts. If your site is badly organized, or visually uninteresting (or worse, cluttered and ugly), it will reflect badly on your institution and foster doubt in visitors. That’s not to say that you have to spend lots of money on designing a complex and flashy site. You just need something that looks credible.
  • Avoid confusion
    A user should never be confused on your site. Every page has to have a clearly defined purpose and layout. Take steps to ensure that information regarding programs, courses, admissions and are easy to find and even easier to understand.
  • Help users find what they’re looking for
    Don’t make it hard for people to find out about you. Consider someone’s first visit to your site. Is the information laid out in a way that makes sense? Is it easy to find admissions info? Do you have to click through multiple pages? Does the search function work? Every obstacle you put up is a blow to potential leads and future lead generation.

Basic Web Design Tips for Lead Generation

Pull Prospects into the Site
Generally speaking, prospective students will usually not inquire about programs from your home page. Usually, they need to be pulled into the site a little further into specific program pages. Provide enough content (a good idea is to mix text with photos and videos) and calls-to-action to get them going further into your site.

Know your audience
It probably sounds overly simplistic, but we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to know the audience you’re trying to target. If, for example, you’re hoping to attract more international students, there needs to be something in the web design that reflects this need, be it navigation, layout, content or a combination of the three. Once you know your audience, you’ll also be able to focus your keyword research and SEO tactics.

Focus on content
As we’ve said in the past, content is king, and the more engaging, varied and interesting your content is, the easier it will be to attract prospective students and online leads. Content can involve information on programs, diplomas, graduation ceremonies, seminars, open houses and more.

Make it easy to navigate
Don’t make users pull their hair out. The clearer the navigation paths provided, the more likely your efforts to improve online lead generation will bear fruit. An easy to navigate site structure makes it easy to get information.

Optimize your content and website
Keyword-rich content can then be optimized with contextual linking, interlinking and the use of relevant meta tags. The design of the site, however, should also be firmly rooted in SEO best practices, including the proper keyword-rich use of:

  • URLs
  • Headings
  • Page titles
  • Alt attributes
  • Anchor text for internal and external links
  • Meta descriptions
  • Page text

What other website design principles have you followed?

One thought on “Web Design Tips to Improve Lead Generation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>