Grading the Effectiveness of an Education Website

David Boselli



May 31, 2017

Over the years we have worked on a wide range of projects with nationally ranked universities to engage prospective students, increase enrollment, drive campus visits and more. In this first post, we will be diving into how to evaluate a college website as the start of an ongoing series into successful digital strategies for higher education.

Measure and Improve

To begin, measure the performance of your website through analytics to uncover and document what appeals to—or frustrates—your target users. Existing user behavior is a powerful indicator and a better starting point for you to understand what is working and what still needs improvement. Here are just a few of the many questions about your website that you can answer using Google Analytics:

  • How many people visit my website?
  • Where do my visitors live?
  • What marketing tactics drive the most traffic to my website?
  • Which pages on my website are the most popular?
  • Where did my visitors come from and go on my website?

A custom dashboard in Google Analytics to get an overview of your audience.

Before you kick off a new redesign or digital marketing project, you’ll need to capture benchmark data as a reference point to measure success. Identifying metrics or key performance indicators will help you and your team prioritize effectively and focus on what matters most.

Instead of getting an estimate on a better-looking site, change the conversation to focus on results. Ask yourself:

  • Which metrics or key performance indicators can I use to measure success?
  • What are the realistic goals for determining if the redesign is successful?
  • Have I captured benchmark data that I can use to measure against before the new site launches?
  • Do I have all the tools in place that I will need in order to measure?

SEO Performance overview in Google Analytics.

Analytics and Tracking Conversions

Once you have everything in place to measure traffic and user behavior, the next step is to determine what to focus on. The four types of Google Analytics reports accessible in the sidebar are audience, acquisition, behavior and conversions. There are many valuable insights to be found from these reports that serve to validate or improve website strategy and implementation.

A conversion goal typically measures a completed activity such as:

  • Requests for information
  • Application submission rates
  • Campus visit registrations

Campus Visit Registrations

Let’s say through advertising, website personalization, improved user experience and overall optimization we increase the number of campus visits overall. By increasing the number of registrations, we can also expect to see a rise in enrollments if the matriculation rate remains consistent.

The University of Rochester can use Google Analytics to track page views, interactions, bounce rate and more to evaluate the effectiveness of the updated calendar.

You can see that by focusing our efforts into one conversion funnel and tracking that number from the start we can start to show the impact and value of the work we have done to improve the campus visit registration process online.

In Conclusion

We hope you gleaned some useful tips from part one of our Successful Digital Strategies for Higher Education. If you’re interested in more information or have any questions, please email us. We’ll be happy to help!

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