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Throw the confetti! Pop the champagne! All your hard work is over so you can kick back and relax!
Right? Wrong. (Okay, fine, you can throw confetti.)
If you were thinking that launching your website meant that the work was over, you would be incorrect. Your website requires constant attention, upkeep and refinement to ensure that you're effectively reaching the right prospects and communicating with your community.
Here are some tips for what to do next to ensure your website maintains its hot-off-the-press presence.
Make an Announcement
Before you get back to the boring calendar updates, it's time to bask in your glory and praise. When schools who make the switch from a fixed-width site to a responsive site, they receive kudos almost instantly because the convenience and design is levels above what they're used to.
Send an email to your community; post on social with a related hashtag that encourages families to share their thoughts; or hey — shout it from the top of roof on the first day of class — whatever works for you.
Feeling creative? We absolutely love this video called "Mixed Up" from St. Anne's-Belfield School. It's clever, comical, and (seemingly) didn't take a ton of production and editing time.
Start Using This Website Content Optimization Guide
Form a Web Team
If you didn't have a web team for your website deployment, we highly recommend that you establish one for website maintenance. It'll help you stay organized, distribute work and lessen everyone's workload.
Pull together one representative from each of your teams including academics, advancement, marketing, communications and administration. You'll hear the needs of each department and be able effectively address them, You'll also be able to distribute work more effectively. For example, your Web Team member from advancement can handle all content edits for related pages so you don't have to.
Think your school just doesn't have the time to form a Web Team? The Chapin School's Director of Middle School Academic Technology and Web Team member Kelly Hammond says to think again:
"Schools don't have the time not to meet like this. The amount of time we would be spending trying to figure things out on our own would be higher. We save so much time by staying on the same page. You can't afford not to do this."
Create a Workload Calendar
What kind of work needs to happen on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis? Organize your to-dos into a calendar so you know exactly what needs updating and when to avoid scrambling at the last minute.
Data, data, DATA! How can you improve your website without knowing what's working and what's not? If you can easily make sense of Google Analytics — use it! You'll get an overview of what pages on your site are popular, where users spend the most time, and which pages immediately initiates a click backwards. (Oh no!)
Finalsite Dashboard is another great tool that streamlines and simplifies data from Google Analytics into easy-to-interpret charts. It also provides benchmark comparison data so you can see how your website performance statistics like bounce rate and total website visits, compare to schools like yours. (So maybe that bounce rate isn't so bad, after all.)
Invest in an SEO or PPC Campaign (Or Both!)
Spending thousands of dollars on stellar landing pages with the mere hope a qualified customer will land on it is like buying a new car without an engine.
It just doesn't work.
Launching a new website doesn't guarantee improved website traffic. A matter of fact, you're bound to see a drop in website traffic for a few days post-launch as Google re-crawls your pages and redirects are put in place.
While focusing on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can greatly improve your ranking in search, PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and re-marketing campaigns improve the likelihood that qualified traffic are reaching the exact pages you want them to.
For example, if someone were to Google "best independent schools in Boston," SEO would help you appear on page one. PPC would ensure they land on the page you want them to, besides your homepage.
Want to learn more about SEO and PPC campaigns? Download our infographic.
Think About Next Steps for Your Web Solution
A web presence is about more than just a website. It's the experience you provide for your prospective and current community from the first time the search for your school, until they're an alum.
Once you've launched your website, think about what "add-ons" can improve your school's digital impression. Online admissions, blended learning, a 1:1 program, password-protected portals and private social networking are great digital assets to consider post-launch.
Need a little help? We're here for you!
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