Website Optimization For The Education Industry: 5 Ways To Optimize Your Online Efforts
Martha Kendall Custard, Mon Oct 25 2021, 7 min
You probably teach your students to put forth a good first impression, but have you taken a look at your website recently? Your website isn’t just a hub for students and parents to find information about your school’s curriculum and current events-- it’s also the first impression for potential students and parents wondering what your school is all about. 
Educational institutions are still businesses at the end of the day, and businesses need conversions (i.e. new students). Optimizing your website will help you harness online interest and build a website that drives conversions.

What is Optimization for Education Websites?

An open house here and there isn’t enough to show potential students and parents what your school is all about. Your education website is a window through which potential students and parents (aka, potential customers) can see what your institution is all about. 
The end goal is to draw visitors to your website and convert them into leads. Optimization is the act of analyzing what’s working and what’s not working on your website and tweaking content and design to drive as many conversions as possible.

How to Optimize Websites for the Education Industry

The first step to optimizing your website is establishing a goal. If you’re a school with an online application, your goal will likely be to drive users to fill out applications. Before you start testing, predict what website elements heavily impact conversions. You might be surprised at how your hypothesis stacks up against the results. 
Next, head into your analytics platform to see what variables are affecting onsite conversions. You can use Google Analytics for this, but we recommend Oribi if you want to optimize your website without getting a migraine. 
Here are 5 tips for optimizing education websites:

1. Customize your CTAs

You can also test the effectiveness of an individual, optimized CTA to the previous CTA version. To do so in Oribi, keep all other factors consistent and perform a sequential test. Record the results for a week pre-optimization, then record new results for a week post-optimization. Compare the results to test your optimization’s success. This can be done either on Oribi’s Funnel Analysis feature or by using the Explore Events feature to examine the conversion event and compare periods. 
Magic Events
To see the effect of all CTAs on your funnel, you can use Oribi to group them as Magic Events. Once you’ve optimized your CTAs, check your progress by comparing their effect on conversions to your pre-optimization conversion rates. 
You can also compare CTAs from different email landing pages to see which one has the best click-through rate, and then optimize your other CTAs accordingly.
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2. Account for Seasonality

The education industry is seasonal. Applications come in droves at certain times of the year, but some months can be dry. Even if you have programs or registration running yearlong, it’s not always easy to attract attention during the off-season. 
You can combat this and keep the conversions coming by optimizing your site for seasonality. Track your analytics to identify underperforming content, then optimize it with seasonal keywords.
Here are some off-season strategies to get you started:
Winter holidays
If your institution offers services that continue through the winter break, you’ll want to adjust your content to capture the seasonal traffic. Instead of keeping your standard content on tutoring or class offerings, edit or add new content to optimize for winter break traffic. Do some keyword research to find out what students and parents are searching for over winter break, then write your content accordingly. 
Testing in the spring
Spring is standardized testing season. If you offer any services related to standardized testing such as tutoring, test prep classes, etc, then you’ll want to optimize your site with content on this topic to attract relevant traffic. 
Summer break
During summer, parents and students will likely be looking for summer-related schooling activities. They won’t just be searching for school programs-- they’ll be searching for summer school programs. Implementing keywords like “summer school” into your content will help you reach your target audience throughout the summer season.

3. Group and Analyze Your Pages

Optimizing your pages can go a long way in keeping users engaged on your site for longer periods of time. It’s also a great way to improve your overall user experience. Start by taking a look at your menu architecture. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Are your pages grouped and ordered in a way that makes sense? As an education website, your ultimate goal is to inform and convert. You likely have two different audience segments to consider here-- current students and parents, and potential newcomers. Make it clear where each audience segment should go. The easier it is for users to accomplish their intended goal, the more pleased they’ll be with your customer experience. Since your website is your first impression, that can go a long way. You can also look at other notable education websites and see how they group their content. Using Oribi Explore Page View, you can even see how people engage with your menus currently.
Explore Pages- Oribi
Now that you’ve grouped your pages, it's time to check your analytics to see what pages are converting and what pages aren’t. Then, take a look at which pages cause users to bounce most often. You can even take a look at common customer journeys to see which pages lead to conversions. Once you have this information, you can adjust the order and content of underperforming pages to keep users on your site for longer. This is a great way to identify areas of your customer journey map that need smoothing out. 
You can also identify which pages are correlated with the most conversions through Oribi’s Event Correlation feature. This way, you’ll also discover which page visits or button clicks are correlated with a conversion. For even more data on your funnels, head to the Journeys Aggregator to find all your common funnels. 

If you are managing multiple academic programs, you can use Oribi to build the same type of reporting. Institutions can also study multiple domains through cross-domain funnels.

4. Offers

You can use a specific section of your site to test specific offers. For example, you can place an offer on your webpage sending readers to your latest live webinar for one week, then replace that offer with one sending readers to your newsletter the next week. The conversions for each offer will show which is most appealing to your audience. 
This strategy can also be applied to offers across your site. Say you’ve placed offers sending readers to your webinar on your landing page, blog, and admissions page. If all the offer copy is the same, assessing the conversions for each placement could show you which placement is most effective. If the offers vary in copy and design, altering to two underperforming offers to reflect the top-performing offer could increase your overall offer conversions. 

5. Assess your Donation Portals

Where your donation portals are on your site can impact your fundraising efforts. Assess the effectiveness of donation portals across your site to find the winning location, copy, and design combination.
To accurately optimize your donation portals, use sequential funnel analysis to test one factor at a time and keep track of donation portal conversions throughout the whole process. 
In Oribi, you can analyze donation portal conversion rates through Explore Clicks. This feature shows how many unique clicks a button received, as well as the conversion rate for that button.
Similarly, you can use Oribi’s Compare Periods feature to assess the conversion rate for donation portals between two time periods. This shows you how changes made to your portals during a specific time period impact conversion rates.

Fill Your Classroom with Just a Few Clicks

Not every education site has a full team of analysts to lean on. Google analytics has a steep learning curve, and not every team has the time or resources to piece together results. Oribi does all the hard work for you, organizing your data into consumable insights. Click here to get started today!

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