For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working on a project for a client that requires me to visit graduate school websites and find basic information on their MBA programs – what makes them different, what their focus is, and how the program is structured.
So far, I’ve been to nearly a hundred sites, and I’ve see the good, the bad, and the truly ugly when it comes to finding the information I need. Most schools are just OK – I can hit two or three pages and get everything pretty quickly. Some schools are fabulous – all of the information is on one page, neatly summarized in two, maybe three, paragraphs.
Then there are the handful of websites that are so devoid of information, I don’t know why anyone would want to attend the school. I left one site not knowing whether their MBA program was part-time or full-time or how long it would take to complete the program.
This is my long way of saying that not only does Google now think I am interested in getting an MBA, but more importantly, no one will search for a needle in a haystack. If people can’t find what they’re looking for, they are out of there and on to the next site that was pulled up in search results.
Here’s a checklist to make sure your website content is easily findable and offers a great user experience:
1. Provide an overview
Always provide an overview of what you offer, how it’s different, and how it benefits your customers front on center on your home page. Don’t make your audience go searching for this valuable information, because they probably won’t even bother.
2. Say it differently
Avoid hackneyed phrases that are so ubiquitous, they have become devoid of meaning. If I have to read one more time how an MBA program provides its students with “the experience needed to succeed in today’s ever-changing global economy,” I’m going to strangle the Internet.
3. Don’t try to say everything at once
A lot of MBA programs are so excited about what they offer that they want to shove as many details as they can onto their program’s landing page. Keep details – about your differentiators, products, services, team, news – on separate pages that are clearly labeled.
4. Summarize details
Write a brief summary for each “detail” page before actually jumping into the details. As I mentioned earlier, one thing I look for is program structure – how many credit hours, how many credit hours of core courses versus electives, etc. – and a lot of schools just throw this into a chart with zero explanation.
5. Don’t repeat yourself
Less is more when it comes to content but graduate programs didn’t get that memo yet. Maybe they are just super excitable in general, but a lot of them can’t help but repeat how great their MBA program is page after page after page. Get to the point and move on instead of tooting your horn. Eventually, that horn will break.
What other tips can you add to ensure website content is easily findable?
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Image courtesy of greenbookblog.com