It’s that point of yr once more — time to launch our rankings for the highest 25 finest college web sites within the United States.
In the inaugural model of our report report (2018), we anticipated to rank high American college web sites and discover a clear winner. Instead, we found 5 main themes round which essentially the most profitable faculties centered their web site advertising efforts. In the brand new model of the report we did for 2019, we continued with our identical methodology and located most of the faculties made enormous enhancements to their web sites. Congrats!
These themes are necessary as a result of the learnings we share on this analysis transcend the higher-education vertical. Any massive group accountable for speaking with various, sizable audiences can study from our outcomes and apply them for improved viewers attain.
Best University Websites for 2019: How We Identified Them
For this report, we reviewed the highest 50 universities within the United States, based mostly on undergraduate enrollment measurement, to be able to see how the biggest faculties represented themselves by way of their main on-line presence. We continued on our established 100-point scoring system and analyzed every college’s web site to discover the results of each quantitative and qualitative elements.
Quantitative Score: Using instruments from Google, SEMRush, BuzzSumo, and Pingdom, we examined for 4 parameters—Mobile Site Friendliness, Number of Backlinks, Number of Social Shares of Website Content, and Homepage Load Time—and assigned every school a most of 40 factors.
Qualitative Score: Once the colleges have been reranked based mostly on these quantitative scores, we subsequent selected the highest faculties and evaluated every based mostly on 5 qualitative options: Clarity of Brand/Identify, Ease of Use for Parents, Ease of Use for Alumni and Donors, Ease of Use for Students, and Ease of Use for Faculty and Staff. Each measurement was assigned a price of zero, 6 or 12 factors, for a 60-point most.
Best University Webites: The Top three
For 2019, high honors are shared in a tie between University of California Berkeley (final yr’s #1 ranked) and University of Texas at Austin, every receiving the very best whole grade of 95 out a potential 100 factors. University of Florida ranks third with 88 factors.
Download the complete report
Top 5 Factors for University Website Success
Our preliminary aim for this report was to share a listing of high U.S. college web sites based mostly on typical internet KPIs (key efficiency indicators). However, as typically occurs in the course of the course of analysis, conclusions are obvious that have been broader
in scope than black and white numbers.
Below are the 5 main themes we found round profitable college web site advertising.
1. Navigate Without Mystery
Visitors ought to by no means should guess at what a navigation label means. The universities who did the perfect job used very clear and easy phrases of their navigation, equivalent to “Admissions & Aid,” “Academics,” “Research,” “Alumni” and “Athletics.” These commonplace phrases have constant which means and allow customers to establish shortly the popular start line into the positioning.
#ProTip: Visitors ought to by no means should guess at what a navigation label means. #UX Click To Tweet
2. Maximize the Mobile Experience
Today, web site guests are digital natives anticipating data wherever they go. This paradigm shift necessitates a mobile-first method to design. While all college web sites we evaluated for this report have been viewable on cell units, many had design or content material points that downgraded efficiency and common usability.
Mobile web site customers want data quick, with out extraneous fluff or pointless ranges of complication. This implies that it’s essential to consider current web site content material and determine what’s most necessary to their roving viewers.
Mobile web site customers want data quick, with out extraneous fluff or pointless ranges of complication. #mobileux Click To Tweet
three. Establish a Relationship
During our analysis, we seen an attention-grabbing development: numerous schools focus a lot of their web site homepages on newest information and upcoming occasions. This isn’t essentially a foul content material selection. It’s comprehensible college desires to showcase thrilling updates.
Our main concern with this method is that new guests are offered with content material that largely caters to people—equivalent to present college students and school—which are already vested in campus actions. In addition, even on-location customers won’t discover information and occasions of explicit worth, given their broader alternatives to domestically find out about these with out visiting their school’s web site.
The resolution is to consider your web site guests as an ongoing relationship, not a one-time date.
four. Define Your Unique Selling Proposition
There’s no denying that enrolling in increased training is without doubt one of the greatest—and most daunting—investments a person or household will make in a lifetime. Numerous concerns go into choosing a college. For some college students, attending a sure school means carrying on a parental legacy. Other college students are drawn to particular faculties for their distinctive alternatives in specialised fields of examine. And for many people, the choice is based on fiscal drivers within the type of residency, scholarships, or tuition help.
Our analysis concludes that the majority increased academic institutes don’t do nicely at differentiating what’s distinctive about their college. Design structure, imagery, and content material tends which are pretty bland don’t assist the varsity standout towards the competitors.
5. Enable the Action
Higher training establishments are a enterprise that, like each firm, makes cash from acquiring and retaining prospects. Universities could name their them “students,” “alumni,” and “donors,” however the finish aim is identical: income.
Most entrepreneurs are conscious of the Pareto precept, extra generally known as the 80/20 rule. Roughly talking, this credo predicts that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of exercise. Therefore, to maximise outcomes, a enterprise ought to deal with their most worthwhile actions.
To maximize outcomes, a enterprise should deal with essentially the most worthwhile actions. Follow the #ParetoPrecept (aka 80/20 Rule). Click To Tweet
Put Best Practices To Work
The finest web site practices we found are necessary as a result of the learnings we share on this paper transcend the upper training vertical. Any massive group accountable for speaking with various, sizeable audiences can study from our outcomes and apply them for improved viewers attain.
Download The 2019 Best Websites Among America’s Top Universities for extra insights.