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 prime American college web sites and discover a clear winner. Instead, we found 5 major themes round which essentially the most profitable colleges centered their web site advertising efforts. In the brand new model of the report we did for 2019, we continued with our similar methodology and located lots of the colleges made big 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 numerous, 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, primarily based on undergraduate enrollment dimension, with a view to see how the biggest colleges represented themselves by way of their major on-line presence. We continued on our established 100-point scoring system and analyzed every faculty’s web site to discover the results of each quantitative and qualitative components.
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 schools have been reranked primarily based on these quantitative scores, we subsequent selected the highest colleges and evaluated every primarily based 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 worth of zero, 6 or 12 factors, for a 60-point most.
Best University Webites: The Top three
For 2019, prime 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 an inventory of prime U.S. college web sites primarily based on typical net KPIs (key efficiency indicators). However, as usually 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 major 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, comparable to “Admissions & Aid,” “Academics,” “Research,” “Alumni” and “Athletics.” These normal phrases have constant which means and allow customers to determine rapidly the popular place to begin into the location.
#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 info 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 gadgets, many had design or content material points that downgraded efficiency and common usability.
Mobile web site customers want info quick, with out extraneous fluff or pointless ranges of complication. This implies that you will need to consider present web site content material and resolve what’s most necessary to their roving viewers.
Mobile web site customers want info quick, with out extraneous fluff or pointless ranges of complication. #mobileux Click To Tweet
three. Establish a Relationship
During our analysis, we observed an attention-grabbing development: a lot of faculties focus a lot of their web site homepages on newest information and upcoming occasions. This isn’t essentially a nasty content material selection. It’s comprehensible college needs to showcase thrilling updates.
Our major concern with this method is that new guests are introduced with content material that largely caters to people—comparable to present college students and school—which might be 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 regionally study 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 larger training is among the greatest—and most daunting—investments a person or household will make in a lifetime. Numerous concerns go into deciding on a college. For some college students, attending a sure school means carrying on a parental legacy. Other college students are drawn to particular colleges for their distinctive alternatives in specialised fields of research. 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 larger academic institutes don’t do properly at differentiating what’s distinctive about their faculty. Design format, imagery, and content material tends which might be 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 clients. Universities could name their them “students,” “alumni,” and “donors,” however the finish aim is similar: 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 concentrate on their most worthwhile actions.
To maximize outcomes, a enterprise should concentrate on 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 numerous, 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.