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Marketing & Recruitment, Research

5 Reasons Why a Responsive College Website Matters

responsive design conceptHaving a website that’s not responsive is like living in the Dark Ages, especially if you are a college or university. According to the 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report, half of today’s college-bound students preferred mobile when interacting with your institution. Eighty-three percent of seniors and juniors had a smartphone, while 41% of seniors and 47% of juniors reported doing all web browsing on a mobile device. In other words, if your site does not adapt to screen size, those students will leave rather than fiddle with trying to read content or make your forms work.

Being able to engage with students however they access your website is the primary reason for going responsive, but there are several other important issues that a responsive site addresses.

5 Reasons Why Your College or University Should Have a Responsive Website

  1. Responsiveness increases functionality. A basic design principle is form follows function. No matter how attractive your site may be, if it doesn’t work, it’s no good to anyone. A responsive site enhances the user experience and makes it easy for visitors to find and interact with the information provided.
  2. A responsive site makes Google happy. Google’s search engine algorithms examine your website for design elements such as text that can be read without zooming in or scrolling horizontally, and adequate space to tap for links. If your site doesn’t accommodate for mobile, you can expect a decline in your search engine rankings.
  3. A responsive website helps you keep the conversation going. Being able to read content on your site sparks an applicant’s interest and prompts them to want to learn more. Making it easy for a prospective student to complete a form or follow the navigation path helps move them from interested to applicant.
  4. Responsiveness improves your bounce rate. Bounce rate is related to how much time a visitor spends on your site. The longer, the better, because search engines use this measure of time as an indication of how fast and efficient your website provides visitors relevant information.
  5. A responsive site increases sharing. With a simple click, users should be able to share your website—and this is a really good thing since students respect the opinions of their peers. If it is difficult to share or you don’t even provide buttons for sharing, you’ve lost out on an important marketing element.

All digital content needs to be mobile responsive. However, keep in mind that even with the trend toward mobile, students prefer some content on larger laptop or desktop screens, especially when exploring detailed content like descriptions of major programs. The bottom line is to make sure your web pages and forms display well on all possible screen formats that students use.

2018 E-Expectations data: when do students prefer desktop/laptop over mobile?
Source: 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report

 

Learn more about how students are engaging with college and university websites by downloading the 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report.

Download report

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