5 Signs Your College or University Website Is a Dud

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Marketing & Recruitment, Research

5 Signs Your College or University Website Is a Dud

thumbs pointing downFabulous or frustrating? Here’s how to tell if your school’s website is underperforming.

There’s no need to hire a pricey consultant to tell you if your college or university website is performing. Just ask your students. According to the 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report, if your website is too hard to use, you lose—students’ interest, their time, your credibility, and their enrollment.

What frustrates prospective students about your institution’s website?

  1. Hard-to-use navigation. If your site is easy to access and use, students stay longer and conduct more in-depth searches.

  2. No search tool within your website. Even if you’ve spent hours organizing pages into a sensible chronology, there will still be pages that elude students. A search tool makes it easy to find sought-after pages.

  3. No website links. Students click. And click. And click. If you don’t have links to carry them where they want to go, they’ll become annoyed and move to another source for their information. In fact, compared to 2017 data, the use of website links in the 2018 data doubled from 20% for seniors and 22% for juniors. Links are also a great way to introduce them to places on your website that they didn’t know they wanted to visit.

  4. Too little information. A whopping 68% of seniors and 65% of juniors become frustrated when the information they want and need about a school can’t be found on the website. What do they do when this happens? They leave your site and go to another school’s site; 36% say they even remove the school from their list of options.

  5. Students are not your site’s audience. You have many stakeholders to address from your website, but prospective students should top the list. Tailor your message with navigation tabs or buttons on the home page that address specific audiences.
2018 E-Expectations: What makes for a frustrating college website
Source: 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report


If you find your school’s site has any of these issues, review your website’s analytics to figure out where the issues arise, then set small improvement goals based on your findings. To learn more about prospective students’ expectations of your website, download the 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report.

Download report

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