Higher education institutes face just as many challenges as businesses do when implementing digital experiences. Whether it's the institute's website, an intranet, a Student Portal or some other important channel, figuring out the right experiences and the best tools can be hard to do.
Over the past year, we've offered up some guidance and advice on how to build better student experiences (among others). Here are some of the most popular for the year.
Why Every College and University Needs a Modern Student Portal
This blog is not from 2018, but it's one of the top blogs posts read this year for education institutions, and for a good reason. As higher education institutions, like colleges and universities, work to provide student experiences that keep students engaged and on top of their work, student portals have proven to be one of the best approaches.
"Whether you are enrolling a new student or supporting a current student, a portal is a cornerstone technology for delivering the content, applications, and services needed to be successful."
If you're not sure a student portal is right for you, check out this post. It's just one of many resources we've created on student portals.
Should You Personalize Higher Education Websites?
Personalization is no longer only for business and consumer websites. It’s a primary way to deliver the right information to students, parents and prospective students to ensure they are getting the information they need.
“As you get more comfortable and understand audience expectation's better – not only students but parents, alumni and other website visitors – you can start thinking about additional ways to personalize the website experience.
A good example here is personalizing the website for returning students. If you already know who the student is, you can show relevant courses and other content on the homepage, in addition to “quick access” links to important information, like registration forms.”
2018 Digital Priorities Report: Higher Education Perspective
Our first digital priorities survey for Higher Education revealed plenty of great insights. We found there were a range of projects institutions were planning for 2018 including implementing a new Web CMS and student portal. It appears that a dual focus is necessary for success: the website, where you engage with prospective students and their families and the portal or intranet, where you provide access to all the tools and information required for a successful student year. The report covered a range of topics, all important for institutions and businesses alike.
“In the past, you could rely on spending the bulk of your time working on one or two things each year that would improve your student experience, but that's no longer the case today. Instead, institutions are facing the need to improve or implement on many different digital tactics to improve experiences. To make matters harder, it's not just the public website they are dealing with; it's also internal digital experiences like the student portal.”
Insights on Web Marketing Analytics in Higher Education
One of the questions we asked in our Digital Priorities Survey looked at the importance of marketing analytics. Over 70% of .EDU respondents said they were thinking of implementing/improving their analytics capabilities, demonstrating the importance of understanding your audience intimately.
“Consider that when you start to design your web experience, you usually define a set of personas and build the experience around them (e.g., prospective student, student, alumni, parents, etc.). You may have made assumptions based on what you think those personas are looking for or what they might want to do. Analytics will help you understand if that thinking was correct, or if you need to adjust the experience.”
Is Your Website Accessible?
“Disabilities affecting website interactions range from color blindness, which affects a broad cross-section of the population, to age-related sight, hearing and mobility impairments, to more severe and permanent disabilities. The bottom line is that a large portion of your web audience is affected by disabilities that impact their ability to interact with your organization on the web successfully. Addressing their needs makes good business sense.”
It not only makes good business sense, but in today’s digital world, it’s mandatory for most higher education institutions.
Can Search Make Your Higher Education Website Better?
What is the search experience like for your website? Not so great? Could be better? Can search improve your website? We asked higher education web professionals their thoughts and then provided some ways they could leverage search to improve the student experience.
“Say that you have a great Biology program that includes regular trips to an aquarium where students get to participate in work activities. On the college intranet, there is a biology group that talks about these trips and the things they are learning first-hand. This kind of information can help a prospective student decide to attend the college. Using federated search, you can connect to the intranet repository, specifying to include certain content in the public website search.”
Deane Barker Shares Insights on Personalization and WCM Project Pitfalls
Deane Barker is the founder and Chief Strategist at Blend Interactive, a system integrator who helps organizations deal with complex web and content challenges. We had the opportunity to chat with Deane to get his insights on the changing web content management landscape and some of the biggest pitfalls in Web CMS projects. Read all this insights and advice – they apply to anyone doing business on the web today.
“Let's end with a couple of CMS project pitfalls according to Barker (and we tend to agree):
- The worst thing is a lack of staffing on the client side. Too often they don't understand the work that goes into a CMS project.
- Migration is a big challenge. No one thinks about getting content into the new CMS. “
What is a Hybrid CMS?
You’ve probably heard the term “hybrid CMS” but do you really understand what it means? It’s CMS that provides multiple approaches to delivering content, and it may be just what you need to manage all your content requirements.
“With a hybrid CMS, your organization can create and manage all your content in one place and deliver it to different channels - the website, a native mobile application, a business application, or somewhere else. It gives you flexibility in how you deliver content while keeping the management of that content under one roof.”
6 Best Practices for a Content Marketing Audit Strategy
In this blog, we offer six best practices you can follow to perform a content marketing audit and strategy. Whether you are building a new website or implementing a new CMS and migrating your current website over, you need a content marketing plan.
“The first and most important part of a content marketing audit and plan is to understand its purpose. Without a clear understanding of its purpose, you won't know what content to focus your efforts on.”
3 Ways AI Will Revolutionize Digital Experiences
Do you think a chatbot will improve engagement on your website? It may very well if it’s implemented right. AI – artificial intelligence can make a chatbot strategy work perfectly. But that’s not the only way AI will change the digital experience.
“If we didn’t have AI, we could still do much of the things we’ve talked about. The challenge is that things are moving faster than ever, and organizations need a way to speed up how they work effectively.
By taking advantage of all the benefits of AI, organizations can focus the bulk of their efforts on meaningful work like journey analysis and development, content creation and designing great digital experiences.”
We hope you found these articles useful and look forward to sharing additional insights and guidance in the coming year. For now, check outand – there's plenty of great information to help you with your digital experience strategies.
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