If your school or university’s website is more than a couple years old, it could be woefully outdated—an inevitable consequence of advances in technology, education trends, and the way people gather information.
Here are a couple reasons why this is something any school or university should be concerned about and how Drupal can help:
1) Mobile & Responsive Design
Responsive design—meaning a website or app engineered to automatically adjust layout to look good and function easily on multiple devices like smartphones, tablets, and desktop/laptop computers—are now commonplace, and make websites without this feature look painfully outdated. Responsive design and mobile optimization are no longer cutting-edge, they are the reality; usage of mobile devices is skyrocketing, which means mobile internet searches are too. So if your school website hasn’t been designed to meet this trend, you could be discouraging potential students, frustrating potential parents, and not giving enrolled students the basic tools to achieve. Good schools update their curriculum regularly to stay current—and they should update their web presence too.
While mobile optimization is a regular feature across content management systems, an open-source solution like Drupal will provide you with the flexibility to continue updating your site’s design as advances in mobile and responsive design occur—rather than as a delayed response to their arrival.
When someone types “Best College Engineering Programs” or something similar into a search engine, the schools that rank highly on the list of search results are those that Google (or Yahoo, or Bing) deems the most relevant. The algorithm that determines this ranking is complex, but one important factor is regular, fresh content.
Having a website that is consistently updated with fresh content is important 1) because your website should be a vital resource for students and administrators alike and 2) it will improve your school’s standing in the search engine hierarchy by giving Google more opportunities to encounter your school’s webpage. As stated before, this will raise your school’s profile and help boost enrollment, and be a valuable platform through which professors, teachers, and students can display their work—but this can only occur if your site is optimized so that users can easily upload and update content.
And in order for that to happen, a school or university needs a powerful, well-designed, and customizable CMS that can be easily administrated by school staff—and you’re not going to get that from an outdated website or primitive blog. And just like with mobile optimization, a Drupal-built CMS will be ideal for creating a visually-pleasing, easy to use, and SEO-optimized content delivery solution.
And that is especially relevant considering the next point…
In the past, universities benefited extensively from word of mouth to build their reputations in communities. But today people have the internet and advanced search engines that bring them exactly what they need. Instead of gossiping around the water-cooler at work, people turn to social media; instead of paying for expensive out-of-pocket trips to visit a prospective university, or attending college fairs and picking up brochures, people visit school websites. And as younger generations that’ve grown up with the Internet and mobile devices reach college-age, and later parenthood, having a functional, visually-pleasing website with the requisite information is a crucial tool for making a good first impression on both prospective students and parents, which can lead to a better reputation and increased enrollment. Only a decade ago this wasn’t the case—but now it is, and as mobile devices and people’s web-habits evolve, excuses for not having an updated web presence are evaporating.
Today, the quality of a school’s website should mirror the quality of the education it offers; it should be a dynamic resource that enhances the school’s ability to produce well-rounded individuals prepared to thrive in a technologically advanced and evolving world. And if your school or university’s website is primitive or outdated it can’t do that.
An open source CMS built on Drupal is something schools and universities should seriously consider—it’s known for building elegant but powerful websites based upon an open source system that embodies the very ideals of creativity and open-mindedness that educators strive to impart amongst their students. Updating your schools website to a open source CMS like Drupal makes perfect sense.
So, if you have even the slightest concerns that your school’s website might not be fulfilling your institution’s needs, you should talk to a web development expert from Vardot—and see what cutting-edge solutions can be created specifically for you.