6 practical suggestions for structuring the home page of a school website

Think of the home page as the beginning of many paths. These are virtual routes mapped out within the site to encourage and guide the user’s navigation in order to provide the best possible experience. Whether it’s to give more and more in-depth information (information goal), or to get the prospect to subscribe (promotion/conversion goal), some of the paths you create must have a clear, possibly measurable end goal.

The main menu

The main menu is already a set of paths in itself, as it is the result of a selection, division and hierarchy of content. Placing one menu item before or after another affects the path you specify. Since the “Home” and “Contacts” items are conventionally located at the end of the main menu items. The positioning of everything in between must be the result of precise reasoning and choices.

The same applies if by chance your site has a secondary menu, perhaps related to a specific subject such as courses, or to a specific target of users such as your students already registered.

The home page

The homepage (HP) deserves a separate discussion, since it is the front page of your site, it is the most important of all, especially since mobile traffic has surpassed desktop traffic.

If you think about how you navigate from a cell phone, you rarely open the mobile menu (usually represented by 3 lines in the top corner) but instead scroll down the page with your fingers and click on an item of interest on the page. Thus, the home page replaces the main menu as the path to the various resources on the site.

This means you need to think about which paths are most important to highlight first at the top of HP. Which ones will be the most viewed and clicked on, and so on, creating a logical whole that can fit both full page as on the computer screen and inline, one element under the other as on a smartphone screen.

The slider

Another thought regarding the mobile/desktop ratio concerns the heavily used sliders, i.e. the components in which very large images scroll just below the main menu. These sliders all occupy the first scroll of the page (above the folder) and thus are the content that all HP users necessarily see while at the bottom of the page comes a percentage of users about 35% down (depending on the length of the page, the type of structure and content, the users it addresses).

Sliders are usually inserted into the structure of a site a little for fashion (“everyone uses it”), mostly for aesthetics and partly to communicate through texts and calls to action. When structuring your HP think carefully about the usefulness of these sliders, they take up a lot of space. On the move you can’t see them well (especially if they contain text), few users will scroll through all the slides you’ve inserted, and, as said above, they take up the whole first part of the page, forcing the user to scroll down once or twice to reach the content they’re interested in.

On the other hand, the sliders have a dynamic function and are an element that allows you to easily modify your content by varying the messages according to the time of the year (during registration campaigns, during exams, at the beginning of the school year, etc.) to make your communication more flexible and more targeted.

6 practical tips that can help you

A slider can also be placed in another part of HP and not necessarily in the first place.

This brings you to the 6 practical tips that can help you concretely develop your homepage:

To better develop your HP, use the content map and main menu to determine what content to add and what hierarchy
Put the most important content at the top (e.g. study paths)
Divide the content into sections that speak to consistent themes
Count the number of clicks a user has to make to reach a certain content
Use images, graphics, videos, but remember that in HP, text is very important for both the user and Google (indexing)
Insert calls to action

The registration process as a path

Student enrollment is obviously one of the main objectives of any educational institution, so the enrollment process should have its own, well-defined space within your website.

It is suggested that you structure at least one registration path. Better if there are several: insert a main menu item, provide a prominent space in HP and make a reference to registration in the most important internal pages (e.g. those related to study paths).

The user will tend not to follow a linear path to registration, they may see several pages, they will go back and forth and at some point in their journey they will look for information on how to register, payments, forms, etc., so you need to give them better access to this information.

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