Australia’s top schools are missing out on valuable enrolments because their websites have not kept pace with the online habits of prospective parents, a new report shows.
The report, released today by marketing and communications firm Imageseven, examined the websites of Australia’s top 100 non-government schools with a student population of over 1,000.
The aim of the research was to identify where schools performed well, where there was room for improvement, and what the overall prospective parent experience was.
Each website was graded to benchmark how they performed and found the average school website scored a D minus.
“Never before have schools faced such competition in the pursuit of enrolments; where one click is all it takes for your prospective parents to choose the next best alternative,” said Imageseven’s business director, Andrew Sculthorpe.
“We live in a world that demands instant gratification. Prospective parents want service and information ‘yesterday’, and if we can’t meet their needs immediately, they can choose to look elsewhere.”
The report also found that nearly half of all schools studied used websites that were not optimised for viewing on mobile devices despite browsing habits of parents and prospective parents at those same schools having changed rapidly.
Time spent viewing on mobile devices surpassed time viewing from desktop and laptop devices in early 2015.
Sculthorpe said advancement in technology had enabled a shift in power.
“Consumers call the shots, yet many schools continue to operate with a ‘build it and they will come’ attitude; and their website design reflects this,” he said, adding that most of Imageseven’s client engagements centred on building great communication and getting found online when prospective parents are looking.
“It’s worthless if prospective parents do find you, but then leave your site because they can’t read it easily on their device,” he said.
The aggregate results of the research are available to download here.