Tip Sheets

When Is It Time To Redesign

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800.443.9441 | solutions@blackbaud.com | www.blackbaud.com December 2018 1 TIP SHEET When is it time for a school website redesign? BY DAREN WORCESTER Sometimes, there are major technology shifts that make school website redesigns a necessity. Recent examples are when Apple® announced it was no longer supporting Flash® on iOS devices or when Google® fueled the responsive web design (RWD) movement by giving mobile-friendly websites preferential treatment in its search results. Most schools that launched websites in the last five years have already eliminated Flash and incorporated RWD, which begs the question: Without another high-priority technology pivot-point on the horizon, how do you know when it's time to redesign? We have your answers below. 1 Follow the five-year rule. The longstanding rule of thumb for redesigning school websites is to do so every five years. Why? Two things happen with the passage of time: First, website design trends change. An outdated design can give admission prospects the wrong kind of first impression because the website serves as an indicator of the school's overall tech knowledge. The second is the rapid change in website technology. While RWD is the newsworthy example, under-the-radar development in website coding and hosting components have a significant impact on overall performance. In short, old websites are slow. 2 The website isn't optimized for search performance. Keyword optimizing your website's title tags and meta descriptions is vital, but it's not going to affect search results if the home page loads too slowly. The ideal home page should be under four megabytes and load in less than two seconds. You can test your school's home page with a tool like Pingdom. There are many factors—from antiquated coding to full-browser videos— that can influence website performance, and redesigning is often the best solution. Bonus tip: While you're redesigning, include an "About" section on the home page for a paragraph of text that's filled with the school's core search keywords.

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