Website designs are increasingly picking up the less is more principles evangelized by CMI’s Joe Pulizzi.

There’s enough content on the web now that you can get lost if there isn’t a clear communication strategy on your website. Adding key words doesn’t draw a potential student to enrol as much as a well-written course description or details of the next classes.

Less is more means reducing the content to specific, targeted groups and ensuring these are all managed as part of your overall marketing and communication strategy. Less is more focused on the content that is relevant and purposeful to the user, or reinforces your brand.

Copy gets you into search results

Google and other search engines will use the copy to decide if the page matching what the user was searhcing for, and they will draw on the copy for the ‘description’ users will see in after the link in the Search results.

Good copy will give them more work with, and increase the chances that you get a click through from the search results to your website. Great copy will turn a click through into an enrolment.

Well thought-out, considered copy do more to build up your SEO and improve in page rankings thank any technical tricks, and, more importantly, once a potential studnet is on the course page, the copy, its usefulness and relevance to the them, and the value proposition it presents, will be your best source chance to convince a potential student to become your student.

Copy takes page views and turn them into enrolments

The course pages and home pages are where most of your SEO value with be built. Your course descriptions ar the most viewed content on your website, and your direct between your website and your enrolments.

First and foremost, you should add at least several paragraphs of good copy to the in the Marketing Tab of the course. We’ve done a How-To of this in How to create a Course Description.

Your course description is the place where you take you a potential student through the product and show them why they should be signing up with you. You’ve done the hard work of marketing, now the copy needs to convert the potential into acutal.

Great speech bubble, how can you put this into practice?

There are some excellent blog post about about improving your content performance, and improving your website strategy.

It cannot be overstated how important clear, concise copy is to your website and its communication and marketing strategy.

Specific words in a considered layout will have much greater impact than blocks or ‘Walls’ of text.

The good news is there’s a lot you can do with clever strategy and internal staff knowledge, so you can have a big impact with a relatively small outlay. Below is a few places to add/update your copy in onCourse, or section it so that it’s more target to a particuarl group.

onCourse lets you create links between courses and products that will appear on the course page and the course search.

We recommend you take advantage of this feature as much as possible as it will broaden the users search options and provide a better SEO rating.

Related courses can also be used in communication strategy or direct marketing. For example, when you send the email with the completion certificate, you can include a paragraph in the template that that selected related course for further enrolment.

example 1 - Language course for a specific language that have level like Conversational, Introductory, Intermediate or Advanced can be related to each other.

If the user starts at French Conversational classes, they may read the description and decide they wanted something similar by more in depth. Linking the higher level course means they can see the what’s available and click through to what interest them. This is also good for directing students to the wait list feature.

You can overlap your tag groups and related courses. It just gives more options for the use to select. There’s no harm as it will just give more ways for users to be directed to enrolment.

Related courses are different to tags is that tags tend to be a category of things, where as related course / products will be linked together. I.e. a tag group may be ‘Conversational’ but the related course will be for Italian Conversational, Introductory, Intermediate or Advanced.

example 2 - You have a 10 week painting class that recommends that students have their own paints and brushes. You can create a product like ‘Water Painting Kit’ that students can purchase along with their class, and relate the product to the course so it appears with the course information.

Tutor Resumes

You can set up a tutor resume page in the Resume tab of the tutor contact. When you combine this with ‘display tutor on website’ optoin inthe class, this will link the tutor on the class to their resume, and from there users can click through to their other classes.

This can be a great way to encourages users to search for more classes based of the success they had with the tutor. Generally, it’s a good idea to include a biography and photo of the tutors. The biography usually talks about the tutors experience and training, and the photo is usually a headshot.

You can also add images and multimedia content to the tutor resume using the attachment features.

Thumbnail images

Thumbnail images are a great way to add visual ‘clues’ to your website navigation.

Studies suggest that people ‘scan’ a website, rather than read it word for word, and thumbnails can be a quick visual means to give the audience a clear idea of what they’re looking for and where they will find it ion your website.

You can take a a step further and add a visual language to the thumbnails by adding a ‘frame’ with a colour or short text that give further information on the course. This could be a colour around the image. You can also add thumbnails of your own design, with a solid colour and short text. Start with a strategy for what you want your users to be drawn to, and then collect the images together.

Canva has a logo template that makes it easy to put a thumbnail together, giving you a standard square and letting you add colours, borders and text.

Adding them to the course as easy as uploading the images to the course with the correct name, and you can update them just as easily.

Tag Descriptions Content

This is a great way to give your potential students more content in a way that is relevant to the searches they are making. You can also use them in direct navigation links, or as part of the faceted search.

Tags can contain rich text descriptions, including images and video or other HTML content, which will display on your website at the top of the course list results for that tag.

More articles on improving your onCourse website Zero Dollar Website Makeover

Bibliography and references