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Improve Your Site in 5 Minutes

Happy New Year, Cascaders!

Celebrate the start of 2024 by spending just a few minutes to improve your site. Inspired by a Best of Conference-winning presentation from HighEdWeb 2023, here are five ways you can improve any page in your site in just five minutes:

1. Headings (Like this one!)

Headings help users get from one section to the next. Do not use headings simply because you like how they look — they should be meaningful and accurately describe the content in the section. Proper heading usage is critical for your site's readability and accessibility.  

2. Readability

Pages filled by a "wall of text" can be hard for a user to digest. Applying structured headings, using bulleted/numbered lists and breaking up large paragraphs into smaller sections can help with readability. Additionally, remember that text on your website should be at about an eighth grade reading level. Online tools such as the Readability Test and Hemingway can be used to evaluate reading level.

3. CTA (Calls to Action)

Most pages should feature a call to action, or CTA. Links contained within CTAs should be descriptive with actionable terms like "Request Info" or "Apply," and avoid generic phrases like "Click Here." Content Buttons are great for CTAs. 

4. Findability

A user should be able to easily get to your page through visible site menus or cross-linking. Can they? Accurate and intuitive page titles and language can also contribute to web page findability. Don't let valuable pages on your site go unseen because they are difficult to find.

5. Brand Alignment

Think of this as the "vibe check" on your site. Is there anything you wouldn't want a prospective student or parent to come across? Are you using W&M's accepted word styles? Is the look and feel — voice, tone, colors, photography — consistent across your pages? Ask yourself these questions and adjust where needed.