Higher education has undergone significant transformations in recent years, with the pandemic permanently altering the collegiate experience. Virtual classes, limited in-person interactions, and other pandemic-related challenges have reshaped the way students engage with their education.

In this evolving landscape, higher education websites have emerged as vital tools for digitally engaging students. For instance, virtual tours have provided prospective students with an opportunity to explore campus life, even when in-person visits were not possible. Informative blog posts have kept alumni connected, while online giving options have allowed benefactors to continue supporting institutions.

To stay competitive in an increasingly tech-savvy environment, it is crucial to ensure that both digital marketing and web management keep pace with modern trends. Failure to do so could result in other institutions surpassing yours in online visibility.

To maintain a strong online presence, it is essential to implement effective website management practices, such as overseeing a content calendar, ensuring GDPR and accessibility compliance, optimizing search engine visibility, and keeping content up to date.

Here are some key higher education website best practices for effective management:

  1. Prioritize accessibility to ensure inclusivity.
  2. Make courses easily accessible and searchable for students.
  3. Embrace inclusive website design that caters to diverse audiences.
  4. Invest in high-quality and engaging content.
  5. Make real-time updates to keep the website current and relevant.
  6. Monitor website performance and make necessary improvements.
  7. Double down on privacy measures to protect user data.
  8. Choose a powerful content management system (CMS) to streamline website management.
  9. Establish a website governance policy to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Remember, your school website serves as the front door to your institution, especially for prospective students who cannot visit in person. By prioritizing ongoing and consistent website management, you can ensure the accuracy, accessibility, and relevance of your institution's digital presence.

1. Prioritize accessibility to ensure inclusivity

Making your website accessible should be a top priority, and it's an issue that isn't going away. In fact, as Universal Design Learning (UDL) practices gain more prominence, accessibility will become even more crucial.

UDL guidelines offer valuable insights into how humans learn, providing a framework for designing and presenting content that accommodates diverse learners, including those with accessibility challenges. These guidelines apply both online and offline, ensuring that everyone can access and engage in learning opportunities.

To stay ahead of the curve, it's essential to integrate accessibility considerations into your website management practices. By doing so, you not only ensure compliance but also prevent the possibility of receiving an OCR (Office for Civil Rights) letter.

Don't underestimate the significance of accessibility and its impact on inclusivity. Incorporating accessibility into your website management protocol is not only a best practice but also a proactive measure to provide equal access to information and services for all users.

2. Make courses easily accessible and searchable for students

When prospective students embark on their college search journey, they often start with a simple web search to find the best colleges or universities for their desired fields of study. They may have a general idea of what they're looking for but not a specific institution in mind. That's when they rely on your website to provide them with crucial information about courses, admission requirements, campus life, and more.

Ensuring that courses are easily accessible and searchable on your higher education website is essential to meet the needs of both current and prospective students. It should be a seamless experience that offers a user-friendly interface and efficient search functionality. A robust search feature should provide suggestions as users type and take into account potential typos to deliver relevant results.

Remember, the goal is to help users quickly find the information they are seeking. By prioritizing a comprehensive and user-centric search function, you can enhance the overall user experience and make it easier for prospective students to explore and discover the courses that align with their interests and aspirations.

3. Embrace inclusive website design that caters to diverse audiences

Embracing inclusive website design that caters to diverse audiences is essential for higher education institutions. As they leverage impactful visuals that authentically portray a range of students, these websites create a connection with prospective students by showcasing genuine moments and interactions on campus.

To ensure the visuals accurately represent the diverse school community, it is crucial for universities to choose a web development company that understands the importance of inclusivity and can effectively capture and reflect the unique identities and experiences of their students. By partnering with such a company, higher education institutions can create a welcoming online environment that resonates with prospective students and fosters a sense of belonging.

4. Invest in high-quality and engaging content

Neglecting the importance of updating and managing your website's content can have serious consequences. Simply adding new content without revising or removing outdated information leads to content bloat, which can become a significant headache when it comes time for a website redesign.

Moreover, outdated and unmanaged content negatively impacts site optimization. It contributes to a confusing navigation structure, contains broken links, and lacks up-to-date keyword optimization.

Most importantly, outdated content includes inaccurate dates and information, which can lead to serious issues. Consider the scenario where a prospective student stumbles upon outdated admissions landing pages and submits an application after the deadline. Similarly, imagine a well-intentioned donor struggling to find the correct address for making a donation. The last thing you want is to mislead your audience and create the impression that your college or university doesn't prioritize keeping its website readers informed and up to date.

To maintain credibility and ensure a positive user experience, it is crucial to regularly review and update your website's content. By removing outdated information, fixing broken links, and providing accurate and current details, you demonstrate your institution's commitment to staying relevant and caring for your website visitors' needs.

5. Make real-time updates to keep the website current and relevant

To ensure your website remains current and relevant, it is essential to implement real-time updates. Nowadays, university and college websites are incorporating various sources of recurring updates, ranging from breaking news to the latest research advancements.

By integrating elements such as social media feeds, blog post updates, and news articles, higher education websites exude a sense of freshness and relevance. These dynamic features showcase to visitors that your university is actively engaged with current events and staying abreast of the latest happenings.

By featuring news and current events on your website, you transform it into a valuable resource not only for your university community but also for a broader audience including alumni, faculty members, donors, researchers, and prospective students who seek to stay informed about your institution.

6. Monitor website performance and make necessary improvements

To maintain an optimal user experience and ensure the effectiveness of your website, it is crucial to continuously monitor its performance and make necessary improvements. Regularly assessing key metrics such as page load times, site responsiveness, and overall functionality allows you to identify any areas that may require attention. By monitoring performance, you can promptly address issues, optimize user engagement, and enhance the overall user experience.

7. Double down on privacy measures to protect user data

Implementing robust privacy measures is essential to establish trust with your website visitors and protect their sensitive information. By adhering to privacy regulations and best practices, such as data encryption, secure login protocols, and regular security audits, you demonstrate a commitment to ensuring the privacy and security of user data. Prioritizing privacy not only protects your users but also strengthens your institution's reputation.

8. Choose a powerful content management system (CMS) to streamline website management

Selecting the right content management system (CMS) is instrumental in streamlining website management processes. A powerful CMS provides a user-friendly interface, efficient content creation and editing tools, and seamless integration with other systems. It empowers your team to efficiently update and manage website content, ensuring timely and accurate information. With a robust CMS, you can streamline workflows, enhance collaboration, and maintain a cohesive and engaging online presence.

9. Establish a website governance policy to ensure consistency and accuracy

Maintaining consistency and accuracy across your website is essential for providing a seamless user experience and reinforcing your institution's web design branding. Establishing a website governance policy helps enforce guidelines and standards for content creation, design elements, and overall website management. It ensures that all website contributors adhere to established protocols, resulting in a cohesive and professional online presence. A well-defined governance policy promotes consistency, accuracy, and brand integrity throughout your website.


In conclusion, in an era of rapid digital transformation and evolving educational landscapes, higher education institutions must prioritize effective website management to stay competitive and engage with their target audience. By incorporating best practices such as prioritizing accessibility, ensuring easy access to courses, embracing inclusive website design, investing in high-quality content, making real-time updates, monitoring performance, prioritizing privacy, choosing a powerful CMS, and establishing a website governance policy, universities can maintain a strong online presence, provide a seamless user experience, and showcase their institution's value and relevance in the digital realm.