Case Study: UniversityParent.com
We're going to get a website I do a little critique just something I do a lot but what's what's most important before we get started okay we're getting backed like four hour work week days d l define who we need to know exactly definition what is it that we're trying to accomplish or want to college so what would you like to get out of this? And this is uh this is a friendly too friendly environment since this is not not anything uh doesn't need to be super intense but we're going to look your sight so what would you and try to provide some useful feedback lissy uh what would you like to get out of this? I mean, maybe you can tell us just a little bit about the business so a little bit about business it's called university parent and what I'm trying to be is the number one destination for parents of college students to find everything they need to help their student be successful so it's everything from identifying on campus resource is like you know, the tutoring center or what classe...
s they should take or how to help your student discover a major career path to connecting with off campus resource is like student housing moving and storage facilities when they go study abroad um and you know hotels banks in the area just really giving them an overall orientation teo the campus and the community and I actually got into this business when I was a student at the university of colorado in boulder, where stars brad out of that stuff. It's um and as a student, I just realised there was this huge gap in information the college was providing the parents, but parents are a big part of the students educational experience and in many times funding that experience, so they have, you know, they're spending more money than they've spent, maybe even on their house, on their students, college education. And yet right now fifty percent of graduates can't find a job so it's major, major gap and but I feel like it's a really fixable problem if parents are involved in the right way, and so I did the very first product my senior year, I walked around boulder, knocking on doors, got advertisers, I got twelve advertisers to pay me before I even had a product and have her up here teaching healthy, but you know, when philip was talking earlier, I feel like, you know, we're kind of scratching the surface of some of the things he's talking about with a commerce and advertising model and also we have very authentic, emotionally sensitive content, right? So it's not just content that's fascinating, because it's, the latest and greatest but it's continent, can really make an impact on your child's life right? I mean how much more emotional can yet sure so it's an incredibly captive audience and if a parent like you know, most people say well, doesn't this exist already on the school site and the answer is no like if you if we pull up a university site and we compare them side by side you know the university site is just this vast black hole and they're trying to appeal to all of these different audiences they don't optimize their site for search it's rarely updated you know so many things are out of date and also the terminology is really different so like if you're a parent and let's say you want to go to graduation and you google you know, pretty university graduation well probably nothing will come up because the school calls it commencement right? So we're trying to really hey mister, are you chewing your food? Although masticated my food uh great well let's let's take a look so in terms of layout, what is the most valuable? What is the most valuable single click to you as a business on this page is it connected their school? Yes can't with your school because what I want them to do is go pick out a school okay, all right and this is on a pretty large monitor all right then the what are the most frequently visited pages on this website esso in terms of the hottest pages currently on this site, whatever the hottest pages are dates an event it's good and information around financial aid ok, so what is your most popular landing page? And this is probably all available through google, google analytics what's your most popular landing pages, like from from seo, google, etcetera. Yes, the most popular ones are things that have, like the activate calendar for the school where it lays out all the dates that a parent might need to know. Also, football schedules, basketball schedules are really popular. Uh, how much of your traffic lands in this home page would you say about twenty percent? Twenty percent? Okay, so we're optimizing a page just from the outside we're optimizing and page that is receiving twenty percent of traffic, so we may we may we may or may not actually be putting in the time where we should put in, but looking at this site, if you're if you're too most frequently visited pages are financially and scheduling, is that right? So I would certainly consider having those in the navigation bar that we have here. All right? Uh, the, uh the other point I would make is that typically with site, uh, there there few problems that I see with with service businesses that are based on line one is that they describe features as opposed to benefits often times so if we look at the conference of resource for parents of college students inside you'll find out that dot which is great however I think that the way that you should approach in some cases a website and this is something you could split test right so you could use you could use a resource like unbalanced dot com or one of these t test a and b and c versions of a landing page without any technical experience to see which converts the best but before you provide a solution sometimes it's important to emphasize the problem right so and you could do that by with a question like in a tired of searching through university websites and finding nothing you know but the solution I'm making that up off the cuff but identifying at the I know we have very limited amount of time so this point if you think so daily burn was what was a site that company that advice and they're required by I see one of the most important things that they did that improved their conversion they used google website optimizer to test this which you can use but you'll notice you have a couple of colors here right she have blue red those are the dominant color's white black of course what they did is they took that button that you currently have the bottom right and they moved it right here to the middle of the page so they moved it up so it was certainly above the fold so to speak even on a smaller monitor and they change the color so it was not one of the dominant color schemes so it didn't blend in and I believe that improve their conversion conversion meaning the percentage of people who actually took that most valuable one click which we have identified us connected your school improved it like twenty four percent and it took them an afternoon tio so don't you needn't didn't need to change any content on eight pages you just need to change the location and the color of the button and what's funny is it looked almost identical to that button like the shading and everything but I believe it was an orange orange and green they test a few different options uh the uh you know we're going to take a look at here let's just actually watches mushroom going audio how much time do we have time jack I knew it yeah a minute alright great so let's take a look at this we may not have audio is there audio none not oh great perfect well that makes it easier all right so you take a look at this because uh videos can be very very effective it's running a little slow that's ok that's ok so I'll ask a last questions as we go so understanding that you kind of have tio you know obviously play that the chicken and the egg thing number one state site for parents is that is that based on numbers or is that just a positioning more of position no it's true it's she like if you google anything around college parents were typically number one okay and in terms of like direct competition are on ly competition really is the college there's not another site that we're competing directly against got it so looking at this I would say that predominantly you have screenshots for this what I would consider highly consider doing is actually scrapping this video if you wanted to do a more personalized video where you actually have a user like a number of parents for instance with testimonials effectively like I tried to do this I couldn't then I came here and ex thinking it could be very effective and a moto just from a branding standpoint not bad but if you're going to do this you might consider customizing it using something so you don't have someone else's website that is linka bull from that trailer video but so number one if you have the number one uh highest ranked let's say write which is true on google that's the case uh website for parents like boom that should be top right okay top top right or some way here so that you established credibility first and foremost all right and then in terms of the benefits you know, if you had like the problem the solution or if you had like uh thie specific line items that you have proven teo to drive the most traffic I would put those on the top right and not bury them down on the bottom left so very short sweet I know I know a little bit at a time we will be well and we'll have plenty of time I'm not going to like kiss and run with all this stuff so to be continued but right off the bat I would say changing the color of the button and the location of the button as well as replacing that video with with actual index herbal index herbal text I google searchable text that is right here where that that current location is would be what I was coming off the bat okay how's business doing it's it's going great yeah, we grow every year we're always acquiring new schools and it's going really well cool well fantastic. All right, we'll leave it at that we can certainly talk about it more later. Okay, thank you. Thank you. You wonderful, thank you thank you for for sharing and letting us, you know, have him talk to you about it I'm sure that's not easy for everyone and very difficult to touch but uh one last thing I would say, is that for people who want this type of experience, you don't need an expert. And in fact, one of the most valuable things you khun d'oh is have people who don't know a damn thing about your website. Try to fullfill given task so let's, just say your task is connect with your school, find a location, book a hotel for commencement, right? If you wanted them to let's, say that's, a valuable action use something uses service you could use. I think user voice might be one of them might be mixing that up. Taskrabbit certainly could use craigslist to get let's, say, ten, even like five to ten users to perform that task and to capture what they do. Using something like screen, she would actually have them with no instruction. Go through the process of fulfilling your most valuable action and see where they screw up. Have them voice their frustration and men that's worth months of guesswork and hopeful, wishful thinking.