Remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books from the 1980s? The ones that allowed you to make decisions that influence the story’s outcome?
I loved those books. (I even used the theme to write a blog post about the adventure of content marketing.) But did you ever try to read those books straight through? Without following the different pathways the author set?
If you did, you quickly realized that the books are not meant to be explored cover-to-cover — in order to experience the story, you needed to follow your own unique path; the path that was most interesting to YOU.
And that’s how websites work these days.
Visitors don’t simply land on your home page and begin exploring your site page by page, section by section. Instead, they enter on a page that is most relevant to the information they’re seeking — perhaps led there from a Google search or a third-party link — and they explore the pages that they find most interesting.
Since every page on a website can be the first page someone sees (or the second, or the third…) it’s critical that each page best represents your school and tells your school story.
So how can you ensure that your visitor will get the FULL picture of your school, regardless of the paths they choose to explore?
Yes, it’s OK to be a little repetitive with your content. While you don’t want to copy and paste language word-for-word, it’s good to reintroduce important key messages throughout your site.
Reinforcing your school’s positioning statement, your brand attributes, your values and beliefs, and your differentiating characteristics across your site’s various sections is a way to ensure any rogue website explorers won’t miss the good stuff.
You know what I hated about reading the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? When I would select a story path that led to a page emblazoned with the words THE END. (I’d always cheat and backpedal to make a different choice.)
Never, never lead your website visitors down a dead end. If you want them to continue to explore, you have to show them where to go. Give them options. Include call outs with imagery and words that entice visitors to click through to learn about a related topic. Show them similar articles at the bottom of each blog post (like we do here!). Because if you don’t tell your visitors what to do next, they won’t do anything.
Video is a fantastic way to bring your brand story to life — and include that story throughout your website.
By creating a compelling video that truly demonstrates what your school is about, and what your school environment is actually like, you’ll capture the attention of the scanners and clickers who are less interested in words.
For those visitors who AREN’T petrified of reading — the ones who WANT to explore more of what you do — make sure you provide layers of content. This means not only having your standard web pages written with flawless and expert language that stands the test of time, but also providing new content that shows your school story’s progression.