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Higher Education

What Your College Website Imagery Says About You

Posted by Eric Sivertsen on Jan 30, 2018 8:46:26 AM

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Your college or university website is the front page of your marketing efforts. So the photos you place top of the fold and on key pages within are critically important. The imagery you select can say a lot about your college, whether intentional or not.

Here are a few of the things your university website imagery might be saying about you.

"We're Stuffy."

Picturesque views of your historic campus buildings are important to show off—if you have a history and a heritage as an institution, it can go a long way to amping up your prestige factor. But don't forget the human angle. If your website photography is riddled with brick buildings with no human subjects—or simply images of your staff or alumni—there's nothing for your end user to relate to when scanning your site. Make sure to employ photography of your students enjoying your campus—from the green to the classrooms to the residence halls.

"We're One-Note."

Too often, college and university marketers are tempted to make their website all about "walking and laughing" pictures, without a whole lot of variance. The last thing you want to say to your end user is that you only do one thing well. Vary up your setting and your subjects—make sure there's not too much sameness in your classroom- or activity-based photography. Your campus has more than one building, and more than one outdoor space. Consider variety the spice of life when it comes to your website.

"We Have Five Students."

A common problem that college or university marketers run into when putting together a photography session is gathering a small handful of students and milking those photos for an entire school year or more. Take the time to get together at least a dozen students to your annual marketing photography outing so you can vary up the groupings and pairs—as well as the settings—so your photos don't start to run together by year's end. You don't want a site visitor to assume that those same five students they keep seeing are your only enrollees!

"We're Not Unique."

Focusing on prestige and academic prowess can inadvertently make your imagery start to look like every other college website. To combat this, don't be afraid to showcase what makes you special. (This goes for your messaging, as well.) Visit five other competing universities' websites and compare your imagery—are they starting to look painfully similar? It's time to pinpoint your specialties. Do you have eye-catching sculptures on your campus green? Or how about a laboratory facility unlike any other in the region? Or maybe there's a kooky Homecoming tradition your campus loves? Show it—and talk about it—on your website.

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