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Tips on Maintaining and Updating Your School’s Website

How to Access Potential Students through Online Social Networking Websites like Facebook

How to Point Your Students to Careers and Internships in the Public Sector 

Go Public! Link to the Newly Created Student Web Page to Help Your Outreach Efforts 


Tips on Maintaining and Updating Your School’s Website

Prospective students, parents, current students, alumni, and others are increasingly making use of school websites to learn more about graduate degrees and the schools that offer them.  It is critical that your school maintains an informative, user-friendly, and exciting website that helps to depict the value of pursuing MPA/MPP degrees.  The following checklist is a basic framework we have created to ensure that your school’s website is able to successfully meet the needs of visitors, current students, and alumni.   

 

  • Keep your site clean and organized.
    Do not have a “busy” website. Too many colors, graphics, or visuals will confuse visitors.
  • Proofread your ENTIRE site.
    Poor grammar and spelling is unprofessional and will not help sell your school’s program.
  • Keep a consistent design
    Do not change backgrounds, fonts, or colors schemes throughout your website.  Having a consistently clear design reinforces to visitors that they are on your school’s website.
  • Use reasonable font sizes
    Seek a balance when selecting website font.  Huge font sizes scare visitors away and too small font sizes are difficult to read.
  • Have easy, clear navigation
    Direct your visitors to the proper area of your website by having clear links.  The main page of your website should have the most important information while the subsequent links should help to clarify and give further information.
  • Lower the site’s load time
    Your school’s website must have a low load time. The longer it takes to load, the more visitors you may lose.  Accomplish a quick load time by keeping your website basic but appealing as you minimize graphics, flash, and scripts.
  • Have a meaningful, well-formed title
    Having a well-formed title will help visitors find you via search engine.
  • Provide a means of contact
    Personalize your school’s website by providing e-mail addresses or a phone number where potential students can ask questions.  Make sure your contact form is secure.
  • Use search engine optimization
    Improve the volume and quality of traffic to your website by making sure that your site has effective keywords in the title so prospective students who are searching for information will be directed to your program’s website.  Check with your IT staff to make sure your home page is optimtimized and can be found when students search for the name of your school, your degree(s), or offered courses.
  • Update your website content
    Put fresh, updated material on your website to keep visitors interested and coming back to learn more about your program, degrees, and related current affairs.
  • Offer practical links and Look for “Dead” Links
    Don't assume users can find everything on your website. Use links to guide users to the places you want them to visit. Regularly check your website for dead links.

 

Action Items

·         Review your website with members of your target audience, IT and marketing staff, as well as an outside consultant to maximize its effective delivery of your program’s information. 

·         Consider improving your website with a professional website makeover.

 

Bright Ideas

·         Ask your web/IT staff to place a form on your website soliciting feedback about how you can improve it for future visitors.

 

To have your school’s website professionally evaluated to learn how it could better meet your needs, NASPAA suggests you contact Forum One Communications.  You can learn more about the firm by visiting the Preferred Vendors section of the Marketing Resources and Preferred Vendors tab.



How to Access Potential Students through Online Social Networking Websites like Facebook

 

Facebook is the dominant social networking website for college students across America.  According to TechCrunch, "about 85% of students in supported colleges have a profile up on Facebook. [Of those who are signed up,] 60% log in daily. About 85% log in at least once a week, and 93% log in at least once a month." 

 

NASPAA created a Facebook page called “Go Public Service: MPA/MPP Degrees”  at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Washington-DC/Go-Public-Service-MPAMPP-Degrees/80891490654.  The member population of the  group has already exceeded 6,000 students and MPA/MPP alumni.  To coordinate with this effort, several NASPAA member schools have created their own Facebook groups, providing current and prospective students a convenient way to connect and develop as a community.  Creating a Facebook group for your program benefits your school because it shows students your commitment to finding out more about their world as you explore new methods with which to communicate.  Additionally, a Facebook group gives your students/program an online social network where people can easily communicate, ask questions, post items for discussion, and fully engage as a community.

Facebook themselves say that it has ‘Over 55,000 regional, work-related, collegiate, and high school networks with close to 90% of students using 4-year Universities using Facebook. There is also a developing trend for those who are not out of college with ‘More than half of Facebook users are now outside of college’ with ‘The fastest growing demographic are those 25 years old and older’. For more Facebook data and stats go to: http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics




 

Action Items

  • Create a Facebook group for your school by following these instructions (if you have not already joined Facebook, you will need to do that first):

 

How to join Facebook

1.     Visit www.facebook.com.
2.    On the home page, fill in the gray box titled “Sign up for Facebook.”
3.     Once registered, reply to the confirmation email that Facebook will send to your email account.

 

Note:  It is not necessary to fill in any of the information on your personal page to create an ad or group.

 

 

How to Create a Facebook Group

1.     Once registered as a Facebook member, you should be logged into Facebook and its homepage.  From here, click on the “Groups” tab on the left side
2.    To create your own group click on the “create a new group” tab in the upper right hand corner.
3.  You are now in the “create a group” page.  In this section you will be asked to include information about your group including: your group name, the networks in which you want your group to appear (select “global”), the type of group (“Students” and “Academic”) and the description of your group.  The other section on this page is optional. Click on “Create Group” when you’re finished.
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4.  Next, you may add visual elements and improve the overall look of the group page.  You should include photos, your school’s logo, as well as links to your program and other informational sites like www.naspaa.org. Under the “Options” category, Facebook will automatically select all the options. This will enable users to add photos. You may not want to allow all members of your group to upload pictures so you can better control what is posted on your school’s Facebook page.  To undo this option, make sure that you de-select “enable photos”. Lastly, make sure your group is “Open”, enabling any user to join.


 

 


 


1.      After you press the “Save Changes” button, your Facebook page will appear and you can begin inviting members.  Send an email to your students with the link to the Facebook group to get student members and group involvement.
2.      Note:  To further spread the word about your school’s Facebook group, create a hyperlink from your school’s website to the Facebook group.  Copy the URL of the group page and paste it into your school’s website.  When people click the link, they will go directly to Facebook.  You can copy the Facebook logo and link from it or just type ‘[Insert School’s Name Here] MPA/MPP Facebook Page’ to direct students and others to the group site.
3.      If you're stumped on what your Facebook group should look like, visit these other schools' sites to get an idea.

George Washington University 
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5055554394


West Virginia University
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=18021660703


Rutgers University
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2260772770


4.  Note:  You should check the group weekly to make sure all is okay, and answer any questions that may have been asked.  You may designate a staff person or even a student to do this monitoring work.  It may be beneficial for you to share new items, update events, and post thoughts or ideas on your school’s Facebook group page. It is simple, just click the ‘share’ or ‘post’ buttons.  Remember, if you would like to make changes, you may edit your group at any time.

 

Another social network with which your school may encourage student participation is called “Linked In.” This network is targeted at working professionals and is free to join and use; many MPA/MPP students and alumni are currently using it. We suggest you send www.linkedin.com to your students, enabling them to enhance their career networking skills by creating a “Linked In” profile.

How to Point Your Students to Careers and Internships in the Public Sector

In association with APPAM and ASPA, NASPAA created and maintains a job board that is home to job postings specifically for the public sector.  www.PublicServiceCareers.org is more than just a job board, though, it provides information about the MPA/MPP degrees as well as information about specific sectors and career opportunities within public service.  The key to ensuring a strong job board with quality postings lies in our ability to provide quality job candidates to employers.Students and working professionals can visit the site to create a profile, browse jobs, set-up job alerts, or confidentially post their resume.



 

Action Items

 

Bright Ideas

  • Mention www.PublicServiceCareers.org in your newsletter as a new resource for students and public service professionals.
  • Include www.PublicServiceCareers.org in presentations you make, noting the public sector now has a niche job board allowing students and alumni to easily connect with career opportunities.

Go Public! Link to the Newly Created Student Web Page to Help Your Outreach Efforts



"Go Public! That’s what the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Public Policy (MPP) graduates degrees enables you to do: make a difference by having a career in professional public service."

In order to stay relevant and interesting to Millenial generation and those in their teens and 20’s NASPAA has created a new webpage for students considering an MPA/MPP degree. The URL is www.GoPublicService which was done to further brand the importance of service into the web user. The new site is designed to appeal both emotionally and functionally to prospective students and features the following main pages:

  • Explanation and examples of the degrees
  • Social networking sites like Facebook & YouTube
  • Top 10 List of reasons to get an MPA/MPP
  • Prospective Student Video
  • List of recent alums and alumni stories
  • Special pages for international students & Exec. MPA’s

Action Items

  • Place a link to the new student focused website on your program’s website with a Suggested title of : ‘Learn more about the World of MPA/MPP’s”.

Link to website: www.GoPublicService.org

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