Everything about your school’s online presence starts with your domain name. It’s the address of your institution online. Your domain is the name that students, faculty, and alumni will need to recall in order to easily find your school on the internet. To attract the best and brightest students to your institution in today’s connected world, it is crucial that your school stands out to them in this way. Many students’ first stop will be researching online when choosing their ideal educational fit. Schools that have an inviting and memorable online presence have an advantage when appealing to prospective students.
Besides winning the race to attract top students, institutions must also adapt to the rapid expansion of online services in the education industry. Many key initiatives for student retention have moved fully digital. This includes everything from online classes to student enrollment and even program organization and donation collections.
Unlock the full potential of your school’s online presence by building on a platform designed to bring freedom and flexibility to the education industry online—.College domain names.
How .College helps drive students to your school online
1. .College domains can make it easier to find you online
A .College domain helps you enhance your school’s brand online by making it easier to remember where to find your website. As the main information source for your school, your website should be at the center of all of your promotional activities – whether that’s sending direct mailers, running digital advertisements, updating social media pages, or attending college fairs and other events. Having a more memorable domain name to use in this promotion increases the stickiness of your marketing and keeps your school top of mind for potential students.
You can promote YourSchool.College in advertising campaigns as a branded link to collect applications. Giving out that same domain name on direct mailers and in-person visits can increase the likelihood that a student or parent will remember it later to research your school. YourSchool.College is also a short and easily readable URL that will not take up too much space in social media posts. The flexibility and memorability of .College domains help you optimize all areas of your school’s branded promotion.
In order for your promotion to be effective, you need to have your school’s name top of mind for your target audience. One of the oldest ways to test if you have a memorable online name is the “radio test.” Your website name passes the radio test if someone who hears it in an advertisement on the radio would easily remember it and recall it again later.
College offers you a unique chance to secure a domain name for your school that is both short and intuitive. In fact, many institutions can upgrade their web address to a domain name as short as three characters. One example of this is the Institute of Forensics College Corporate University, which promotes its forensics education programs through the short and expertly-branded domain ISF.College. Their 3-letter .College domain is easy for students to recall and type into their browser, sending them directly to ISF’s main recruiting page.
2. .College domains clearly communicate who you are
Your .College domain is made to help instantly connect your mission with prospective students and their families. A professionally branded .College domain signals to your website visitors that your institution is a part of the education community. This benefits many different kinds of learning institutions, from two and four-year universities and colleges, to private preparatory academies, to distance learning schools, as well as online educational resources.
One clear example of this branding power in action is Barker.College, which Pre-Kindergarten through Year 12 private education institution Barker College uses as their main online hub. Barker boosted their online image with a .College domain name exactly matching the name of their institution. Using the .College extension shows prospective student families that Barker provides education that puts their students on the path to higher learning.
Those in the distance learning and skill teaching sectors can look to LearnSkills.College. The domain is the online home of Learn Skills’ all-in-one education hub. As a distance learning platform geared toward high school graduates, the school offers courses on everything from business and finance to health and beauty, with specific interest courses on topics like computers and technology, writing, and even animal care. Learn Skills is able to attract students to the URL while also using it to offer a simple and memorable address for them to navigate to for their classes.
Institutions who offer various tools and guides for prospective students can do so via a .College name for each. A perfect example of this strategy in action is GuideTo.College. They promote their college application prep course through a .College domain that not only describes the product perfectly, but also doubles as a call to action. So students can simply type GuideTo.College in their URL bar and be taken right to the provider’s comprehensive guide to the college search.
Using a .College domain signals your commitment to providing top quality education that can make an impact on the career and future outlook of your students.
3. .College helps to make your domain SEO-friendly
The majority of internet browsing sessions begin through a search engine. This is where most go to get answers to their questions, find resources, and research beneficial opportunities. Getting your website to rank in search results for terms related to your institution is essential in improving web traffic.
Securing a geographic-specific domain like YourState.College or YourCity.College can strengthen your overall SEO strategy to establish your institution as the go-to in your area in online search results. These keyword phrases can match popular search terms for students. Using a domain name that exactly matches these location-specific keywords can help your website rank at the top of search results for them. This is because the keywords in your domain name are relevant to Google and other search engines in their mission to show the best results.
Boosting your visibility in search engine results can help you save on advertising costs as well. Using these strong keyword .College domain names in conjunction with your overall website strategy can help your website rank above other institutions in your area for geographic searches. If you are naturally at the top of search results, you can get a lot of the traffic to your website naturally that you would otherwise get from buying ads.
If your school secures YourCity.College, that geographic keyword domain belongs to you alone, and prevents your competitors from getting it. You can then use your keyword .College name to help increase your site's ranking and claim valuable real estate at the top of search results. To see what this looks like in practice, take a look at Bramcote.College in Bramcote, England. The school secured their exact match for their city, which doubles as the school’s name. This geographic keyword domain supports the school’s overall SEO strategy for their website by adding keyword relevancy in their URL. As a result, the school ranks first overall in search results for the search term “Bramcote college” as well as among the top three search results for the keyword “Bramcote.” This helps them appeal to students searching for a school in their region.
4. .College domains appeal to the new generation
Today’s students have grown up online, and they have high expectations when it comes to your institution’s internet savviness. New domain extensions like .College are the latest technological development in internet naming. Thanks to the memorability and flexibility they provide, they are gaining popularity and trust with the next generation of internet users. Build a positive association between your website and prospective students by showing you are ahead of the curve with a .College name. New domains are a favorite among innovators in the technology industry, and .College domains allow you to bring that innovation to your school’s online presence.
To do this for your school, take inspiration from Vanier College. The school uses its branded .College domain to offer a virtual walking tour to prospective students on Walk.Vanier.College. The site gives prospective Vanier students a way to view the campus and see if it is a fit for them without having to book a visit or travel to the school in person. This shows Vanier is committed to offering helpful solutions, and promotes them through the latest in domain technology.
How a .College domain improves the online experience of your students
The freedom and flexibility of .College domains give you many opportunities to enhance your students’ experience with your school online. An unrestricted .College domain affords your institution the freedom to set up pages to meet various student needs.
1. .College domains supplement your existing website
Utilizing a dedicated .College website gives your students and faculty a solution specifically built to take care of their academic needs. This way, your .College domain can provide an intuitively named page that supplements your .edu domain. Institutions who are unable to claim their own .edu domain can use a .College to upgrade their URL to an education-specific domain. Using .College domains marks their place in the higher education community better than unrelated, generic extensions they may turn to if they can’t get a .edu.
A notable example of .edu domain supplementation in practice is Vanderbilt.College. Vanderbilt University operates the domain as a knowledge hub with important news, ongoing research initiatives, alumni and giving information, and admissions tools. The site creates a one-stop resource for Vanderbilt University's students to visit and stay connected with their school.
2. .College domains are memorable names for information portals
Each college or school within your institution will have its own needs for its students. Some institutions show their commitment to the members of each department by launching educational resources on URLs named for each department. Institutions are only allowed to own one .edu domain, and so offering resources for different schools or departments on a single domain can require use of long URLs with lots of slashes and extra words. It’s not ideal if it’s difficult for students to remember or easily navigate to these resources that institutions put a lot of time and money into providing online. Placing them on simple, department-specific .College URLs makes it easier for your students to find the materials they need.
Cambridge University is a great example of this kind of .College usage. They chose MurrayEdwards.College to be a centralized location for the university’s women-only constituent college, Murray Edwards College. The college attracts potential students to the Murray Edwards College within Cambridge by promoting its advantages through this dedicated URL. They also use the site as a memorably named hub for news and information which current students and alumnae can access.
3. .College domains streamline virtual-learning link sharing
Virtual learning is fast becoming a staple of higher education. Bringing classes together through online video requires careful planning and setup to succeed. Your school can greatly simplify the video conference coordination for students and faculty by using branded video conference links like YourSchool.College. Long, random URLs generated by video conference platforms can be difficult for students and faculty to remember. This sets the stage for potential issues when classes organize online. Using a simple, branded .College URL removes this extra confusing step.
Simply use the branded YourSchool.College name with custom subdomains or subdirectories for each class conference link. Using .College domains in this way can bring classrooms together online efficiently and effectively. Best of all, only one link is necessary for all classrooms to keep track of.
4. .College domains are equipped to handle your school’s e-commerce
.College domains have no restrictions on commercial use. This makes them perfect platforms to use when creating online venues to:● Sell tickets to events
● Set up e-commerce platforms for school merchandise
● Collect university organization-related fees
● Conduct other commercial transactions
The .edu domain ending is a classic, but can be complicated to obtain, and its use has restrictions, such as prohibiting any commercial transactions on the web address. As a primary or additional option, .College domains carry no such restrictions, making them perfect for any school-related commercial purposes.
Shop.Career.College perfectly illustrates this use of .College domains. The site serves as Vancouver Career College’s online store. It provides students with a virtual marketplace to buy supplies, electronics, and school-branded apparel all from one central online hub.
5. .College preserves your school’s online reputation
.College domains offer unprecedented branding opportunities and memorable URLs for your institution. However, those unassociated with your school could seek to register a URL matching your school’s brand and conduct malicious activity like phishing and spam. By claiming your school’s brand on .College, you signify your school’s commitment to the new innovation happening in website naming. You'll also prevent bad actors from seizing an opportunity to unfairly profit off or damage your school’s hard-earned reputation.
Thousands of universities have already locked down their institutions’ brands on .College. Centre.College, ranked among the Top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges, claimed their exact matching .College name to use as a branded redirect to their existing online hub. Cementing your institution’s ownership of your brand on .College gives you the same opportunity to promote a branded URL.
Closing in on your .College name
.College domains help higher education community members attract prospective students and build a deeper connection with them. They also offer a memorable platform for online student solutions, which improves overall retention.
Memorable .College domains are your school's tools to boost online promotion and advertising. Your .College connects closely with students by appealing to them with department or geographic specific URLs. Using the .College extension marks your institution as an adopter on the edge of the new wave in higher education naming online.
.College domains are free of restrictions, allowing you to provide all the services your students need. Your .College domain is your school's home for commercial hubs, memorably branded virtual learning portals, and classroom resources. Securing your institution's name on .College cements your mission and prevents bad actors from impersonating your school.
Your .College domain is the key to unlocking the full potential of your school’s online presence. The first step in realizing this potential is to secure .College domains for your institution, departments, and region for $9.99/1st year. Take advantage of this opportunity to cement your school as a top destination for students through a memorable, industry specific.College domain.
Register .College today for $6.99! Offer ends 11/30/20 23:59 UTC.
This guest post was written by the .College team.