Deciding what goes on a college homepage is a big challenge. There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen when it comes to deciding what goes on the homepage. Having something as minor as displaying the local weather on the homepage can become a hotly debated issue.
Reasons Not To Have The Weather Displayed
I want to start with reasons not to have the weather displayed because I think it comes down to one main issue. The obvious reason is a matter of clutter. Unfortunately a big challenge with homepages is people try to get it to do too many things. Every department at a college or university wants their story on the homepage of the website because they know it’s most likely to be seen there. A homepage can easily account for up to 25% of the total pageviews of a school’s site in a day. In an effort to keep it as simple and uncluttered as possible there is no place for the weather to go.
Also another important reason for not doing this is because this means that you don’t have to do any technical work.
Reasons To Have The Weather Displayed
The reasons to have the weather displayed aren’t as cut and dry as the reasons against it. There are actually many reasons why this can be a strategic thing to display.
- People On Campus Visit The Homepage – What I specifically mean by this is that your faculty, staff and current students have to be included when you think of all the audiences you support. If your school offers something like webmail (are there any that don’t?) then I’d be willing to bet that the way most people access the webmail service is through a link off the homepage of your website. I would also be willing to bet that some large portion open email first thing when they wake up in the morning. Getting an idea of the weather for the upcoming day can be a great service to offer. As a side bonus it could possibly prevent a few students from getting sick each year, but that might be too far of a stretch, huh?
- Prospective Students Visit your Homepage – Of course prospective students see your homepage, but you are probably asking why the weather would matter. Knowing the weather can be one way that a prospective student gets a feeling of what will change if they choose your school. For example if the prospective student lives in New England and your school is in Florida then the almost year-round warmer weather can be a huge selling point. Someone going the opposite way would benefit greatly in understanding they can’t wear flip flops and shorts year-round.
- Athletic Fans Visit Your Website – Similarly if your school has a big upcoming football game it can be a nice reminder to plan accordingly.
This element can do more things like make your homepage more dynamic and personal, but you probably have been given a few ideas already.
Personally I think it’s a great option to have the weather displayed on a homepage once you weigh all the pros and cons here. If nothing else, it is another little thing that you can consider. I didn’t actually talk about how to do it, but if there is real interest around that it could be a pretty interesting post to write. Leave a comment with your opinion on the subject or if you would be interested in reading a post that walks through how to set it up.
Photo Credit: Snead State, snow on Campus by Larry Miller