Used strategically, your school website can save you time and resources, improve your communications, integrate with other systems and, in itself, be used as a learning resource. And don't forget the professional, successful image that you will be presenting to prospective pupils, parents and staff when they visit your new website.
Here are 6 tips to make your website stand out
Make your website easy to use
A good school website is a powerful opportunity to involve, inform and communicate with your stakeholders - students, parents, staff and the local community. Educational Websites have a lot of roles to fill.
Usability is about enabling a visitor to quickly find what they came for and giving them a smooth experience along the way. Less is more and most visitors will not wish to read through lengthy pages. Keep top level navigation down to 6-8 items. The worst thing you can do is frustrate your visitors with quirky navigation or hiding content in non-intuitive places. Ask admin staff what information parents call the school for. Ensure this information is on the website, then add quick links from the home page.
Use professional photography
Happy children doing interesting things. There’s no more powerful way to portray your school. Images are so important, and a really effective way to show what life might be like attending your school. Photographs allow prospective students to visualise themselves at your school, and incite interest to arrange a visit.
Be a responsive school
Get a responsive website, don't limit your audience to reading your message only on a desktop computer. Good responsive design assures each web page is readable and usable on a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. It automatically resizes and reformats your pages to eliminate that annoying and time-consuming zooming and dragging that serve as barriers to the viewer.
Ensure that your website loads fast
If your pages load slowly, visitors will soon become frustrated. Slow and clunky websites are not appealing, no matter how beautiful they look. Fewer people will want to spend time looking through your information, photos and resources, and this will affect how much time they spend on your site.
Good web designers and developers will work together to ensure this is not a problem. Search engines use page loading times when it comes to SEO, so this can also help you get higher in the search engine ranking.
Develop engaging content
You should try to engage visitors to your school's website using interesting and informative content. You want your website to be a place where students and parents can spend time, so make it as inviting as possible. Don't just add text, but also photos, videos, slideshows, presentations and more.
Provide details about the surrounding area, school activities and trips, work by students and anything else of interest. If you are having a themed week in the school, like a week dedicated to the environment, set up a page on the website with links to resources that can engage students and parents. Provide interesting News / Blog
A section of your site can be dedicated to important updates as a means of announcing these to parents, staff and students. You could also include a blog containing articles from the teachers and other staff regarding important issues. You could also link this section to a social media account like Twitter or Facebook to ensure as many people as possible get access to the information as soon as it is published.
Websites are often the first impression of your school to a prospective parent or student. Treat this first interaction like a first date scenario; you want visitors to feel comfortable and at home on your website, not alienated and confused. This will directly influence how they feel about your school. Your website is a valuable tool and can create a lasting impression on prospective students and parents. Let your website tell the story of your school and watch your attendance increase.
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