10 Easy Tips To Help You Create An Effective And Efficient School Website
There is an age-old adage that reminds us that first impressions are often the last and in this technological age, the first impression for any institution, business or organization is their website.
Today, when a parent, a prospective student, employee, faculty or administrators hears about a school or tries to research a school – one of the first places they turn to for information is the school website.
Thus, it is essential for the school website to not only correctly communicate the values and principles of the school and reflect the core ideologies but it should be designed in a way that makes it stand out from the competition while sharing all the best practices in a clear, concise and appealing manner. From ensuring that it is designed in a responsive manner to meeting the various algorithms, there are many practices to create an efficient school website and here are a few
- Focused Communication Keeping The Audience In Mind
When writing the content for your website it is essential to filter all the messages through the lens of the audience. This essentially means ensure that the messaging is targeted to the readers and appeals to them. For instance when sharing the school rules – ensure that they are relevant to the parents and include all important details like timing, school bus facilities, late comings, attendance, etc. All communications should reinforce your key messages related to school discipline, avoiding all mention on unnecessary regulations which can then be mentioned in the school diary
- Avoid Using Too Much Jargon In The Content Of Your Site
It is also important to avoid the use of too much terminology or jargon. The use of too much jargon makes us poor communicators and communicating clearly on the website also means keeping it simple, clear and relevant. According to various communication experts, the use of too many technical terms on the website can cause your school to come off as condescending.
- Ensure That All Your Platforms Have A Consistent Look, Design, And Message
One essential practice of a good school website is to ensure that your key communication messages, the look of your website including colors and various design elements are the same across all the mediums and platforms.
For instance, if you have a different message on your platform and different message on your flyers and brochures, your audience will be confused. Similarly, the look, colors, and fonts used on your social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter should be similar to those on the website to give your website a consistent and professional look and feel.
Thus it is important that everyone working on your website should be aware of your school logo, school mascot, font, tagline and that every branding guideline must be in place.
- Create A Responsive And Mobile Friendly Website
With smartphones, tablets and other smart devices becoming increasingly popular, a good school website practice would be to design a website that is accessible and mobile friendly. It is therefore important that the school website be mobile responsive and friendly. Additionally, mobile-optimized websites get a higher ranking boost on Google making it easier for your audience to find your site on various search engines.
Another advantage of designing a mobile-friendly website is that when your audience visits your school site on a mobile device, they have a superior viewing experience which further enhances your school’s reputation as a credible and reputed institute
- Capture Contact Information For Every New Visitor
It is a wise practice for any website including a school website to capture the contact information of the audience when they first visit the website.
Most of the audience including students and parents who first visit the website are usually visiting the site to browse for information. It is at this moment that schools should have an overlay form to capture their information and them send them personalized information, school updates and information on various seminars to keep them interested in the school.
This is a simple engagement exercise but goes a long way in keeping the school details fresh in the mind of the parents and staying connected to the parents and the students.
- Creating And Offering Custom Content To Your Audience
Many schools also offer their visitors access to custom content in exchange for their contact information. Custom content is contained in the form of video, pdf, eBooks, slideshows that the parents or the students would find valuable. This could be tips, tricks and other information that will guide the website audience and be deemed as valuable by them.
- Apply An SSL Certificate To Your School Website
Today, online data security is a serious issue – not only for schools but for various organization, businesses, and institutes. SSL certificates go a long way in keeping your website safe and secure. It offers parents and students the assurance that the school website is authentic and that any personal data shared or any information entered will be encrypted. This ensures that it cannot be intercepted by malicious third parties or hackers.
- Creating a Smart Information Architecture
For schools, it is also very important to structure the various school website pages, navigation, and content in a smart and efficient manner. This effective organization and structure of website content help to provide a simple and enjoyable user experience to the website visitors and also lowers the bounce rates. Strategically designed and well-organized school information can also play a pivotal role in higher conversion rates.
Thus, small inputs like an easily accessible site search toolbar, a well-placed site map, etc. go a long way in creating a perfect school website with smart information in the architecture.
- Integration Of Social Media
In recent time, Social media has emerged as one of the most powerful marketing tools available for schools to make themselves popular among their target audience. Today, as more families are spending browsing online, social media makes it easier to reach out to parents. This is why it is important for school websites to use social media integrated into their web design.
The social media component offers schools the opportunity to provide up-to-date content and an authentic inside-look at life on campus through images, videos, and other relevant content.
- Updating information about the School Management Software
If your school is using a school management software like Fedena, it is important to mention this on the school website along with all the various advantages and benefits of a school management system. This can range from admission management to the school bus and transportation management system – all of which work together to make the functioning of the school and the life of the parent so much easier.
While age-old philosophers often said that the eyes are the windows to one’s soul, it can be said today that the website is the window to an organization’s soul. This makes it important for schools and educational institutes to spend adequate time and effort on their school website to attract the right audience and increase their success rates.