10 Simple Tips for School Website Design
Tuesday, 13th November 2012
Having worked on numerous school websites such as Newcastle Preparatory School and Durham School, we thought it would be a good idea to share our top ten simple tips for improving your school website design.
1. Get Social
Pupils and Parents alike will always need to be aware of training days, snow days and other sudden announcements. Rather than answering each query individually, point them towards your Twitter or Facebook page and keep them updated from one source.
2. Get something that pays for itself
You don't need a website the size of the BBC's to communicate with your audience. A simple website with content manageable facilities will do the job and pay for itself in the labour hours saved, and act as a PR tool that will help you come across as a modern, forward-thinking school.
Remember, if you are competition with other schools for pupils a great website could be the deal breaker for many prospective pupils.
3. Don't rely on your prospectus
Although your school prospectus is a powerful marketing tool, your website could have a greater effect on recruiting and building a reputation. The Schools Marketing Survey in 2009 showed that more than 33% of enquiries are coming from school websites and that figure will only rise in coming years. Your prospectus will need redesigning and printing every year, whereas a websites maintenance costs after the initial outlay are minimal and allow you to update your content more frequently than once a year.
4. Be a responsive school
Get a responsive website so that your audience isn't limited to reading your message only on a desktop computer. A responsive website will adapt to your audiences device of choice i.e. a smartphone or a tablet computer and allow them to keep updated on the move.
5. Showcase your work
There is so much content being created by pupils on a daily basis that it would be a good idea to share it with prospective pupils and parents . Whether it is video, images or documents you will have enough content to make the website somewhere that users will want to return on a regular basis.
6. Catering to your audience
School websites are visited by all kinds of user - potential students, parents searching for a school, current students, your staff, potential staff, journalists and all other kinds of user. All of these are searching for different content so you will want to guide them in the right direction with your design and content structure.
7. Tell them what's happening
Schools are a vibrant hub of activity. From sports days to parents evenings, you will want to better promote these events and get more parents involved in their children's education and related fundraising events.
8. Be in control
Simple content management systems (CMS) are everywhere but you will want one catered to your website that takes minimal time and resources to train your staff in helping maintain all your content. The hard part is finding a web agency that can provide this!
9. Building your reputation
Schools aren't designer start ups or selling physical goods. Your website design should be professional, trustworthy and sell the services you provide. You will want to get your message across clearly and concisely whilst helping build your reputation as a good school. Remember, people are trusting you to deliver a good education to their children so your website should reflect this.
10. Help parents
Much has changed in the education system for parents that have finished their education many years ago. Some parents may need a helping hand in how to best supplement their own children's' education so provide helpful guides and tips for this audience.