Planning a School Website
Attention to detail and careful thought are required when planning a website for your school. To help you figure out what items a school website should contain, we will examine what makes a site easy to navigate, what sets schools apart with the impression they convey, and whether the website should be professionally designed.
Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)
As it does with so many other things in life, the acronym KISS also applies to designing your webpage. Many sites really make you dig for the information you want to find. So users can find the information they need quickly and can get around your site easily, include an intuitive, simple navigation bar. And, on the splash page, do not forget to include your contact information with contact form.
The design should be appealing, user friendly, and clear. The school website is often the first impression parents get of a school, therefore it should exemplify excellence. People will infer that your school is obsolete, cheap, disorganized, or neglected if your website also demonstrates these characteristics.
General Information Should Be Easily Accessible
Typically kept in an “About Us” page linked at the top of your home page, your school website needs to make general information readily available. This page includes the school’s education philosophy and history as well as any accreditations, affiliations, awards, and associations the school has. Embedding a short video overview of the school is easier than ever before and can have a great impact.
On the general information page, there should be a link to enrollment information. The enrollment information page should also be linked to on the home page and should include deadlines, any openings the school may have, and describe the application process for prospective students and their parents. Here is where you would have a downloadable enrollment application.
Schedules and Calendars
Calendars are only as good as they are accurate. So, though every school website must have a calendar with all school-wide events, the information must be kept up to date, or it will lead to confusion and no one will use it. You may also want to have a separate calendar with the schedules for all of the sports teams and other extracurricular activities.
Part of keeping the calendar up to date is also using the website to share the latest news, updates, and school closures.
When the parents of prospective students look at the websites for schools, they try to picture their child at that school. Photos of diverse, smart looking, happy students help the parents with this process. It is best to use actual students’ pictures if you can get parental consent. If that is not possible, then stock photos are also commonly used. It is important to represent the images you put on your site to attract students of all genders, ethnicities, and ages.
So parents can get in touch with teachers if they need to, a staff directory with pictures and contact forms for each teacher and administrator is also a common feature on school websites.
Turn to the Professionals
Finally, the site should be designed by a professional web designer. The planning of the site should begin with the school’s Senior Leadership Team and those who will administer the new website. The content and concept of the site must be the result of a good SLT’s understanding of what the present constituency is, what the future target audience may be, and who the school is trying to reach.
A good web designer will work closely with the Senior Leadership Team to come up with a powerful website that is easy to navigate. These expert web designers also know how to optimize the site for search engines and how to integrate social media.
Creating a good school website is not easy. Fortunately, Lemongrass Media are available to help! If you are interested in discussing your new School Web Design further, please do get in touch on 0800 690 6250 or alternatively email us at [email protected]