It’s time for that new website
If you're considering a school website refresh, our article outlines some important considerations to ensure it looks great and also operates efficiently.
1. Ensure it integrates with other systems
A well-functioning school website won't operate in isolation. To enjoy a website both now and in years to come, choose a website that offers additional functionality or integrates well with other systems.
A website company that provides a school app as well, for instance, ensures that you can easily communicate with both current and prospective parents effectively.
Schoolzine's parent engagement platform allows you to send the same message via app notification whilst also distributing it on the website feed.
Another good example would be integrating a school calendar across the website, school app and school newsletter. Having one calendar, and therefore one point of entry, avoids both duplication of effort and unnecessary confusion.
2. Image first approach
Incorporating images and a platform that supports video has never been more critical in an increasingly visual world. Ensure your new school website is full of media-rich information that showcases the great things happening in the school and grabs the attention of your website visitors.
Of course, social media will always remain important in 2022 and beyond, as it's developed into a somewhat 'universal language' that most parents can relate to. So if your school uses social media channels, ensure they are clearly visible on your website and other communication channels.
3. Easy to update and operate
The website is an evolving shop window to your school; it's often the first thing prospective parents will see, but it's also an ongoing resource centre for current parents. As such, it not only needs to look good at launch but also for at least the following five years. This is quite the challenge these days, where constantly-changing technology means that information can very quickly look and feel outdated.
For these reasons, it's critical to have a platform that's easy to update, and preferably one that is editable from the front end. This is so that all staff members (even the not-so-IT-savvy ones) feel confident using the system and can see their changes as they create them. The bottom line is, if the team is faced with a complex piece of software, they will always shy away from updating the website with fresh, new and engaging information.
Likewise, choosing a website provider that sees this software as a service rather than a product is essential. In other words, when researching website companies, ensure that you vet their customer service policy. Ask the following questions: Will they help you get the best out of the platform? Do they have a responsive customer service policy? Do they provide website training? Will they charge for support?
4. Choose an education-specific website provider
A company that specialises in school or education websites is worthy of consideration. This is because they will probably have draft website templates that ensure schools can easily include all the necessary compulsory Ofsted information.
Likewise, they will much more easily understand how primary, secondary and special schools operate and can show you a collection of real examples of other similar school websites. If you're part of a multi-academy trust, keeping the branding consistent across the portfolio is paramount, and a good school website company will understand the importance of this (whilst also recognising that each individual school needs to maintain its own identity).
Additionally, a school-specific website provider may be able to offer a complementary suite of products, like digital newsletters, a parents' evening booking system, or a school app. They may also be able to integrate with your school's MIS, another important factor in streamlining your school operations and cutting out unnecessary admin.
In conclusion, a school website should be visually impactful, easy to update, have its own look and feel, and integrate easily with other platforms. From a user perspective, it also needs to be mobile-responsive and engaging, and we cover this in more detail in this article.
If you'd like to discuss how you can enjoy this type of school website, get in touch to arrange a chat or free demo.