School websites have their own specific purpose to their ‘customers’—only in this case, the customers are the students, their parents, teachers, and faculty members. These websites need to do a few things for people: 1) educate (that goes without saying), and 2) inform.
If the website belonging to your school is in need of an update, it’s best to get it redone by professionals (see our previous post as to why this is a better idea than DIY). For now, let’s go over what your school’s potential new website needs now that school is almost out for the year and there’s time to really examine what it needs.
- Deep understanding of the school’s message, branding, purpose, and audience
Attracting new students and even faculty members every year is crucial to a school to run properly. No students = no funding for things the school needs. With this in mind, you can create a respected and trustworthy brand for your school by providing the type of information to parents whose children attending the school want and need.
The colours, images, stories, etc. on your new website should reflect everything about the school and its students. A short statement of the school’s values will help new families understand your mission, and curriculum and extra-curricular activity information, with lists of courses, school awards, achievements, and grants will also help your viewers learn about your school. All throughout the website this message you are trying to present should be consistently presented. You want to present your school in the best way possible; all of this can help ensure its stellar presentation.
- Calendar of events
While most websites for companies can all have a calendar as an optional feature, for schools events calendars are much more necessary. Sports games, theatre performances, faculty meetings—all of these events and more should be available at all times to parents, teachers, and students. The calendar on your new website should load fast and be easy to access across all devices. Information should be clear and easy to read for everyone involved.
How do you get a great calendar, you’re wondering? Simple—ensure that your site contains a great content management system (CMS). A CMS is basically what most websites are nowadays, because naturally things are always changing, whether it’s for a commercial business or a school, so naturally the content you should feature on your school’s new website needs to keep up with that pace. Having a CMS can help, though it won’t be as successful without the next big thing your new site needs:
- Responsiveness AND proper functionality
These two things go hand in hand with each other because without one, the website may literally not work, period. A fast-loading and responsive website ensures that the website is functional. Likewise, a website that’s properly functional will respond and load fast upon command, whether that command is clicking on a link within the site or entering a keyword into the search bar. Having these will ensure that the design of your school website looks good and is easy to use across multiple devices, including mobile.
Having functionality and responsiveness both are guaranteed when you get a new website for your school built as opposed to trying to add on to an existing one. That’s because it’s possible that your school’s current website is based off of older software and an older template, meaning it’ll need more than one or two fixes—usually a site like that needs an overhaul. A new website from scratch really is less expensive to your school than it would to fix the site, only to find out later there’s something wrong with it again and pay more.
- Contact information
Communication between everyone involved at school is a must. Your school’s website is often the first way families can find out about who you are. You need to make sure that by having a website, everyone who needs to be contacted can in fact be approached.
Place the school’s postal address, phone number, and e-mail in the header and footer where it’s most conventional to find such information. In addition, a faculty directory with e-mail contact information can ensure direct communication between students, teachers, and parents.
- Engaging Content
Having a calendar of events as we mentioned is one good way to ensure everyone uses the school website, but it should not be the only valuable content it features. There are so many stories to share amongst students and teachers alike, so share the ones that you know make your school shine!
Tell these stories liberally and share them across multiple platforms on social media and an e-mail newsletter. Ensure everyone at the school has access to this content via sharable links and mobile-friendliness. The more people can interact and engage with the content you share, the better communication will be between everyone.
Stories are not the only content worth sharing, either. Class news or blogs, meeting announcements, events, creative images or poems, and more could all be shared on social media or in an e-newsletter, or both. If there are certain documents you want to share on the website, make sure it’s accessible in the first place. After all, if you build the content, they will come—that’s guaranteed.
Now you know more about what your school’s new website needs if it’s high time for a redux. Are you ready to give your school a new website that everyone can be proud of? Give us a call at V3 Media. Building websites and ensuring it’s well taken care of in the long-term are specialties of ours. You can’t go wrong by getting in touch with us!