5 ways to create an effective website for your school
An effective website for schools is one that is informative; with both the statutory and the day-to-day information that your major stakeholders need, visually appealing, up-to-date, quick and easy to navigate, lightens the load and has regular visitors.
We’ve put together 5 simple tips to help you create a more effective website.
1. Publish regular news
An effective website uses its news section as a window into your school. This is one of the best ways to draw people in and show them what your school is really like on a day-to-day basis. Events in school that you take for granted as ‘normal’ are what makes your school shine to parents, prospective parents and Ofsted. Also, users will visit your site regularly if they know that there is something new and interesting to read. Make sure you are updating the site with news as often as possible, ideally at least once a week. Celebrating your pupils’ achievements outside of school too also shows how you value their whole development. A well-used news area can eradicate the need for paper newsletters – think of the time and money saved in photocopying!
2. Think like parents
An effective website engages your largest audience – your pupils’ parents. If the information they want isn’t up-to-date they will stop using the website. Areas such as school lunches, latest curriculum information, calendar, news, letters, class pages, galleries, what to do if their child is ill, clubs and how to help their child at home are what parents look at frequently, so make sure you are giving them new and helpful items to read.
3. Make your website communicate for you
An effective website is your best communication tool. If you direct parents to your well kept website when they ask for information they will eventually start to look there first before asking, as they will know they can rely on it as credible information source. Using your calendar, dates list, a letters page, comment boxes, social media feeds, a noticeboard and regular news will reduce the time taken answering questions, reduce photocopying and have the added bonus of keeping parents in touch with their child’s school life at their convenience.
4. Make your sure your website is easy to use
An effective website should have easy to navigate sections with clear, short titles. Key information needs to be accessible in three clicks or less, otherwise people will not take the time to look for it, and all your hard work creating a page will go to waste. However, try to keep your main section headers to a minimum and place content in sub-sections, as too many sections to choose from on your homepage will appear daunting.
5. Last but not least, make sure it looks great!
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘content is king’ when talking about websites, well we would definitely agree, but don’t ignore how your website looks. Although a little cliché, ‘a picture can speak a thousand words’, and can grab the attention of your website visitors, and inspire them to read more.
Your website is, in many cases, the first contact people have with your school. Make sure your website design is professional, as this will reflect your standards in general, and make sure your school branding and colours are prominent as this will ensure instant visual recognition with your school.
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If you would like help to audit your current site or learn more about creating an effective website for schools you can contact Lisa Savage at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 404 3400.