- Independent Schools
School web design expert Rob Potter has contributed to over 200 school website designs. Here are his five ways to keep your homepage fresh, engaging and powerful to make sure your school stands out from its competitors!
Maybe you've got a brand new website, or maybe you're trying to breath life into an old homepage. Either way it's the content of your school website that keeps your audience coming back for more. Here are five things you can do to keep your users engaged; keeping your prospective parents on your site for longer and helping current families find information fast!
1. Intrigue With Images
Images are a huge part of your school website content. High-quality images ensure your pages are engaging, whilst the subject of an image can really change the way people see your school. It's important to routinely update your images; they don't need to change every week but if your homepage is starting to feel stale - it's an easy way to give your school website design a fresh new look. If you've had any recent professional photography or special events use this opportunity to showcase your school by working those images into the homepage. Read this blog on school photography tips to learn how to take better photos to make sure your photos are worthy of your school website's homepage
To add an extra layer of depth to your school marketing strategy, think about how the images can work with the goals of your website. Maybe your school is aiming to showcase new facilities, or wants to promote its new athletics programme - these can be great opportunities to help meet your goals as well as keeping your homepage looking fresh.
You need to be able to update your images from within your platform. Watch this video to find our how to manage your photos and videos using Composer's Resource Manager.
2. Boast a Blog!
If you're not writing a blog or not creating regular posts, you should be! Blogs are a really easy way to encourage regular visits to your site. They give a great insight into what's going on at the school and your schools community. They can be quite time consuming to keep updated though, so think about inviting others at your school to write guest posts, and aim to post something new once a week to keep people coming back. Visit the resources section and download our style guide cheat sheet to help you craft the perfect style guide for your school blog.
Depending on your school website design you can probably show off a few of your favourite or latest posts on your homepage, but if not, linking to them from the homepage still provides you with some fresh content (and a good opportunity to create internal links for that all important SEO). Remember to advertise your new posts on social media to make sure everyone can see your hard work!
Learn how to start and master your school blog in this free on-demand webinar.
3. Stand Out on Social Media
Chances are you've already set up most of the popular social media accounts, but how can you really make the time you spend on social worthwhile? Make sure you're posting regularly, it's really easy to take a photo or write something small about what's going on at the school, be it an upcoming sporting event or drama production there's loads of opportunities for new content. Make sure your site links to your social media accounts and use social media to drive traffic to your school website by linking to relevant web pages. A post about an upcoming school trip could be a great opportunity to link to the school calendar for example and another opportunity to empower current parents to use the school website rather than making a phone call! Finalsite Feeds gives you the power to promote your social presence and engage website visitors with recent, authentic content that is totally in your control. This module allows you to reap the benefits of the word of mouth marketing social media offers without having to leave your website and encounter a myriad of distractions. Find out why the best designed school websites use Finalsite Feeds in this quick video.
You've probably got some goals tied in with the website - 'I want to increase open day enquiries' 'I want to increase online donations' 'I want more parents using the Parent Portal' are examples of goals we hear a lot. But how will you achieve these goals without knowing your main obstacles? User insight can be valuable in order to help you achieve your goals. Don't be afraid to ask the users of your school website what they think; maybe a link is hard to find. Or the parent portal doesn't contain the information they want. It's never too late to update your site and if it's editable, it can constantly improve to help your users and meet your goals. Try starting with a free school website audit as well as surveying groups of users at your school - Parents, Students, Governors and Teachers all view the website from a different point of view.
5. Be a Leader, Not a Follower
Scoping out the competition can be great for research and inspiration, but take a step back to think about how their ideas can work with your school. Every school has a different, but equally vibrant community, make sure you use the available modules to show that as much as possible, people will be more able to relate to the school and can get a really good insight just by visiting the website. Lastly keep thinking creatively - come along to a free Web Strategy Workshop or join a live webinar to keep working on ways to ensure your school's uniqueness is always present at the core of your school website design.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As a Content and Web Designer at Finalsite, working out of our UK office; Rob works closely with clients to deliver beautiful websites. He is passionate about UI and UX design, focusing on solving user problems to deliver engaging, easy-to-use experiences
- Inbound Marketing
- Social Media