A school website is much more than means to list information online. It’s the front gate to your school community, representing its values and philosophy. A well-made school website design and structure can help build a reputation for the institution, create an entire concept for how first-time visitors will view it, and ultimately give the school an advantage over competitor schools. In this article, we’ll talk about what makes a great school website, with many examples and practical tips on how to improve your virtual hub of knowledge!
Things Great School Websites Have in Common
- Event Calendars
- Virtual Tours
- Teachers Introduction
- Clubs and Achievements
- Easy Contact Info
- Language Options
- News and newsletters
- Social Media Share
- Useful Resources for Online Education
- Easy Application Forms
- Optimization and Security
Interactive Event Calendars
Most school websites will use posts to convey information about upcoming events. In order for visitors to find them out, they will need to scroll around. There is a better way to approach this and make the information easily accessible with a few clicks. Use interactive event calendars instead with the names and dates of your events. It’s a great way for visitors to have an overview of all your upcoming events at first glance and make them interested to click and view more information or book a ticket, all in one click!
The Indianapolis Children’s Museum, for example, has a great calendar that displays not only when and where the event will be, but also additional information on how to attend.
Lausanne‘s calendar is also easy to scan and allows you to see all events for the current month with their respective time and locations.
Offer Virtual Tours
Being able to show people around even in lockdown conditions will be much appreciated by everyone and will convey more way more information than you could with photos or descriptions. Creating the virtual tour is very easy, all you need is a camera, computer, and a free tool like klapty.com
King School has a great virtual tour experience, that allows students to get to know their future school in the comfort of their home.
Rider is a great example of diverse ways to present information. They allow you to choose the interactive method of exploring their campus, including a printable map.
Add photos and videos to your website
Give a great first impression of your facilities with photos and videos. Being able to control the lighting and angles you can make amazing images. Another good idea is to consider is hiring an FPV drone pilot to make breathtaking videos of your building inside and out.
A photo gallery is very important in order to see how past events have gone and to soak on the nostalgia from before. Norwich School is a great example of how that should be done.
Introduce Your Teachers
A school wouldn’t be a school without its teachers whose work builds the reputation and community. With this in mind, introduce your teachers with photos or short videos and list their experience and expertise in 1-2 sentences. This way you will start building trust with the parents of the potential student.
Finalsite is a great example of how to welcome new team members. They have information about who the teachers are, what would it mean to work with them, and even an introduction video.
Sometimes just putting pictures of your staff isn’t enough. You could go an extra step to show your teacher’s strengths and what makes them great mentors to students. Gilman School, for example, has added video introductions.
Show off your Clubs, Achievements and Other Interesting Features
A school is not only a place to learn, it also has one of the biggest social factors among any other institution. It is very important to communicate what extracellular activities a student can join. Use your website in order to communicate why students would love your beautiful school.
McDonogh, for example, has a lot of clubs and activities to offer. So many, in fact, that they organized them into collapsable menus by subject.
You might have one club or activity that is doing really well and you are proud to show. This is the case with The Prep.
Drexel on the other hand, has a different approach. They use data visualization to share statistics and numbers to reassure their potential students.
Invite Investment, Donations, and Funding
Being able to afford renovations, new equipment, and funding for clubs and sports teams will increase the prestige of the school. In order to ask for donations, make sure to include sections that explain exactly how the money will be spent. It’s always better if you include different payment methods (like PayPal, IBAN, credit and debit cards).
Bcsc.org not only gives a large variety of donation options, but they also very clearly communicate how the money will be spent!
Branding is Everything!
Being able to clearly communicate your school’s core values is very important. This is your brand: your logo, anthem, slogan, mascot, and cherished values. In order to achieve memorable branding, keep it consistent in your website, newsletter design, and even during school ceremonies. For example, on any page of your website, there should be your logo and the same color scheme and design as all the other pages, possibly including the school homepage. Your logo and general design should also be included in every email sent by the administration.
Tbcsc.org show what they believe in and what they stand for.
Archer is a great example of standing out from the crowd. They have a page specifically dedicated to how and why they are different from similar schools.
Easy Contact Info
Your contact info should not be more than a click away from the homepage. People should have easy access to phone numbers of the administration, email addresses and a map with the physical location.
Times2, for example, includes a convenient build-in mab for easy directions to anyone new.
The Summit Country Day School has great administrative office organization. Being able to call the specific office saves time and gives an impression of great structure, organization and professionalism.
Add a drop-down menu on the top of the sides of your school website homepage, that allows people to switch between different languages!
Every school website should have language options for international and transfer students. Round Rock is a good example of that.
News and Newsletters
To make sure everyone knows about the most recent developments, news, events, and plans of action, you will include them on your school website. However, it’s always better to go extra safe (and extra professional) by sending newsletters.
Having a news page like Webb School of Knoxville is crucial as it is where parents and students will first go to find more information about anything that is going on in their school.
The newsletter is also a great way to include daily updates. Stuartholme School does that right.
Social Media Sharing
Your school website will accumulate a lot of posts about students winning in competitions, sports and participating in different events. This is information that parents will be highly motivated to share.
St. George School‘s website has clickable share buttons for all the popular social media platforms.
Useful Resources for Online Education
Even without the current situation that makes it necessary to offer online education, it’s always essential to have reading materials and tools for students to read or download. This grants your students access to what they are studying at any time.
Easy Application Forms
Applying for your school should be an easy experience accessible from your homepage. It’s good to add detailed information about acceptance criteria, needed documents, and a very easy-to-fill intuitive form. One good tool you can use to make custom forms is 123formbuilder.
Park University has an easy application form that presents the required information and contacts.
Add to Optimize
With the increase in digitalization and digital storage of information, it is getting more and more important to consider good cyber security. If you are looking for a simple solution that doesn’t require a specialist you can use one of the most downloaded and best-rated WordPress plugins for that is WordFence.
With tools such as Google Analytics you can easily see how many people have visited your website, how many return, how much interest is based on location, and other useful data, that can help you understand your target visitors better.
Your website is an expression of your company. The same goes for your school website: it represents your school, values, and community. You can take advantage of your school website to build trust and reputation and strengthen the community.
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