The humble school website — a hub of all the information that students, their parents, and prospective parents need to know. It is an important resource and shop window for any school, but it is one that is neglected all too often.
Due to the amount of information housed on your school’s website, it can become a maze, with important pages and details being buried beneath multiple dropdown menus and hyperlinks. To maximise engagement with your website, and make it an appealing advertisement for your school, the design must demonstrate an understanding of what parents, the website’s primary audience, are looking for.
In this blog, we examine the key areas of school websites that parents regularly refer to and discuss how your school can use this information to its benefit.
Term Dates and Holidays
The most visited page on school websites is that which contains information about term dates and holidays. In fact, studies show that the term dates page attracts up to four times as many hits as any other page on a school website.
Primarily, parents quickly visit this page to double check when their children’s holidays are, in order to arrange childcare and ensure they are not caught out by a mid-term teaching development day. However, this large amount of traffic presents a huge opportunity for schools to leave a more lasting impression.
To make use of this audience, you must first make sure that the page containing term dates is easily accessible from the home page of your website. Once users are on the term dates page, your aim is to make sure they don’t just leave your website after finding the information they want. You can do this by utilising hyperlinks and calls to action that direct users to different parts of the website.
To determine where you should direct parents, consider your school’s key aims, and the pages designed to help you achieve those aims. For example, if you want to increase applications for school places, signposting users to the admissions page would be a wise strategic move.
Digital Copies of Letters and Forms
When it comes to conveying messages, young children are unreliable, yet schools continue to put them in charge of delivering important letters and forms to their parents. How many of those communications actually make it home, no one really knows, so a more efficient backup plan is needed.
Many parents recognise that some letters may fall by the wayside, leaving them concerned that they will miss out on important information, or that their child will miss out on a school trip. The solution is to create a library of these communications that can be accessed by parents any day, at any time — and your website is the perfect place to host it.
Creating a page on your website for digital, downloadable copies of all letters and forms sent home is not just to the benefit of parents. Increasing access to these communications may improve attendance at events such as parents’ evenings or in-school performances and also increase the number of children going on school trips.
Updates on Life at Your School
Now that you’ve perfected the static elements of your website, and parents can easily find what they are looking for, it’s time to work on some ad-hoc content.
Parents always want to know what their child is doing at school, what they’re learning about, and what activities they’ve been enjoying. Regularly updating your school website with information about classes and pictures of children having fun will really help your website stand out from those of other schools.
Apportioning time during the week to writing class updates or news items to be featured on the school website is an investment that will be rewarded by parents in the form of increased engagement, improved sentiment, and an understanding of the hard work your staff put into each and every day.
Perfecting Your School Website
A website that is easy to navigate, filled with the information parents are looking for, and a fine advertisement for your school can help boost admission numbers, enhance your reputation, and vastly improve communication with parents.
If you want to discuss how Eduprise can help maximise the power and impact of your school’s website, get in touch with us today.