In the web design world, there are a plethora of fancy features that are implemented in school websites to enhance user experience. These could include videography, pop-ups, interactive polls, the list goes on. While they are great add-ons, and can definitely add a layer of complexity to overall user experience, it’s more important to focus on perfecting the basics first.
Every school has unique needs and requirements to ensure a smooth web experience for parents and families, but there is a set list of features that are essential building blocks for your school website. These essential features hone in on the experience of the user, instead of highlighting flashier, more specific features that can slow your website load time and create more frustrations in the long run.
Keep it School Parent Centered
If it doesn’t already, your school website needs to focus on the experience of current school families. How easy is it for parents to find the information they are looking for, whether it be contact information, tuition updates, school calendars, etc.? The workflow of navigating your school website should feel effortless to parents and all necessary information should be easy to access.
A way to ensure your website is designed regarding the experience of the current parent is to develop a page specific for current school families.
This school website feature can include frequently asked questions, curriculum updates, school event notifications, volunteer signups, and any other information pertaining to current school families. Connect all tools to this page like apps, newsletters, email, and other assets so all appropriate links and content are in one convenient place for parents.
Prioritize Your Admissions Funnel
One of your main priorities as a school marketer is to attract new students and increase enrollment. A parent’s choice to send their child to your school is a significant decision, and your website should answer the questions and address the concerns parents have around admissions.
First impressions are everything— if a curious parent is browsing your school website and isn’t engaging with the content, they will move on to the next school.
This is an opportunity for your school’s “About Us” page to shine. Be sure to communicate why your school is unique and what makes it great. This can be portrayed through highlighting a strong mission statement or school values, testimonials from happy school families, even case studies with research that backs your instruction style. Another great tip is to invest in high quality photography and other branding to ensure your website has a professional look.
School Website Calendar
Building a school calendar with weekly, monthly, and yearly layouts is a huge favor for busy parents. Having all school events, PTA meetings, sports schedules, volunteer opportunities, and more in one spot on your small school website will help school families stay organized.
To boost engagements with a school website feature like an online calendar, include signup links and contact forms within the calendar events. For example, the text in a calendar event could read:
“Autumn Fair Day, October 9, 2:00PM-6:00PM. Click here to sign up as a volunteer. Click here to donate a basket to the family basket auction.”
Having links included in each calendar event makes it easier for parents to keep all necessary information in one spot— this way they don’t have to go looking through your website for sign up forms. Another way to boost interactivity is to open the opportunity for families to create calendar events through the school website and submit them to the administration to be placed in the school calendar for other families to register.
Media & News Page
School news pages serve two purposes: keeping school parents informed and sharing inspirational stories. An important avenue for communicating the greatness of your school is through news, or blog posts, like a WordPress blog built into your school website. Blog content could range from student and faculty profiles, covering a school event, a frequently asked question post around a certain topic, the list goes on– be creative!
Additionally, you can set up a newsletter that delivers weekly, biweekly, or monthly, that populates both in school families’ inboxes as well as your website.
Contact information is arguably the most important information on a school website. How to contact your administration, guidance offices, and other faculty is information that must be easy to locate on the school website. If parents are concerned with a matter or need to discuss something with your staff as soon as possible, frustrations will grow if they can’t easily find the email or phone number they are looking for.
You can set up a “Contact Us” page that has an inquiry form for general school questions that may not be as timely.
Another school website feature tip is to include location details on your “Contact Us” page, built with a map of the property, parking information, a Google Maps link, and other location logistics that could be helpful to parents.
Is your school website ready to be optimized for great user experience? Contact us TODAY for a free 15-minute consultation— let us help you achieve the school website of your dreams!