Your website is a central part of your school’s communication strategy. When used correctly, it can engage new families and increase enrollment. Yet oftentimes, websites are developed and then left to collect (virtual) dust—think outdated information, clunky navigation, and content that doesn’t reflect your mission.
We’ve put together a three-step process to review and refresh your website to attract new families and engage your existing community.
Step 1: Review Your Website
Picture this: you are a prospective parent visiting your school’s website for the first time. What happens when you get there? Though an appealing design is one piece of the puzzle, two equally important aspects are content and functionality.
When content, design, and functionality are all in place, your website can serve as one of your top marketing tools.
As you walk through your site, think about these elements:
- User experience: Can new and existing families find the information they need easily? Does the flow of information need to be reworked?
- Content and design: Are the written content and design elements up-to-date and relevant? Does it build an emotional connection with your audience?
- Forms and integrations: What is it like to contact your school, apply, or get more information? Are integrations working smoothly?
- Responsiveness: Does your website look just as good on a tablet or smartphone as it does on a computer? What is the loading time for each device?
Step 2: Refresh Checklist
Next, we’ll take these core elements and give you action items for refreshing your site.
- Combine pages as needed to simplify finding relevant information
- Ensure high-traffic pages are in your main navigation menu
- Add important links to the footer of your website
Content and Design
- Update any statistics or data listed on your website
- Add new testimonials
- Update broken or outdated links within content
- Make sure your calendar of events is current
- Update logos and brand colors
- Add current images of students, families, staff
- Ensure graphics and photos are crisp and clear
Forms and Integrations
- Adjust form fields to reflect the information you need
- Double-check form submissions are being sent to the correct inbox
- Refresh auto-reply emails sent after form submission
- Test integrations (social media feeds, videos, sign-ins) to make sure they are working
- Adjust any website elements that are not usable on mobile, tablet, or laptop
- Test how long it takes to load your site on various devices
- Identify any images or videos that are slowing down your site
Bonus tip: Integrate your website into your school app for accessibility and a seamless experience for existing families.
Step 3: Write and Optimize Content
Content is what brings a school website to life. Beyond photos and videos, written content has the power to influence families to apply and enroll at your school.
Here’s what to focus on when updating or creating your website content:
- Understanding your audience so that you can write helpful, engaging content.
- Shaping a compelling school story that showcases your values, beliefs, and culture.
- Optimizing content using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that your website can be found by prospective families.
- Regularly tracking analytics like keyword rankings, number of visits, pages per session, bounce rate, and number of form submissions. These give you a tangible way to assess if your content is effective.
The Evolution of Your School Website
Your website should continue to grow and advance alongside your school. By periodically reviewing and refreshing your website, you can focus on other marketing initiatives knowing that your central hub is set up for success.
Looking for more information on any of these topics? Check out How to Attract and Convert Families With Your School Website for more information on responsive design, engaging content, and SEO.