Does your school website have an image problem?
A school website is a great place for your prospective and current parents to go for information. From school menus to photos from the end of year play, your school community will be using your school website in many practical ways. But how well are you showcasing your school? How easy is it to use? And how does it compare to other schools locally and nationally?
In many cases your school website will be the first impression visitors get of the school. Make sure that all important first impression is a good one!
We take a look at some common things to consider.
Does your school website look attractive?
At a quick glance does your school website make a good first impression? Would you want to explore further? Or is it cluttered with too much text and long messages on the homepage which may prevent visitors from getting much past the homepage on an initial visit? Your website homepage is a bit like the entrance to your school or the school gates. You want visitors to get excited to cross the threshold and find out more. You want people to feel welcome, and to get a sense of what your school is about, to entice them further. Keep it bold and clean, not cluttered and uninspiring.
Is it mobile friendly?
We know from our own statistics that over half of your parents will use their mobile device to access the school website. As most people have a smartphone but not everyone has a laptop or wifi at home it is a key consideration when looking at your website design. If you only ever look at your school website from your laptop or desktop computer, take the opportunity to load it up on a mobile phone or tablet and see the difference. Can you still access the menus as easily? Do photos and labels show up properly? Can you find the news items? Your website should be responsive – meaning it adapts to the device the person is using to view it, displays text larger, provides a special mobile menu and avoids pinching and zooming.
Is it easy to navigate?
As well as drop down menus your school website could include quick links with icons to navigate visitors straight to the content they need most. Include elements for your current parents – term dates and news items – as well as those things a prospective parent might want to see – the headteacher’s welcome message or registration information. Have a look at your website and set yourself the challenge of finding a few things you know your parents often ask for – policies, curriculum info, photo galleries and so on – and then count how many clicks they need to use to get to them. If it’s more than 3 clicks to each page consider if there might be a quicker way to present information to parents to save them time and potential frustration.
Is your school website up to date?
If you have a Twitter feed (or other social media wall items) or events and news items feeding onto your homepage make sure you have a system for keeping them regularly updated. If your latest news item is more than a term old then you might find parents have to go digging too far to find relevant information. Parents will often go to the website to find the current menus, INSET dates, school trip info and upcoming assembly times, so keep on top of that information for them to ensure the school office do not have to deal with loads of calls and visits to get simple information. Our CMS is so easy that just half an hour a week by someone in the school office can cut down on the need for phone calls and queries and easily make that time worthwhile.
Is your school website GDPR compliant?
GDPR compliance is a big deal and you no doubt have completed training on this fairly recently. As a specialist provider, we are of course GDPR compliant and our terms of service include a Data Processing Annex sufficient to meet your obligations under Article 28 of the GDPR.
Is our school website Ofsted ready?
Our Statutory Requirements Checklist is a free download and can help you to ensure Ofsted find everything they are looking for when you get “the call” – one thing you can tick off your list in advance! Our easy-to-use CMS helps you to add the pages you need and we can also advise you on the best navigation to help Ofsted find all the documents and evidence they need on their pre-visit checks.
Is your school website accessible?
Many of our school websites already have a range of accessibility options such as the ATBar on The Cedar School’s website and our icons which show clearly that the options are available for all. The ATBar can be added to your school website so that visitors can change font sizes, have text read aloud to them, and use coloured overlays. It can help anyone with visual impairments, dyslexia and other reading difficulties and is designed for people who do not have assistive technology but who find adjustments help them to navigate the internet comfortably and with ease. You can also create a website design which reduces glare – such as having a dark background – or by thinking carefully about the fonts and colour schemes for your site.