When we think of what makes for a good website, we generally think of either a standard e-commerce platform or business site. If you are a parent, however, no doubt you have visited your children’s school’s website – how did you find the experience? Would you say it was a good website? Would you have persevered with it if you didn’t have important information you needed to find out?
What Doesn’t Make a Good Website?
If the answer was no to either or both of those questions, then think as to what actually made the experience a bad one. Was it the clunky navigation that made it difficult to find what you were actually looking for? The lack of any actual detailed information? Poor resources? Or did you just feel that the design, in general, was outdated?
These can all be key factors in a bad website that has either just been thrown together or has not been updated for some time. If you are the one that is responsible for a school website, then think to what it is you don’t like and what feature/blemishes turn you off a website, never to come back again.
Good, Clear Resources
When parents click onto a school’s website they do so for one of two reasons – either to help them decide on which school to enrol their child in, or to find out information relating to their child’s education. Either way, the website should incorporate clear and precise resources that are easy to find and intake.
For example, if the school’s marketing team has pieced together information and statistics relating to the school’s performance; don’t have it hidden away on the website. Either showcase this on your homepage, include a clear link to the page or download option or include in your navigation bar.
Also make sure that resources are available in the proper format. This means doing away with PDF calendars that aren’t regularly updated throughout the school year. Not only does this represent poor communication when there is outdated information, but it just doesn’t look great when you open a webpage to a PDF file that doesn’t fit the screen where the user has to zoom in and out.
How often do you use Google search on any given day? If you couldn’t use search terms to find information, instead relying on a direct pathway, would the internet be half as useful to you as it is now? No, it wouldn’t, which begs the question – why do so many websites refuse to add in a search option?
Popular pages should always be easy to find via the website’s navigation, but sometimes users want to access old pages that may be archived. By allowing the user to use a search option on the website, the user experience is greatly improved.
Show a Human Side
As well as being an easy to use fountain of information, remember that you also want to promote the school as a welcoming environment for students and parents alike. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to show some essence of personality!
Images and videos of activities involving teachers and students at the school help the user to connect on a human level, which is more than half the battle. More than this, images and videos help to reduce the bounce time of a website, greatly improving the chances of converting traffic. For more information on how features such as this can improve your school’s website, please check this site out.
If your school’s website doesn’t match the above criteria, it probably doesn’t do your school any justice and, if anything, is hindering the school as a business. If parents of potential students cannot use your website to answer their initial questions, or even to find the contact details of someone who can, they aren’t going to come back.