School Communication Best Practices

What Makes the Best School Websites? Part 2 2018-08-21

The best school websites serve many critical purposes. To accomplish those many objectives, they must also be functional, usable, and accessible (which we covered in Part 1).  Here we’ll not only cover what should be on a school website but how to target and satisfy your various audiences.

What the Best Elementary School Websites Have in Common—and Why It Matters 2017-12-26

Imagine a scenario involving two parents, Laura and Sue, who live on opposite ends of the city and in different school districts. Each has a child in elementary school. It’s early in the new school year, and on this particular evening, both women realize they need to download a copy of the school lunch menu. But here is where their stories diverge. 

Whitespace & Readability for an Effective School Website 2017-10-24

The blank canvas. The empty page. We want to fill print media with ink the same way we fill silence with words. It makes us uncomfortable, all that nothingness. If you are a customer, you feel cheated that you paid for, what exactly?

How to Get a School Website Redesign That Pays for Itself 2017-07-25

While a school website redesign can feel like a Herculean task, not worth the time or the money,  keep in mind that your website is your most important marketing and communications tool.

From Good to Great: School Customer Service 2017-06-13

Who could forget Seinfeld’s 1995 version of “the Soup Nazi”? He served the best soup on the planet. So good that his customers had to follow his ordering procedure (step into the store, move to the right side, proceed directly to the counter, order without comment, and step to the left) to get what they wanted, or they would hear the dreaded words, “No soup for you!”

Quality Control for School Website Management 2017-05-30

Quality Control. What, exactly, is it? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “an aggregate of activities (such as design analysis and inspection for defects) designed to ensure adequate quality.”

Does Your School Website Help You Become a School of Choice? 04/25/2017

School choice and the many possible options available to K12 education have created an environment of competition that was nonexistent even a decade ago.

10 Web Design Trends for School Websites 03/28/2017

Website design trends come and go. But, schools don’t typically do a complete website redesign to reflect fads, simply because of the complexity and expense involved. However, there are some trends that are not simply a fad and are moving from trend status to best practices status.

Style Guide for Website Content Writing 02/28/2017

Let's eat grandpa.

Let's eat, Grandpa.

This is one of my favorite examples of how punctuation can drastically affect the meaning of a sentence. An errant or missing comma has the potential to completely change its meaning. Its misuse as well as misspellings and typographical errors have resulted in extreme losses—some measurable, others not as measurable but nonetheless actual.

What Grade Does Your Public School Website Get? 02/21/2017

If your school website were to get a grade, how would it fare? Does it come out on top in the various subject areas like communications, customer service, marketing, branding, telling your school’s stories, or highlighting your successes? Find out how to bring up those grades and move to the top of your class. 

Use the Power-Packed Punch of School Social Media Analytics to Drive Your Posts 2017-02-14

You’ve tried everything—pictures, video, funny memes, poignant quotes, carefully planned-out social media campaigns, calls to action, links to thought-provoking articles from education organizations and experts in your field, even shameless begging—and still, crickets. Is anybody out there? What more can I do to get people to respond to my school’s social media posts?

ADA Website Accessibility, Part II 02/09/2017

If you are one of the tens of thousands of schools concerned about meeting the newly adopted website accessibility deadline of January 18, 2018, we can help.

Schools That Do More With Less 2017-01-31

Doing more with less is a beautiful concept. It allows you to simplify processes, be more productive, and use resources most effectively. For schools especially, the notion of doing more with less should be particularly appealing given stretched budgets, sparse staff, and ever-increasing to-do lists. Let me tell you how our friends at Ridgefield Public Schools (RPS) are managing their to-do list all while saving staff time and staying within their budget. 

What every school administrator should know about website accessibility 2016-12-14

Think of website compliance as the HOA of the Internet. While you sort of hate having someone telling you what you can or cannot do at your own home, you appreciate the fact that you won’t have the Griswold’s cousin Eddie’s RV blocking your driveway all winter.

Best Practices for School Website Copywriting 2016-12-06

What’s the secret to guiding your audience along a path in your school website? The answer: Copywriting with a destination in mind! With almost 15 years of experience, we’ve learned a few important lessons about writing school website copywriting tips that we’re happy to share with you.

Do You Make This Mistake With YOUR School’s Website? 2016-07-13

Managing your school website can be challenging. It isn’t enough to keep it current, informative, friendly, and positive. Handling your school website management incorrectly can land you with some expensive copyright infringement problems. Find out how to have a beautiful school website and out of image copyright trouble.

What Successful K-12 Schools Do Right 2015-12-15

School website management can be a huge advantage to your school’s branding and communication efforts. Find out what works and why.

What does your school need in a website? 2015-12-01

What do you REALLY need in a school website? This is actually a very important question, and different schools have different needs, so it is worth taking a few moments to think about your answer.

What makes an effective school website? 2015-11-03

There is so much involved in creating and maintaining an effective school website. And, to be fair, it is nearly impossible to expect your school staff to have the skill sets required to manage today’s website and social media without specialized training.

9 Reasons Why You Should Outsource Your School Website Management 2015-09-22

Yes, we are talking about outsourcing your school's website management. Not just the design of the website, which is quite common for most schools, but to include the ongoing content updates, proofing, copywriting, graphics, and content additions throughout the year.

All You Ever Wanted to Know about School Website Accessibility 2018-08-28

Website accessibility compliance has become front and center in the past few years for both schools and businesses. The history of the Americans with Disabilities Act started in the 1960s, but only recently have  the Office of Civil Rights and lawyers focused on website accessibility. Basically, if you have a website, you need to make sure it is accessible to those with disabilities.

What Makes the Best School Websites? Part 1 2018-08-14

This is a question every school leader should ask. A school’s website is one of the most effective tools a school has to improve communication, engage parents, market its strengths, and build a solid, trusting reputation within its community. These are all benefits that improve education for our nation’s students, which makes achieving them worth the effort.

What's Really Going on Behind the Scenes of Your School Website? 2018-07-17

If you are considering undertaking a school website development process, I imagine you are feeling a bit stressed. Or if you've tried it and are ready to hire professionals, you've come to the right place.

Is Website Accessibility Required for Independent Schools and Private Schools? 2018-06-26

With all the talk in the past few years about ADA website compliance for schools, the focus has been on public school websites. Public school websites must comply with Section 508 as they receive federal funds. But what about those independent and private schools? 

Going to the Source 2018-04-10

While backpacking recently with my family, I was reminded of the value and refreshing nature of trusted sources. We hiked deep into the Grand Canyon along a popular trail. While water was everywhere, and we certainly enjoyed every minute playing in the turquoise blue pools and staring at the spectacular red rock backdrop, there were really only a few places to access clean drinking water. 

School websites—the Swiss army knife of influence and communications 2018-01-23

One of the most powerful tools a school has when it comes to implementing effective school communications is the school website. It’s like that indispensable Swiss Army knife that has nearly every possible tool in one convenient location. 

School Social Media Managers: A Calm Voice amidst the Storm 2017-12-12

I was relieved when I logged in to Facebook this morning to see that a friend of mine had checked in as “safe” from the Wildomar Wildfire, a fire that was actively threatening the area where she lives. 

20 Tacky School Website Practices Schools Should Avoid 2017-11-28

If we provided the following list to most other industries, it would be old news. I’m pretty sure the whole article would get a response like, “duh!” from their readers.

3 Proven Pillars of an Effective School Marketing Plan 2017-09-12

No matter what kind of school you run—public school, private school, charter school, or faith-based school—these three pillars of an effective marketing plan should support your school communications. These elements will not only help you transition throughout the year from one focus to the next, but they’ll bring all your efforts together to strengthen your school brand and messaging and improve your public relations. 

What You Need in School Website Hosting 2017-06-20

When looking for a new school website hosting provider, there are some areas to consider before making your selection.

Make SEO a Part of Your School Marketing 2017-06-06

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and means that you put some strategy and techniques into your school website management to get free online traffic from unpaid (organic) results.

School Website Superheros! 2016-10-28

Find out what our secret weapon is for managing a successful website development project--and it's not what you might expect!

You Don’t Always Need 1,000 Words 2016-09-27

There is a reason we say, “An image is worth a thousand words.” Photographs stand out in text-heavy websites, draw attention, and increase memory recall. The best photographs communicate without any text; that is the power of visual content.

Is YOUR School’s Website ADA Compliant? 08/10/2016

If you haven’t received a letter or notification yet that your school’s website needs to be ADA compliant, consider yourself warned. Your school needs to get its website in order or face the consequences.

The 3 Simple Principles Behind Keeping Your School’s Website Current 2016-04-25

Learn how your school’s website can serve your audience needs while cultivating a positive school reputation using these principles.

Should Your School’s Website Be Responsive? 2016-03-29

The primary task of your school’s website is to facilitate effective communication. If done right, it can not only keep everyone informed, but it will improve morale and create staff, parent, and student enthusiasm for the school.

Effective School Communications is Possible 2015-10-27

The primary task of your school’s website is to facilitate effective communication. If done right, it can not only keep everyone informed but will improve morale and create staff, parent, and student enthusiasm for the school.

Parents: Talk About What Matters to Them 2015-10-06

I’ve been preaching for years that content is king. I’ve written numerous articles espousing this recommendation. However, I’m kind of old-school and I actually read content—on the Web, in books, in ads, etc. 

Think Twice Before Moving Your School to a WordPress Site! 2018-11-20

In an effort to save money, has your school considered using a do-it-yourself software like WordPress? If so, weigh the pros and cons first.

School Calendars: Your One-Stop School Communications Tool 2018-11-06

As school marketers, we sometimes become distracted by all the wonderful tools we have at our disposal—the website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and whatever the next new social media trend will be—that we sometimes don’t give one of the most efficient tools in our arsenal the attention it deserves. I’m talking about your district and school calendars. 

What Private Schools Do Right that Public Schools Suck At 2018-10-09

If we were to tell you just one thing that private schools do right that most public schools don’t bother to do, it would be to market their school’s differentiators. Maybe public schools see themselves as ubiquitous and feel they don’t offer anything different than every other public school in the country. However, I’m pretty sure that isn’t true. 

Why Transparency Matters in Your School Communication Strategies 2018-09-25

In today’s highly-connected world, it is more important than ever to establish trust. One of the main contributors to trust is creating a culture of transparency. To most of us, being transparent means you’re hiding nothing. You’re letting others look through a window into your world, throwing the blinds wide open. 

California Schools: Know Your State's Website Accessibility Requirements 2018-08-15

Beginning July 1, 2019, California law requires state agencies and entities to post a certificate of accessibility on the home page of their websites. 

California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 434 into law on October 14, 2017. Learn what this means for your school ADA website accessibility requirements.

What's Really Going on Behind the Scenes of Your School Website? 2018-07-17

If you are considering undertaking a school website development process, I imagine you are feeling a bit stressed. Or if you've tried it and are ready to hire professionals, you've come to the right place.

School Marketing: Using Testimonials 2018-06-19

Whether you’re managing school marketing for a public or private school, chances are you would like to grow your enrollment. More than a monetary investment, your school is an investment of time and trust for the families you serve. So what better way to show other parents what a great school you have than to let them hear it from other parents?

School Branding: How to Stand Out from the Crowd 2018-05-22

When many parents select a school for their child, they are selecting with their heart, not their mind. This is actually how we make most of our purchases as well. Branding is about winning the heart. It is an intangible. A feeling. An emotion. 

School Crisis Management: How Prepared is Your School? 2018-03-20

If you’ve been following our blog for any length of time, you know that we believe communication is at the heart of every school’s success. That includes your school reputation, public relations, school marketing, customer service, and crisis management. In each of these areas, without rock solid communication strategies in place, you risk losing control of the situation. 

School Websites and the Evolution of ADA Website Accessibility 2018-03-13

By now we’ve all heard of the Americans with Disabilities Act or the ADA. Interestingly, it was the by-product of the civil rights legislation passed during the 1960s. But with all the acronyms, sections, and titles, it can be a bit confusing for us lay folk.

This is NOT the End of Facebook! 2018-01-17

Despite what you may have heard, the Facebook world is NOT coming to an end. Still, with a term like “Facebook Apocalypse” being thrown around, we felt it best to spend a little time chatting with you about what Mark Zuckerberg’s recent announcement concerning the changes Facebook will be making to their algorithm means for you. 

School Website Accessibility Worries? 2017-10-06

We are getting daily calls from schools around the U.S. about what they are facing with the onslaught of OCR complaints filed against their schools.

Successful School Marketing 04/11/2017

School choice doesn’t necessarily mean that public schools have to suffer. One elementary school in Queen Creek, Arizona, is setting an excellent example of how to succeed and excel in a school choice environment. Even if your state is not a school choice state at this time, there is something to learn from this public school that is stealing enrollments from charter schools.

How to Have an ADA Compliant School Website 2017-03-21

Making sure your school websites meets ADA compliance requirements is now a necessity—not just because the laws for this are now being enforced but because it is important that you eliminate any barriers to access to your school website and the information you provide.

Need a Rock Star School Webmaster? 03/14/2017

Would you like to improve your school's communication? Start with your school webmaster's role. Learn what would be ideal in a perfect world and how you can make that a reality in your school.

ADA Website Compliance, Part I 2017-02-07

Your school’s website accessibility is coming under fire. In addition to a flurry of complaints being filed against schools across the U.S., Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act recently published updated accessibility requirements on January 18, 2017. This means that by January 18, 2018, you need to have your school’s website compliant with WCAG 2.0 A/AA standards.

School Social Media Management 101, Part 1 2016-11-08

So, you’ve finally seen the light and made social media a part of your school’s communication strategy. Congratulations! You've read blogs and e-books, watched DIY videos, and your school social media pages are up and running. Now what?

Don’t Bench Your School-level Websites 2016-08-23

When it comes to school websites, many schools don’t recognize their most valuable players and often don’t even put them in the game. Typically, all the focus is on the main office or district website. If you aren’t using your school-level websites as strategic communications tools, it is like only playing your second string all season.

Could your school use website help? 2015-12-08

Your support staff is busy, your teachers are overwhelmed, and administrators are wearing many hats. Now there is a solution to keeping your website current.

Effective School Administrators Know How to Listen 2015-10-13

Take note, today’s staff members want to be asked for feedback and to be heard.1 I think we also recognize that in addition to more frequent communication, how we communicate can mean the difference in how effective we are as leaders. This means better listening skills.

Choose Your Words Wisely…it matters! 2015-09-29

Are the words you are using undermining your school’s intended messages? The words used in all forms of communication can be some of the strongest branding taking place at your school.