Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Apple, Gucci, and Toys R Us. You may love or hate them, but when you read each of those names, you know who they are and what they stand for. In other words, they have done an excellent job of conveying brand identity.
Believe it or not, your school isn’t that different from Coca-Cola. You are part of a specific industry—the education industry—with stakeholders to engage and impress and a reputation to portray. Whether it’s a teacher looking for a potential position at your school, a parent thinking about the right placement for their kids, or a student researching the best school to help him reach his lofty goals, they need to understand your strengths and the benefits of going with your company/your school.
Of course, people know that the internet, i.e., a good website, is the perfect place to get that basic information. That’s the importance of making sure your school has a quality website, and that’s why you cannot afford to make a miserable first impression.
Let us show how to use your school’s website to effectively communicate your brand and stand out as one of the best school websites in the industry.
A Perfect School Website to Communicate Your Brand
Yes, even educational websites must go through the process. If you want your brand, story, and identity to shine through your school website, there are specific website details and features to in mind.
1. It All Starts with the Homepage
When users visit your school website for the first time, you have about five seconds to make an excellent first impression. That’s why your website homepage plays such a vital role. As quickly as possible, on that first visit, you want your community (parents, students, teachers) to easily find the answers to these questions:
- Who are you, and what kind of school do you have?
- Why did you start this educational institution, and what is your goal?
- What makes your school different?
- What do you value at your school?
Who can answer these questions? Whether your founder, CEO, teachers, administrators, or even students and parents, it would, most likely, be those who’ve been around a long time and really understand your goals and what you represent.
Then, of course, you need to put such answers into a unique, lively package to make it attractive to visitors.
2. Tell them “About Us”
There is simply not enough space on the homepage to answer all these questions. An “About Us” page is the perfect place to tell your unique story, what sets you apart, and even introduce some inspiring personalities on your team. You can also outline your school’s goals. Whatever the story is, it needs to be quick to access, easy to read, and relevant.
3. News, Blogging, Videos & Images
Now that you’ve told about who you are, will you stop? No, because your story isn’t finished yet. You need to keep the lines of communication open and keep users informed.
A great website with no news or updates for three months or longer is not a great website. Keeping parents regularly informed is imperative.
Let parents/students experience your school with a virtual visit or tell about the latest happenings at your school via videos and engaging images. You can also develop creative scenarios with teachers and staff to make your school’s website even cooler.
A good school website also needs a blog, which increases your site traffic and helps your search engine optimization. Be sure to check them periodically to make sure there are no broken links.
4. Stay Relevant to Your Stakeholders
This is the most fundamental point that educational organizations overlook when creating their brand. We must emphasize its importance. Everything you put on your website needs to be tailored to what you do and to your website audience.
For example, someone visiting a high school website isn’t interested in information that should be on a kindergarten website. The content of these two websites is vastly different. Likewise, parents who have new students with language learning or severe special needs will, most likely, not stay long on a website that gives the first impression of being only for the most gifted and advanced students in the community. And vice versa.
You need to create a site that clearly tells your website visitors who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish. Don’t confuse them with irrelevant gobbledygook!
5. Use a Clutter-Free Layout
A cluttered design or layout on your educational website can make so much noise that it easily drowns out your message. Now that you’ve created relevant content to let parents know who you are, you must lead viewers to easily recognize it. Your educational website will achieve that with a clean, easy-to-navigate layout.
6. Open Portals to Social Media
You know that social media dominates the web these days, and if you don’t have a presence there, you virtually don’t exist. You want to direct your website visitors to your social channels to keep them updated and engaged with your school. That’s why you need to place social buttons (small Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter icons on webpages) prominently on every page. These are the gateways to your social accounts.
Can You Do it On Your Own?
After reading and hearing about these points, some schools might jump right into executing the process with the resources already at their disposal. You may have the same plan in your mind for your school. You can absolutely go for it, and we wish you the best of success. However, for the following reasons, you may conclude that you’re fighting an uphill battle:
1. You Need Experience & Expertise on Many Levels
Creating professional, efficient layouts, producing engaging content, and keeping up your social sites require different sets of skills and expertise that are usually a bit hard to find in schools. That’s entirely logical because you’re an educational institution—not a website provider firm.
2. Training People Doesn’t Come Cheap
Yes, you can acquire that expertise by training the staff at your schools. However, the cost to set up the infrastructure and bring external experts to train and evaluate your staff’s performance can be out of budget. Plus, think about how many experts you’d have to bring in to handle different areas. You’re not working in just one dimension.
3. Competition Won’t Give You an Eternity
You’re not operating in a vacuum. Many players in the education sector with well-defined brands can quickly snatch talented hires and promising students away from you. You don’t have forever to train your employees.
4. Your Plate Is Already Full
Everyone on your team already has specific duties, which doesn’t allow enough time to handle website management too. You want them to focus on their main job and not chase down two rabbits.
What Is the Solution?
So, you need to optimize your website fast and cannot solely rely on your team. This is where a reliable website provider comes in, offering you their skilled team, infrastructure, and website development experience.
Don’t waste all that precious money and time when you can bring in a professional website provider to handle everything from website design and management to social media and public relations.
We Take You Step By Step
At School Webmasters, we can help your school show your brand’s identity. With us, you can turn your platform into the perfect school website where you make an excellent first impression. We do not offer a typical customer management system, and you won’t have to ever worry about things such as functionality, responsive mobile devices, or ADA compliance.
Here are just some of the forces that we put at your disposal:
Our experts recommend proven strategies and help with developing and carrying out the right action plan for your high-quality, new website.
Copywriters & Designers
Our copywriters use their magic touch to create engaging, relevant content, attracting parents and students. Our design team complements this detailed information with custom graphics for your approval.
Once the website is live and running, our web admins can take over, incorporate your staff’s updates, and make sure the website is easily accessible on all desktop and mobile devices.
Quality Control Experts
Even an exceptionally good school website won’t stay that way without constant monitoring and management. Our quality control team closely monitors your website, makes the necessary adjustments, and contacts you when needed.
We’ll be the professional squad by your side day in and day out. Plus, we save you money and time while helping you establish yourself as the best educational institution in your business.
We know every student’s education at your school is of the utmost importance to you. We’d love to help ensure your websites help, rather than hinder, progress toward your goals.
Judy Bittner, Project Management Director, School Webmasters