School Website Design 101: Essential Components

boy creating on computer screen

With increasing “most talented” competition in the education sector, schools are using everything at their disposal to stay ahead of the curve, including revamping their web design. In today’s tech world, websites are likely the first source of information for prospective parents or students looking to shortlist a school. 

Schools can project the perfect brand image with the right website design to boost engagement and enrollment. Of course, this is easier said than done because most schools don’t have much experience with web design. That’s why we’ve created this guide.

Define the Purpose

Your website must meet the needs of your website users. A simple and direct purpose on all pages will help users connect with your school.

What is your website’s purpose? Do you want to improve engagement with parents and students? Do you want to bring more diversity to the student body? Websites can serve many different functions, which will determine the overall design strategy.

Keep it simple letters on keyboard

Keep It Simple

It’s best if your website’s layout is basic. That doesn’t mean it needs to be dull, but it should emphasize the basics. A clean, practical design will make your website easier to load, navigate, and operate on multiple platforms.

Navigation Is Vital

If you want your site visitors to stay on your site, make it easy for them to navigate the website. While adding a lot of flair to your navigation menu may be tempting, simplicity and a clear information structure are much more important. Your readers will feel more comfortable navigating your website if your menus have a consistent format.

Be Smart with the CTAs.

What exactly do you want your website visitors to do? Subscribe to an email newsletter? Donate to a good cause? Consider the call to actions (CTAs); when designing them, consider how a visitor to your website would perceive them while browsing your site. If your design includes buttons, make sure the text is simple and clear.

Don’t Overdo the Content

Nowadays, people don’t have the patience to read a +2000-word blog post about your school’s mission. So, stick to the basics and provide only the information you know parents and students want. Support the article with well-placed CTAs and quick links that can take the reader directly to another page or to the information they are seeking.

Stay Clear of the Clutter

A clutter-free design can enhance readability and minimize user confusion. Using white space can also improve focus. It allows you to isolate elements and concepts so site visitors can quickly understand what they are supposed to see rather than have to dig through a noisy layout.

color swatches

Breath Life into the Website Using Colors

Choose a base color for the website design and a contrasting hue for key buttons and other interface components. Ideally, these colors should match those of your school’s logo and emblem. Such consistency will help you clearly express your school brand identity to every user who visits your website.

Use Easy-to-Read Fonts

To make your website material clear and exciting, choose an elegant font that is aesthetically harmonious and unique. 

Similar to choosing a color, you should select a font style that matches your school’s vibe and mission. The appropriate font for an elementary school site may be different than that of a high school website. But remember, friends don’t let friends use comic sans!

Enrich the Website with Videos & Photos

Now we focus on improving the visuals. 

You can give your school’s website a new look in the fall and spring by switching the slide show photos throughout the year. This also lets you highlight unique aspects of the school.

You can also include a welcome video at the beginning of each school year to welcome new students and parents. Remember to give families and parents access to all the information they need in a user-friendly way.

You could set up a scrolling banner for news and updates to ensure parents get critical information.

Integrate School’s Social Media

In addition to a high-quality website, schools also need to have a presence on social media. 

After all, most students are already active on these platforms, and more importantly, so are their parents. Social media platforms enhance the school’s ability to connect with all students.

Integrating your social media accounts into your school website is not only a brilliant idea, but these days, it’s crucial. 

An important step forward would be to have a live social media stream on the website. Social media plugins will help you with this. This way, you’ll incorporate social media accounts into the website and make it more lively.

Improve the User Experience

Your site viewers will not convert to clients if your school’s website is difficult to use. Here are five steps to make help effortlessly browse your school website.

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#1 Keep Smartphones in Mind

With people staring at their smartphones all day, it’s easy to expect that most of your website traffic will come from a mobile device. In other words, you cannot afford to have a school website that looks cluttered and confusing on the mobile version. 

You want parents and students to be able to easily navigate your site on their phones without having to constantly zoom in and out just to read a small block of text.

#2 Add Advanced Search Features

It’s also vital to consider how users browse the site and how the results will be presented. Adding features like auto-complete would also make it easier for users to search. Also, you can’t expect users to manually search all sections and pages to find what they’re looking for. 

#3 Use Headers

Catchy headlines are crucial if you want your visitors to read all of your excellent content. You can also use headings to separate content-heavy sections of your website. Whether a class blog article or a school news release, headings structure your material and make it easier to read.

#4 Don’t Talk Like a Robot

Don’t overload your website’s content with heavy jargon or “educationese,” making it difficult for visitors to read and discouraging them from engaging with your brand. Whatever you want to explain, use a friendly (maybe even funny) tone to grab their attention and to encourage them to read the whole text.

#5 Improve the Load Time

Visitors abandon a website if they have to wait for it to load. Nearly half of online users expect a website to load in two seconds or less, and they will leave a website that does not load within three seconds. Optimizing images can reduce your website load time.

Work On Your Website SEO

You cannot overlook your school website’s search engion optimization (SEO) if you want a great design to boost your school’s ranking in search results.

Of course, you can try to improve your SEO, but hiring a professional web service provider is better. But this is not a job you do once and leave it forever.

You must manage these processes regularly to get the most out of your SEO strategy.


#1 Keyword Analysis

A critical component of any SEO strategy is to rank for the right keywords. Simply put, without keywords, there is no SEO. Therefore, the first step to optimizing your school website should be a comprehensive keyword analysis.

You need to choose the ideal keywords for your school and students. You can use different tools to determine what keywords parents and students are already using to find your website. The best tool is Google Analytics.

#2 Work on Title Tags & Meta Descriptions

You need to create appropriate title tags if you want to improve the SEO of your school website. After all, that’s the first thing Google looks at when it tries to rank your website. So, you must always include your keywords and your school’s name in the title tags.

Creating ideal title tags can be difficult because you only have 50–60 characters. A professional service provider can help you with this. Meta descriptions are also of great importance.

They give you about 160 characters to explain everything about the page. Meta descriptions do not directly affect SEO, but they impact your visitors and grab their attention to the content of your school’s website.

#3 Include the Keywords

To optimize your school website based on Google’s algorithms, and incorporate your keywords in the subheadings and text, not just in the title tags. Of course, this may seem simple at first glance.

However, Google will not be pleased with the jamming keywords and creating an artificial flow. You must never use too many keywords. Keep it natural.

Give Parents What They Want

Parents make up a significant portion of your website visitors, so you need to consider them when designing your website. Here is some information that all parents want to see when they visit a school website.

#1 About Us

On any school website, the “About Us” page is one of the most frequently visited pages. Often, this is the first item potential parents look for on school websites. For this reason, you must make this page and its content as valuable and interesting as possible.

It is crucial that you include a brief and concise history of your educational institution, facts about the facilities and various programs, and any unique selling points that differentiate your school from the competition. You should also support the content with visuals.

#2 School Achievements

Prospective parents are curious about your school’s advantages for their children. You can make it easier for them to learn about this by showing student achievements in homepage photos.

Try including images of a tournament or simply of a student doing great at school. If your school prepares children for higher education or careers, you can also use the accomplishments of your former students as a wonderful marketing message.

Parents want to know that the school makes a meaningful contribution to their children’s growth.

#3 Resources

Never overlook the detailed descriptions and informative parent resources. These could contain information about the enrollment procedure, school regulations, curriculum, possible application requirements, and any fees and payments parents must make when enrolling their children in your school.

Break the information into paragraphs, and add bullet points and headings to maximize the impact. If visitors know that this information is easily accessible on the website, they will return regularly. This is also an excellent strategy to increase your engagement rate.

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#4 Contact Details

In addition to the contact form, you must offer thorough contact information for each department at your institution. Include phone numbers, email accounts, and social media buttons. Of course, you’ll also need to provide your school’s address and location and a Google map if available.

After all, this is the primary way for parents to contact you if they have questions that your website content does not address. Sometimes, even in today’s fast-paced and busy world, people still may want to speak with a real person now and then. Make it as easy for them as possible.

#5 Nice Teacher Profiles

Another thing parents look for on school websites is additional information about the teachers who will be teaching their children. 

Of course, they don’t want or need to know everything about every teacher; however, a nice photo with the name, primary duties, expertise, and contact information will make parents happy. Teachers will also feel respected and appreciated.

Test the Website

When launching a website, there will always be glitches to work out. It is critical to test your website and receive feedback before it officially launches.

If you have the funds, engage a quality assurance team to examine all areas of your website. It’s best to have people inside and outside your school test your website before it goes live.

Give them complete access to all links, forms, and services. In other words, if there is anything to do on the website, they should handle it. In this manner, any issues may be fixed before the launch.

Bring in the Right Team

Consult an expert to comment on issues such as navigation, design, and essential user routines. You may not implement modifications based on all the information you got before launch, but you should keep recommendations in mind for future revisions.

Of course, after reading all of these steps, it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed because there’s so much to figure out. Plus, there’s a good chance that your resources and staff are already tied to central tasks such as running the school, which leaves you little to use on website design. 

It’s probably best because there’s an easier, more affordable solution. You can bring in a reliable website service provider like School Webmasters to handle every step of the process while allowing you to focus entirely on the school. Our team is ready for your call and looking forward to the opportunity to design the perfect website for your school.