Recently, my daughter’s second-grade class participated in a project where the class observed the life stages of the butterfly. She eagerly shared her experience with our family on a regular basis. I’m grateful for teachers who take time to take education up a notch through hands-on learning.
The change occurring between the caterpillar eating a leaf and the butterfly visiting flower patches is always amazing. Their life begins as barely a literal bump on a log, or leaf rather, but they are destined for greatness.
Similar to the butterfly, the transformation of a dated school website here at School Webmasters is extraordinary! Just as the butterfly has various stages it passes through before it takes its ultimate and beautiful form, website development at School Webmasters is distinct, innovative, and beautiful.
The School Website Journey from Concept to Reality
Unlike a butterfly born preparing to transform, schools aren’t always sure what steps to take in order to maximize their school website’s potential.
Perhaps a school feels like something is missing on their website. Perhaps the current school website is crowded and outdated. Maybe your school website isn’t responsive, accessible, or ADA compliant. Whatever the circumstance, the option to task a school employee with making all the needed changes and updates to the school website just isn’t feasible.
When a school or district is ready for our help at School Webmasters, we are ready for the challenge. Follow us in this blog as we take a sample journey of a school’s website from concept to reality.
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How Long does Website Development Take?
A butterfly transforms inside its chrysalis between 5 and 21 days. At School Webmasters, a website transformation typically takes between 5 and 8 weeks, while various teams work to help the school align expectations, goals, and communications plans. This time frame varies depending on the level of site complexity and your school’s responsiveness to requests from our project coordinators.
Our Level I standard template sites and Level II customized template websites transform quickly because most of the design work can be done with fewer dependencies on school staff. If your school selects a fully custom, premier school website design, the process requires a bit more time and input on your part. All School Webmasters websites include everything from photos that reflect your school’s brand and personality to professional copywriting.
The process goes much more smoothly when a school knows what it wants, and responds quickly to questions.
Phase 1: School Questionnaire and Project Management
Before getting started, we want to know what your website dreams and goals are so we can make a plan to bring them to fruition.
Your project coordinator will send a questionnaire for you to fill out, which will aid in smooth website development. The questions prompt answers that help us understand what you are looking for regarding both content and design preferences.
Representatives from the school involved in the website development project will meet with their project coordinator, who will be their single point of contact throughout the process; the project coordinator will be with them every step of the way.
The project coordinator helps schools answer important questions that lead to an impressive new school website. Here are just a few questions we ask:
- What does your school hope to accomplish with a new school website?
Determining the school website’s primary purposes helps us create the perfect website for your school. Your new website will help you achieve your communication goals in various time-tested ways. And if the school website needs to be ADA compliant, School Webmasters is a master of that too.
- What pages does your school need?
Beyond a Home page, there is a wide variety of potential pages to help schools offer valuable and useful information. For example, typical pages include About Us, Events, Programs, Faculty and Staff, and Contact Us. If you’re not sure about this question, never fear! Your project coordinator will be there to help you.
- What type of calendar would be the best fit for the school?
There are a few different calendars available from School Webmasters, and what works for one school doesn’t always work for every school. Depending on your various departments and your athletics or other programs, your project coordinator can help you determine what kind of calendar will best fit your school.
- Will the school be using stock images or their own photos?
Our graphic designers will use either, according to your preference, to ensure the school’s website makes a statement.
Phase 2: Design
Butterflies don’t get to choose their patterns and colors but schools do! Along with the school questionnaire and general inquiries, your project coordinator will help you select a design from School Webmasters’ library of options unique to our company. We also help when schools select the custom website option to build a one-of-a-kind prototype.
Check out some examples on our portfolio page for some school district websites.
Phase 3: Graphic Design
Ever been amazed by the colors and designs in nature? Our graphic design team comes close. Schools that choose School Webmasters for their website development and management choose a company dedicated to website design that reaches audiences on multiple levels. Our graphic designers work tirelessly to make every page of your school website pop. Pictures and images tell stories too and truly speak a thousand words, at least!
Once you approve the design prototype, our graphics team gets to work customizing your entire website with the creation of new graphics throughout the new site. The team makes the site unique, attractive, and ADA compliant. If the school wants to use their own images, School Webmasters can help you choose the best ones with a list of recommended photos that will really make the school website stand out.
Phase 4: Copywriting and Site Maps
For the butterfly, things are happening under the surface. For the school website, the project coordinator is hard at work gathering information and communicating with the school regarding various needed information all while coordinating with the various School Webmasters teams. While your graphic designer is designing the school’s website, one of School Webmasters’s copywriters is hard at work, pouring over your school’s old website and the newly-collected information you sent to the project coordinator to compile and write compelling content specifically geared toward your school’s target audience.
Just as we don’t encourage our kids to put dirty socks on clean feet, School Webmasters copywriters don’t copy and paste your old website content to your brand new website; this is something you won’t get with most other website developers who plug your old, outdated copy content into a new design. Our copywriters rework a school’s existing copy to make sure it’s professional, welcoming, and current on every page.
School Webmasters’ best practices and years of experience ensure that our copywriters write copy that is centered on information that will help the school or district answer key questions people might ask. From an orderly site map, the site is concise, organized and intuitive to navigate. Then, we check and double-check every school’s new content prior to passing it on to the next step in the website’s journey.
Phase 5: User Interface Design
Towards the end of metamorphosis, the butterfly is visible inside the chrysalis. It looks like a butterfly! At this point in the website design, the end is in sight! Once a website reaches this point in its journey, School Webmasters’ user interface designers put the text from the copywriting team and the graphics from our graphics team together with the wireframe design the school has chosen. They make sure your new website is responsive (it will look great on a desktop, tablet, or phone) and ADA compliant.
Phase 6: Going Live and Server Management
When all of the changes are complete, the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. And now it’s also time for the new school website to emerge. We’ll give you the information you need to take the website live, and you can decide when to flip the switch. School Webmasters gives each of their school websites a safe and protected home on its fully managed cloud servers. If something goes wrong with your website, School Webmasters will take care of it. The school can rest easy knowing that there will be 99.99% uptime and backups will be managed and fully redundant. It’s all managed offsite so the school can rest easy.
The whole process might seem extensive, but our team of amazing professionals is up to the task! School Webmasters has been transforming school websites for over 15 years. We’ve made this transformation trip more than a thousand times!
As the butterflies emerged from their cocoons in our daughter’s class, the students witnessed a series of miraculous transformations of design and color. While the cocoons provided privacy for each butterfly, nature took its course—and what a sight!
Just as the caterpillar is destined for greatness, every school deserves to be able to communicate all that is helpful, beautiful, and inspiring about their students and school community.
The transformation of a dated school website here at School Webmasters is truly extraordinary—especially considering the various phases of development involved in creating a new school website here at School Webmasters. What our company offers is distinct, innovative, and professional. And, we think that’s pretty amazing!
So, if you’re ready to find out more about how your school website can be transformed into something extraordinary, just give us a call at (888) 750-4556.