What do you REALLY need in a school website? This is actually a very important question. Different schools have different needs, so it is worth taking a few moments to think about your answer. Your response should depend on your audience, which is the parents of your students, your community members, your staff, and your students. Your type of school will change the expectations of your audience as well. But, there are a few areas that are universal, and if you don’t address them, you are bound to create unnecessary challenges for yourself and your school.
All parents sending their child to school want to know, and be reassured regularly, that they are sending their child to the school that will best meet their child’s needs. Sometimes parents don’t have many school choices, but even those parents want to believe their child’s school rocks. So, what does that look like, and why might partnering with School Webmasters, instead of one of the thousands of website providers, help you meet your audience expectations?
- If your staff is busy,
- if your school lacks necessary resources,
- if reputation and trust are important values,
- if time equates to money and staff time is considered valuable,
then having a service instead of just software can help you meet expectations and turn parents and staff from critics into supportive and enthusiastic ambassadors.
So, to tie together audience expectations with the actual website itself, this means that your website should always be:
- Informative: It needs to contain current and accurate information. This includes events, activities, schedules, resources, go-to information, success stories, etc.
- Educational: It needs to show your audience how your educational curriculum is building self-esteem in your students, creating a lifelong love of learning, providing them the skills to succeed in this world—whether it is in science, math, art, vocational skills, sports, character development, or leadership.
- Professional: It needs to be accurate, so that it reflects the goals you are striving to have your students achieve—including correct spelling, grammar, writing, design, communication, public relations, etc.
- Reliable: It needs to be a resource they can go to where they can find what they need, or at least the information about where to get it quickly and intuitively.
- Accessible: It is not only the right thing to do to provide a website that is accessible to those with disabilities, it is also the law. It also assures that you are inclusive of all website visitors.
The reality is that most schools simply don’t have the staff resources to develop and maintain a website that delivers at this level. Your staff is focused on what you hired them to do—they are highly skilled at their specialties. But usually those skill sets don’t include graphic design, copywriting, public relations, user interface strategy, and website best practices that includes keeping your websites ADA compliant. Even a full-time communications director seldom has all of these skills and must outsource some of them.
So, we’ve changed the game!
What we offer, which is far different from the rest of the crowd, is the staff to support your staff. We provide graphic designers, copywriters, content updaters, programmers, social media experts, quality control, marketing, and public relations savvy folks who can do the work of keeping your school’s website in top form, integrating your social media channels, and even implementing public relations strategies. We gather the front line information from your staff (and we make that easy for them), and then we take it from there.
You’ll never have to train your staff again to learn a new content management system, website accessibility standards, or style guide rules. You’ll never again have to check their posts to see if they did a spell check so you aren’t embarrassed about what shows up on the public-facing website. You’ll never spend hours of valuable time in meetings trying to determine what is intuitive and strategic in a school website.
We will be your dedicated professionals doing all of that for you, day in and day out. On top of it all, we’ll save you money because we can do all of this for far less than you could pay to keep it in house because of our work-from-home business model!
Get a no pressure pricing quote. Or, just give us a call and tell us what your school’s communication challenges are (call 888.750.4556 and speak with Jim). Then, if you decide our services aren’t a match for your school, we’ll even make some recommendations to some of our competitors who might better meet your current needs.
Want to learn a bit more about our processes or services? Here are some additional articles for your review:
- Why you might want to outsource your school website management
- Best practices for school website copywriting
- What makes the best school websites?
Bonnie Leedy, CEO, School Webmasters, LLC.