COVID-19 taught us many things, and one of them is the vitality of digital platforms in promoting communication and engagement. Depending on how you look at it, a school website plays that role perfectly if fitted with the right components. It is incumbent upon school leaders to pursue custom school software or websites that allow them to future-proof their schools.
School websites offer varieties of services to students, parents, and potential students, which can vary from simple information about the school to virtual tours, online classrooms, and accessibility to library resources. A well-thought-out website design will maximize your school website’s utilization for the entire school community.
There are no fixed rules for school website design, but there are concerns or essential pages that should be on your school website. But to build a successful school website, you must know certain types of information your target audience would want to know more about.
For instance, you want to ensure your home page is as simple and to the point as possible. Content overload tends to distract people from getting the information they came to look for, and you do not want that for people visiting your school website.
You might also want to ensure that your school’s website is comprehensive enough to inform your audience of anything they would like to know about your school. In this case, your target audience could be parents with children in your school, parents looking for a school to educate their children, your school alums, well-wishers, and students accessing the school website.
This one of the observations we noticed when designing a school website for one of the schools in Murang’a county in Kenya. While countless schools can claim to have a website, very few have a functioning, one-stop-shop website.
Our position is that a functional school website is one that holds any public-worthy information about a school. An interested party does not have to visit the school to get necessary details such as its structure and operational information. If that information is not a competitive advantage or a threat to its operations, it should be in the public domain from the onset.
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This article will take you through the introductory pages that a successful school website should have for it to add value to its audience.
This is the page that serves as a landing page for your website. It should include and be limited to the necessary information about your school. These include an original and updated school image showing a typical school day, classrooms, and students. Etc.
- About us
This page should contain more information about the school, a detailed staff portfolio, school vision, mission, etc. This is the page where your prospects get a snippet of your school and staff.
To keep your students and parents informed about the latest news and events happening at the school or provide additional support through valuable informational blog posts, your school website needs to have a news page.
You should include your school contact details on this page, how prospectors, parents, and students can reach you. This includes your school social media handles, telephone contacts, email address, and map location of your school. It would make it easy for everyone to get in touch with the school administration quickly.
- Academic Programs
It is also essential to have a course/program page to provide detailed information about courses r programs that your school offers. This helps prospectors know whether you have what they are looking for and can even refer to you in the future when they need a program they saw that you offer or even recommend you to their friends.
Another vital component of a school website is a calendar/events page. This helps parents, students, and future students to keep track of important school events and working days.
In most cases, pictures speak more than words. For the best way of presenting your school, you should incorporate a gallery page on your school website. This will help your prospects to get a sense of the atmosphere and environment in your school. You could hire a photographer to shoot custom photos concerning your school on a typical day or share images from some of the events your school holds.
- Responsive design
You might have already heard or come across the term responsive design or adaptive design. A responsive design automatically reformats and resizes the website to fit the device’s viewable area in use. This is a crucial element of a modern school website. Also, Students and teachers often change schools or finish their time at the school. Your website should be easy to navigate through and make changes. Therefore, you should choose your designer carefully and ensure that they feature this on your site.
- Current parent focus
It would be best if you tried satisfying the needs of current parents with information. Your website should have this feature to allow your administration to speak directly to this audience and provide the most requested information with the most time relevant information like news and calendars. You can as well put a password to the section that all current parents will know.
- Revision materials and other documents
Permission slips, student handbooks, policy documents such as behavior in pdf save time and resources instead of printing and sending them home with students. Having this section on your website helps save energy and resources and makes it easy for everyone to access it instead of the cumbersome printed forms. Parents and students can click on the school website and access the documents.
Comprehensive planning is the most crucial thing in building a functional school website. The planning will help a school determine the essential items to include in the school website or omit.
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