School website design plays a vital role in your school’s online presence. Like any other business, the aim of an educational website is multi-fold. It needs to provide information for new and current users while converting browsing visitors.
Unlike a commercial website, however, school websites often need to cater to a larger audience. Many school sites include portals for students, parents, and teachers, in addition to the broader information that can be accessed by anyone who lands on the website.
SchoolAdvisor asked Coffee Creative Studio for more input into what a school website needs to be effective. Having seen some of the live school websites (like the one they built for Kainon School – view website), we can sure see that they know what they are doing.
What Your School Website Needs to Succeed
Some of the must-have website design and development elements for a powerful school website include the following:
- Responsive design
With the rise of smartphones and tablets, responsiveness is more important than ever. Can your website be easily accessed on a smaller screen, across various devices? If not, you may find that your website success will suffer as a result. This is why it is so important to use a professional website designer rather than trying to cut costs and corners with an out-dated, non-responsive site.
- Effective homepage
The homepage is easily your most important page. This should be kept simple, but should also be useful. Students, parents and teachers should easily be able to find what they are looking for… specific portals, quick links to important or popular pages, news and events and images are just some ideas of what to include on your homepage. Put yourself in your visitors’ shoes and ask yourself how you can make it as easy as possible for them to use your website.
- Social media integration
Don’t assume that social media is only for celebrities, teenagers and businesses. Schools are using social in ways that connect, encourage learning and foster discussion. If your school has a blog, make sure that posts can easily be shared across major platforms through social sharing tools. Display your latest Tweets or Facebook posts on your site and make it easy for prospective students and parents to find you online.
- Smart navigation
How easily can visitors find what they need? Navigation allows information to be presented in a logical, simple way. Menus should be simple and concise, with sub-navigation kept to a reasonable number of pages. Ideally, each menu should have no more than 7 links to avoid confusion and overwhelm. Make sure that you have a button for home so that visitors can find their way back easily. Keep portals organised according to your audiences, with separate sections for students, parents and teachers.
- Streamlined top pages
Which pages are the most popular? These should be optimised and organised so that they are easy to access and read. Popular pages could include things such as a contact directory, school calendar, list of teachers, alumni, awards, notices or anything else that you want to highlight. You could even put pages like this into a separate menu, titled ‘Important Links’.
Coffee Creative Studio offers a range of professional website design and development solutions for schools, businesses and other enterprises. To find out more about getting started with your school website, contact us today and let us know how we can assist.