Consider the planning that goes into an open evening. Like clear signposting and friendly helpers. You wouldn’t leave your visitors to simply wander around looking bewildered. When it comes to figuring out how to plan a website for your school, the same attention to detail is needed.
Here are five things to remember when organising content on your school website:
Start with your visitors
School websites play a key role in attracting new parents. But you’ll have other groups of visitors too: parents of current pupils, teachers, Ofsted and more. Work out how many different types of visitors there are. Then consider what each group needs from your site.
Plan your route
Most visitors will start on your homepage, just like an open day starts at the front reception. Where should you send them next, so that they can get to know your school and find the information they want? Once you’ve created a route for prospective parents, think about the other visitor groups.
Put up signposts
Your website’s signposts are the navigation menu and the links you put on each page. Although it’s great to give parents a choice, too many options can be overwhelming. Stick to one route for each type of visitor. And don’t shy away from giving an instruction: Discover, Explore, Find out more, Click here.
Find your focus
Each page on your site needs a clear focus. Not only is this less confusing for site visitors, but it also lets you see clearly which areas are most popular. (Website analytics tools are available for free and collect this data.)
Include lots of voices
Parents want to know what your school is really like. Including different voices in your web content is the online equivalent of getting pupils to lead school tours. Starting with a clear plan will mean you can still get your school’s unique and remarkable story across.
Ask for feedback
You could consider a feedback form. Or you can make use of free analytics tools (like Google Analytics). They’ll tell you which pages have the most clicks – and how long visitors are spending on each one.
Sitemaps are a great way of visualising your site and maintaining focus. It can be all too tempting to get straight into writing, photography and design. But if your site isn’t clearly structured, you’re unlikely to get the results you want.
At Blue Apple Education, we never go near the design until we’ve understood your school and what makes it so remarkable. Then we structure the pages so that they fit what your prospective parents (and other visitors groups) need. If you’d like specialist help with how to plan a website for your school, please get in touch.
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