Not too long ago, most kids automatically attended their neighborhood school. But today’s kids (and their parents) have many more choices. Public, private, magnet, charter, year-round, traditional schedule—the options are vast. For many parents, the first step in learning about a school isn’t through a school visit, but through the school’s website. What is the school’s culture, mission or priorities? Does it offer services or foreign language? What extracurricular activities does it have? How diverse is it?
The school website is the first place to get this information. And, just as when people meet, the first impression is often the last impression, and can quickly influence whether the parent of a prospective student seeks more information about your school.
The school website isn’t just for people who might be coming to the school—it’s a hub for students, teachers, administrators, parents and the entire school family.
Creating a website that is useful and that creates both an immediate and sustained impression is key.
To get a concise list of what characteristic make a good website, we looked at the criteria used by The Web Marketing Association for its Webaward, designed to identify the best websites on the Internet. They suggested the following aspects to consider.
We’ll add one more to the list: is the website mobile-friendly? With 60% of traffic coming from mobile devices instead of computers, it’s essential to make sure your website is optimized for viewers on the go.
We looked at some of the top school websites that have recently been recognized as engaging and effective by Webaward, Center for Digital Education, Wanttoteach.com and Web Design Degree Center. Many of the websites selected use photos to grab attention and start to tell a story, as opposed to an overloading of text. Check these websites out to see how their vibrancy, color, photos of real students and teachers and a sense of individuality make these websites successful.