When approaching your school website, you need to look at it as if you are preparing a meal for your school community. Prepare your ingredients, sourced from quality suppliers, providing top quality solutions with a tablespoon of love from your staff and a pinch of joy from your pupils.
- A qualified, experienced web developer to build the site
- Red Adair said ‘If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur’, and he’s not wrong!
- The design and build of your website is crucial to the entire recipe. Deciding to take a chance on a friend of your PTA who works out of his bedroom is not the makings of a bespoke, high quality solution.
- Take your time to review school website providers and ensure you have a conversation with them so you can assess whether you can work with these organisations. Ask them for examples of previous work, get a demo of their content management system and ask for references from other schools who have used them. Response times are important too so keep this in mind when conversing with providers – some bigger companies may struggle to keep contact.
- A design that is expertly crafted to reflect your school vision
- Your website design needs to sell your school, so your web developers should be able to deliver this in an engaging and professional way.
- Think about what you would like people to know about your school and what your school values are and make sure your developers know this, so it is at the forefront of your design.
- Make sure your staff are happy with the design – carry out surveys of different stakeholders using the initial design if you’d like.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for changes, this site is supposed to be representing your school so don’t agree to elements you don’t love.
- An engaged team of staff to plan the website strategy
- If all of your ingredients are complementary, then your website will gain buy in from your staff. Get them involved in the process and provide them the opportunity to get involved. Whether they are the subject lead or undertake after-school classes, they can each have an impact on the overall site.
- The process of developing a school website also provides an opportunity to reflect on everything that is amazing about your school and can often act as a motivational exercise for your staff and pupils. Get your pupils involved, they may ask their parents and the whole school community is then aware of your website and has had an involvement on the development of it.
- High quality imagery and video to showcase your school
- With competition for schools rising for pupil places, you need to make sure your website stands out from the rest when a prospective parent visits your site. Happy children, welcoming and happy staff all contribute to the overall feeling a visitor gets when they hit your home page.
- Do something innovative
- Engaging content
- You need to give people a reason to visit with a hidden ingredient that will make then want to look further into the site. Publishing content for Ofsted is essential but you also have other audiences who will be looking at your website – what are you doing for them?
Once your website is fully cooked, you then need to deliver it to your community. Launch your new website across all your marketing channels and tell people all about your site. How will they know it is there and what amazing things are on it if they don’t even know it is there?