The eight factors that make a school website both effective and efficient
Any survey of school websites will quickly reveal the enormous differences there are between one school's site and the next. Some look busy and active and are easy to navigate, others look, well, less modern and less sophisticated.
So what makes one school website successful, sophisticated and welcoming, while another looks a little dated and might be hardly used at all?
We've analysed hundreds of school websites, and found that overall there are eight factors which affect how effective a school website is.
First there is the most obvious point: is the website easy to update? Hundreds - perhaps thousands - of schools have websites where the updating takes a lot of time (which is often why they appear to be out-of-date). That should never be the case.
Next is the issue of mobile devices. Research suggests that 40% of people looking at school websites use mobile devices (and this number is rising all the time) - so if your site doesn't work readily on an iPad or a mobile phone you will be losing some of your users.
Third we must ask if the website portrays the image of the school as you want it to be portrayed. Is the look and feel of the website that which you wish parents and others to perceive?
After that we must ask if the site provides all the necessary access routes for parents, pupils, staff, and those parents considering the school for the first time.
- Can students and staff access the VLE?
- Can parents pay for school meals through the site?
- Can prospective parents see the options, timetables and syllabuses?
Our fifth point asks whether the site is welcoming and enticing for prospective parents - or do they feel that the site is really intended only for those already at the school?
This leads on to the thought that the website style should be consistent with the printed prospectus and other promotional materials. Is that the case?
Point seven looks at who manages the website. Can it be done within the school, with the option of out-sourcing if the school team is too busy?
And finally point eight: does the site comply with the ten Ofsted requirements and the legislation that came into force in 2012?
If you would like an outside view on how well your site is answering the above points, or indeed if you would like to find out more about how your school can use social media and how your school website can play a part in this development, please call us on 03330 124 907 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.