A new year (calendar or academic) is the chance for a fresh start. Goals are set, mistakes are relegated to the past and there’s generally a feeling of ‘newness’ in the air.
Whether you’re looking for a new school website design, wanting to improve your school newsletter frequency or finally getting round to filming that virtual tour, the new year provides schools and trusts with the perfect opportunity to put these plans into action.
Refreshing your brand
Before you start looking at a new school website design, you may want to consider if your brand is working hard enough for you and your organisation.
- Is your logo easily recognisable?
- Do your stakeholders resonate positively with your brand?
- Does your strap line accurately encompass the values and ethos of your school?
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, then you may benefit from looking at refreshing your brand in the new year.
It could as simple a fix as having your logo redrawn, to make it cleaner, larger and easier to use across your marketing materials. Alternatively, you might wish to go for a full brand makeover – with a new logo, brand guidelines, colour palette and stationery.
Upgrading your website
Perhaps you’ve got a new headteacher starting or your existing website is old, non-responsive and difficult to use?
Whatever the reason for the upgrade, a new school website can often help to showcase your school to prospective parents and employees, encourage new applications and raise your profile in your local area.
Alongside the option to create a new modern website design, the benefits of a new school website include content-sharing, enhanced security features, improved technology and faster load times. Adherence to GDPR regulations and accessibility settings will also give you additional peace of mind.
If a new website is not something you’re looking to invest in right now, then there are other options to still give you a ‘new year, new look’ website by making some small yet effective changes to your existing online presence.
Updating your content
Streamlining your sitemap and getting rid of any old, outdated or unnecessary content is also a great way to keep on top of your website and ensure it doesn’t get cluttered or too difficult to manage. Having quality content is key for keeping your parents and stakeholders informed and is also important for meeting the DfE website requirements.
Investing in a calendar sync between your in-school calendar (Microsoft, Google, MIS) and your school website calendar is the perfect solution to ensuring parents never miss an important date again.
Setting page reminders within your content management system for when to review your content is also a great way to keep on top of policy updates and changes. Just update the page as usual, then set a reminder for 3- or 6-months' time. Then, when the reminder comes round, you can just log in as usual and check if anything needs to change.
Making sure your website content adheres to search engine optimisation (SEO) best practice will help to improve your rankings and raise your profile against your competitors.
Keeping parents informed
As soon as you have a new piece of news to share, then ideally you want to be able to post it once on your website and then share it out to parents and carers via social media, email, text and your mobile app at the touch of a button. If you can easily add it your weekly or monthly newsletter as well, then even better!
Having your school website and communication software integrated into an all-in-one solution can save your staff time and money, especially if it’s possible to pull in MIS contact data too. Plus, if all your content can be stored in one system then it reduces the need for duplication and cross-platform support.
Reviewing your multimedia
The use of fresh, professional imagery on your school website homepage will give your visitors a great first impression, whilst using visual media to highlight your facilities, curriculum, ethos and approach will give prospective parents a real insight into a day in the life of one of your students.
With the rise of online open days and events, it’s more important than ever that a ‘picture really does speak a thousand words’ because parents may need to make a decision about your school, without ever getting chance to set foot on the premises.
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