A well-designed website for your school is important to make a great first impression and help stand out from the competition online. When executing a digital strategy for your school, you will want to consider how to attract visitors and how to keep parents and potential students engaged for long enough that they will understand what your school can offer them – both of which can be accomplished through a great website design.
Not all school website designs are equal – we looked at high schools, Prep-schools, elementary schools that were both public and private. What we discovered is not all schools get a passing grade for their online presence.
Why school website design is important
A well-designed website will help your school engage prospective students, educate their parents, and inform current students and alumni about important updates, events, or news. An effective website design will showcase your school in the best way possible through the use of great imagery, information on new and exciting course offerings, and upcoming events in the community, to name a few. Your website design plays a key role in whether someone might choose to apply to your school or choose to donate for any important renovations or resources necessary to provide the best education for your students.
Attract, engage, convert and get more applications!
Attracting new visitors for your school
The focus for our best school website design list was how attract new visitors, engage them with your website, and convert them into applicants or donors.
To attract new visitors to your school’s website – it needs fresh real photography, great functionality and content that connects with students and visitors.
Engaging your audience
Once you have attracted new visitors to your website, you will want to keep them engaged so they can learn more about your course offerings, staff and faculty, and sports and extracurricular activities. To keep your school’s website updated, you could include a blog, which might showcase student life, recap recent events, discuss new course offerings and student opportunities, or highlight specific teachers at your school. Other content to include on your university website might be a resource section for parents with updates on course offerings, community involvement, and activities their child can get involved in. By appropriately engaging your audience online, you can increase student involvement and satisfaction, improve your school’s community, and get more support and donations from parents and alumni to support improvements in your offerings for the future.
- Organized and simple navigation and page structure
- Inclusion of new website content such as a blog or resource section
- Good photography or video elements
- Social media integration
- Inclusion of value statements such as mission, vision, and values
- Detailed careers page to attract applications for professors and teachers
Converting visitors into students
Now that we have learned how to attract and engage your audience online through your school’s website design, the most important step is to focus on online conversions. A conversion is a visitor interaction with a website that translates to a targeted action. Here are some amazing stats on websites:
– The average website conversion rate is 2.35%
– The best websites have conversion rates of 11% or more
– The average mobile conversion rate is around 1.53%
The better the page and the better the form the higher your conversion rates will be.
Source Startup Bonsai
To improve online conversions, you must include well placed call-to-action areas throughout your website. These areas require your visitors to take some sort of action, which could include leaving their contact information, registering for a tour of your school, submitting an application to attend your school if it’s a private or advanced level school, or donating to support future improvements, research, or initiatives. Online conversions serve as a way to communicate further with current students and engage new students.
Inclusion of call-to-action areas to increase conversions:
- Landing pages
- Online newsletter
- Registration for sports or extracurricular activities
- Event signup online
- Online donation area
- Inclusion of contact forms
- Integration of payment systems
Better SEO for your school means more student applications
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a way to optimize your schools website for search engine use. When your school outranks your competition that means more people will click on your school’s website increasing the amount of student applications.
So how does a school improve SEO? By including new content on your school’s website, search engines will rank your school better as the website is seen as more relevant. Having a website design that is responsive on mobile devices can improve your online visitation and user experience by allowing people to access your website from virtually anywhere. By including these elements – on your school’s website design, you can attract prospective students and their parents to learn more about your school’s offerings.
- Include new content on your website
- Keyword frequency
- Backlinking and sitemap creation
- Improved hosting for performance
- Improved security
- Responsive design
Below are the best school websites we love and the features they embody: