As a full-service web design agency, we have had the pleasure of working with some of the best brands in the education sector. This means we have designed and built some of the best school websites you can see online in the UK.
Every school wants a website they are proud to share; one that makes them stand out against the competition. But this is just one part of creating a stunning school website. When we start working with a school, we have to learn what makes them truly different so we can play to their strengths.
If you are a private boarding school, for example, your USP is not that you are a “home from home” or an “extended family” for your students. Every private school uses these phrases (and are never going to say any different) but this is not the sole USP to capture the attention of your audiences.
Some schools are in the centre of London, others are in acres of rolling countryside – don’t pretend to be something you’re not! As an example, some of the countryside schools situated in rural areas want to target London families, and we are asked to target search phrases such as “boarding schools London” for these schools and we can if they wish.
These rural schools can compete for the “London” based searches, but the bounce rate of these visitors is likely to be very high. This low relevance will result in poor quality scores, so can be a lengthy and costly exercise to get results. It is better to target people for what you are and where you are based. Be honest, be open, play to your strengths and do it well.
Some families feel every school they look at is ‘perfect’. These schools may be chosen by cost, religion, academic strengths, sporting accolade, past high profile students, personality, the headmaster, family history, location etc. or a combination of all of these. When you visit your current website, do your strengths and personality shine through from the first click?
What you chose to include on your website is equally as important as what not to include. So many schools try to cover every possible scenario and piece of information that has ever been asked for!
Of the available information on these websites, what is actually looked at by your audiences and what is just clutter that will never be used? It is worth checking your analytics and make a strong decision to cut away some of the clutter, which can dilute your message and make the website confusing for your visitors.
The content of your school’s website also needs to tick the SEO box, and cater for the organic searches you are trying to compete for. If you don’t talk about it, don’t expect to compete for it!
It is a fine art to do this without being repetitive (and in turn cluttering your website), the key is to focus on the search phrases that best describes your school. We carefully help our clients decide what these phrases are and work to the best possible outcome available.
So what does your school want? More boarders, more overseas students, more boys or girls, children with particular needs, a reduction in negative publicity? We can ensure you have a website that captures your school’s ethos beautifully, but more important we ensure your website attracts the right people.
Once you take your new website live, you are beginning an exciting online marketing journey, and we need to put this valuable asset to good work! Ensure you have a plan from go-live, and ensure activities are scheduled months in advance.
A couple of beautiful school websites that we have created that also perform well are:
We look forward to helping you with yours.