8 Reasons Your School Website May Be Failing

10 Reasons Your School Website May Be Failing

It’s not something I like to discuss much. No one wants to hear the ‘F’ word. However, it is necessary. So here goes…

No matter how hard you think you have worked on your school website, it might still …FAIL.

All of the time and effort you take into building your school website may not get you anywhere. It occurs all the time and like it or not; just because you build a website you are not guaranteed success.

Some companies invest ₤3,000+ in a brand-new school website, and some companies pay less than ₤100.

It really does not matter. It still might fail.

Throughout the years, we have seen that there are 10 factors that can have a crucial impact on the success of your school website. I want your school website to be a success, so read on and make sure you are not making any of these mistakes.

1. Your School Website Is Too Busy

Just try to see your school website from the parents or pupils perspective. At first glance what does it look like?

Poorly designed school websites are often full to the brim with text and images. Any spare space is taken up with content. There are also usually lots of ‘special effect’ animations. In a nutshell, it is just too much! I won’t point any specific school examples to save on blushes, but suffice to say if you check this site out for chucking in everything, including the kitchen sink! Less is usually more!

So what can you do about it?

Effective school websites keep things simple and that includes the design and layout.
For a school website to be effective it should have:

  1. A unique, accessible design
  2. Mobile-first design
  3. Fast load times
  4. Simple navigation
  5. Informative and engaging content
  6. Optimized for search engines
  7. Safe and secure hosting
  8. It’s powered by a great content management system

Your potential parents are looking to do all 8 of the above points quickly and easily. When your school website is too busy, it sends a message that your school isn’t very credible. An excessive amount of content will mean your potential parents will leave your site just as quickly as they arrived.

2. Your Website is ‘Weeing’ itself!

When potential parents visit your school website they are not interested in you. They are interested in how you can help their children settle in to a new school and whether it is a good fit for them and their child.

So why do most school websites overuse ‘we’, ‘our’, ‘ ours’ etc. in the words used to try and persuade people to take action?

My answer to this would be they haven’t thought enough about what a potential parents wants and needs are and don’t understand that you are ultimately writing to them one at a time (even though many people can view a site at the same time).

Are you guilty of this?

So what can you do about it?

Go to your home page and if you’re using a PC hit Control F on your keyboard then enter the word ‘we’ with a space at the end and see how many times it’s used on the page.

Repeat the above for any other impersonal terms like ‘our’.

Then look at how many times you or you’re is used. The ratio of you to we should strongly favour the former.

If it doesn’t it’s time for a website rewrite!

3. Your School Website Is Not Mobile Friendly

Put simply, if your school website is not mobile responsive, then you are in trouble. Recent stats have stated that 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones.

When your school website isn’t optimized for mobile it can be a user experience nightmare for a visitor that is not on a desktop or laptop. Your site layout will be distorted and very hard to read. Navigation will be a nightmare and your visitors will just leave.

In addition to this, a mobile-friendly school website might help enhance your ranking on Google. Mobile-friendly websites get boosted in the search listings over those who aren’t.

So what can you do about it?

Speak to whoever built your school website to ask about responsive design. If you need help we are experts at producing Responsive Mobile Friendly School Websites.

4. Your School Website Is Unclear

Having clear concise navigation is one of the most important parts of a successful school website. No new visitor to your site wants to have to think too hard about how they should move from one page to another.

So what can you do about it?

Page navigation that is easy to use, will massively increase your visitors time on your school site. It ought to be easy to find pages on your website and navigate to them, quickly and easily. Ensure that all of your key content is within only 2 or 3 clicks from the homepage.

5. Your School Website Is Tacky

Above all, a school website must look professional. You wouldn’t go to a meeting looking like a tramp, you would be dressed smartly and give a good impression, so why would you take that risk with the image of your schools brand?

So what can you do about it?

Your logo is the ‘face’ of your school. I see so many schools that do not invest in this very important element.

DO NOT buy a logo off the internet or try to draw one from your program on your laptop. Get it done professionally. If you need help with your school logo design we can help.

School photography can add so much to your school website, but keep away from using homemade snappy snaps that are pixelated or blurry. These will instantly make you look like an amateur and harm your school brand.

Where possible, use professional photography or at the very least, some well-taken shots on an iPhone with a staff member that knows how to take a good shot.

6. Your School Website Has No Social Proof

You can shout about your amazing school on your website, but if there is no social proof, then potential parents are less likely to take you seriously.

Simply saying “we are the best” isn’t sufficient anymore. Backing up your marketing speak with cold hard facts will definitely boost your school credibility and conversion rate.

So what can you do about it?

You should use well known social proof identifiers – parent, pupil or alumni testimonials, any awards you may have won and trade bodies that you are a member of. If your school has been around for a few years, then you should also promote this.

7. Your School Website Is Just Too Vague

When potential parents visit your school website, they often have a goal in mind. They want to know more about what your school mission and values are, or existing parents may want o find the latest term dates. This kind of  information needs to delivered as quickly as possible. Don’t make matters worse by making them work hard to find out the info they want.

So what can you do about it?

Display your phone number and contact info prominently on each and every school web page. Make it clear where you’re located and what areas you serve.

A visitor ought to be able to visit your school website and get the information they require in no less than 30 seconds. If they cannot find what they came for, they will leave and not come back.

8. Your School Website Has No SEO

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is one of those things that seem like a dark art and impossible to get your head around. Schools still do not put much effort or trust in this really important part of your school website. Let’s face it, as long as people use search engines to find things, there will always be a need for SEO. So if you have not put a little effort into learning the basics of SEO you are going to be missing out on a huge amount of potential traffic to your school website.

So what can you do about it?

SEO is really not all that complicated once you get to grips with the basics. The Moz SEO Beginners Guide is a great starting point.

Alternatively, let us do the heavy lifting, whilst you do what you do best, which is running a successful school. We code great SEO good practice into every school website we build and can give you expert advice whenever you need it.

In Conclusion

A poorly thought-out school website is the quickest way to scare away a potential parent. Your school website is a fantastic shop window for prospective parents and also a very useful resource for existing parents. Follow our tips in this article and your school website will be off to a great start.

Let Us Help You…

Brothers Creative works in partnership with schools of all sizes to create some of the best WordPress websites in the U.K. We are a School Website Design Company you can rely on.

If you are searching for an experienced School Web Designer then please do get in contact with us – we would love to be involved in your next project!

Jason Brothers

Jason Brothers is the owner of Brothers Creative and his mission is to help schools succeed through unforgettable marketing both online and in print. He has been in the design and marketing industry since 1996, working with big brands such as Sotheby's, Royal Mail, American Express, and BP. Jason is from Northampton and lives there with his wife and three children.