Multi-academy trust (MAT) websites play an integral role in establishing the online presence of the schools they are associated with. The website provides crucial information regarding the trust and the new schools that can join the Trust.
One of the major benefits of a new school joining a Trust is that they get to be a part of a beautiful website that reflects their critical part in making the Trust successful.
Before we gain further understanding into what makes a great MAT website, let’s understand some of the benefits it can bring to a MAT:
- They guide the public perception of the MAT and their schools as authoritative and authentic sources
- They identify each school as a member
- They act as a source of information for the visitors from a trusted referral link
- They help to maintain consistency in design across multiple schools
- They are able to complete the design and development of the subsequent websites quite easily
- They prove to be cost-effective for MATs that would like to have a group of sites for their different schools
With an increasing number of Trusts willing to expand their services and make people aware of the advantages and benefits they have to offer, it becomes all the more important to make your Trust stand out from others. There are several ways to achieve this goal, but the best way would be to start with your Trust website.
Here are a few factors you may want to consider before revisiting your Trust’s website design:
1. Offer an amazing visual experience
People find it easier to connect with sites that help them navigate the site easily and access information, which is otherwise difficult to find.
There are plenty of styles that would suit the objective that your Trust wants to establish in the market, from professional photography to animated illustrations and video backgrounds. These all can be featured cohesively on your website to convey the brand and vision of your Trust.
2. Deliver an outstanding user experience
User experience plays an integral role in a MAT website. People will always remember experiences that saved them valuable time and access information without any hassle.
Some of the user experience elements can look really trivial but you will be greatly surprised at how these are often ignored in the design stage. Also, it can be really frustrating for a user to navigate endlessly through the website to find one piece of useful information.
3. Represent the brand of your Trust on the web
Your personal brand has a great impact on every aspect of your organization. It dictates how the vision, personality, and values of the trust are communicated to its stakeholders.
In fact, people will remember your Trust for a long time if the website is able to reflect the values and beliefs of your trust rather than just simple information.
To ensure you’re fully representing your brand, there are key pieces of information you should always have on your Trust website, including
- CEO and Leaderships team bios
- Information on member schools, including links to case studies and websites
- Your Trust USPs, values and ethos
- Latest news – what’s happening at your Trust right now?
- Recruitment information for both new schools and staff – with all of the great design work you’ve done and the way you’ve represented your brand, who wouldn’t want to join your Trust?
4. Adopt good social media practices
Search engines are not the only way through which people will be able to find your website. In order to gain maximum exposure for your Trust, you should also have a prominent social media presence. And for that, you need to create a robust social media content strategy for people to find you on the web.
5. Gain positive ranking through SEO
You can have the most beautiful website and the simplest of navigation, but it will be of no use if people are not able to find your Trust’s website. And Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will increase the possibility of your website appearing in the search results.
As mentioned earlier, there could be a thousand ways to make a great MAT website, but the most successful will be the one that is able to tell a unique story and make a great first impression.
Remember that great design is not just about incorporating pretty on-screen elements, rather it is about making sure your design is accessible and offers a great user experience. This will also help in a better understanding of your MAT brand.