School Jotter Podcast – School Web Design, Accessibility and School Podcasting

Published: May 24, 2023

School Jotter Podcasts


School Jotter Podcast – Website Accessibility


School Jotter Podcast – School Podcasting

Top 3 Features That Are A Must-have For A School Website Calendar

Published: January 9, 2023

Around 41% of parents agree that they would like their child’s school to communicate with them more often.

School communication, both internally between teachers and students and externally with parents is one of the foundations of effective all-around learning.

School website calendars are a means for schools to organise school events as well as keep everyone from teachers, staff, students, and parents in the loop about the happenings at school.

Let us take a look at ways to optimise the functionality of your website calendar that strengthens communication between schools, students, and parents.

3 features of a school website calendar

A school website calendar is a schedule of all school events during an academic year displayed on the school website for everyone to see and use. School staff, students, and parents use this to keep up with the school events and not miss out on anything.

A regular school website calendar will include:

● Term time dates

● School holidays

● Activities and events such as Sports Day, Book Fair, etc.

● Examination dates

● Inset days & teacher training dates

Here are the 3 features that are a must-have for your school website calendar.

1. User-friendly for parents and staff

The purpose of a school calendar is to help teachers and students pre-plan activities and stay ahead in their curriculum. This is why the most important feature your calendar needs to have is user-friendliness and ease of use.

The calendar loses all its purpose if the people it is meant for are not able to use it the way it is intended. The interface should be personalised, meaning a user will only see events that pertain to them.

For example, a student who has opted for drama classes but not for music classes should be able to view all drama class-related events and no events related to music classes. This keeps the calendar from becoming too convoluted.

Secondly, not everyone is well-versed with technology. They should be able to view and use a calendar without putting in much work. Steps to set reminders and highlight events should be simplified.

2. Personalization and customization

Another important feature to have is one that facilitates personalization. Parents and staff should be able to use the calendar how they wish to. This could be in the form of highlighting events that pertain to them or hiding/silencing ones that don’t.

We have already talked about setting the calendar to your personal setting such as only seeing events related to the classes you are a part of or interested in. This helps in keeping the calendar clean and organised.

People can always access the ‘master calendar’ to view all the events at once whenever they want. Moreover, you should make sure that people with disabilities are also able to have a personalised experience with your calendar.

3. Mobile-friendly experience

Over 55% of website views come from mobile. Your school website calendar should provide a mobile-friendly experience to make it accessible to all. See if the font, images, and graphics are well-suited for a mobile layout or not.

A way to put your school calendar in the parent’s pockets is via mobile apps. Make your calendar a key feature in your school mobile app. Enable it with features such as notifications and mobile-friendly UI & UX.

This has the dual effect of not having to remind parents or teachers to check school calendars regularly. And they will receive reminders about events with ease. They will not have to go to the school calendar on the website anymore, the school calendars will come to them, so to speak.

Conclusion

School calendars are an excellent way to keep everyone associated with schools in the loop about their workings. When creating a school website calendar, your focus should be on making it user-friendly and accessible.

Everyone from the staff, parents, teachers, and students should be able to view events that pertain to them and plan for them accordingly. Making them Mobile-friendly goes a long way in integrating school calendars into the daily life of people seamlessly.

6 Hard Questions To Ask Your School Website Provider

Published: July 25, 2022

When it comes to building and maintaining a website, it is crucial that you conduct thorough research before getting started. There are several features to look for, ranging from a server location to website security. Your website provider’s facility can make or break both your and your website visitors’ experience.

6 questions you should ask your school website provider 

Before you choose a website provider, you must ask certain questions. This way, you can avoid problems such as frequent downtime, inadequate bandwidth, etc. Here are the six questions you should ask your school website provider before opting for their service.

1. Questions about the timeline

You wouldn’t want your web development process to be delayed. But at the same time, it is tough to determine how much time it takes for your website provider to get your site up and running. So, the first question you must ask your site provider is “how long will your new website take to develop?”

Also, make sure you clarify everything related to migration services. It might happen that over time, you decide to change your host. Ask your provider if they charge any money (if yes, how much) for migrating their clients’ websites.

Also, ask your website provider if you would be assigned a project manager to handle the everyday maintenance and management of your CMS (Content Management System).

2. Accessibility

The next thing you should ask your website provider is whether your site would be compliant with ADA and be easily accessible to people with certain disabilities? Simultaneously, ask your provider if they would prepare a mobile responsive website that works well on all types of devices.

The last thing you would want is to spend hundreds of dollars on a website that doesn’t work on mobile devices. That would be a waste of money.

Additionally, make sure that parents can access their personalised portal through your website’s CMS. This would ensure enhanced audience engagement that would put your school ahead of its competitors.

3. Website support

Now, this one is crucial. Ask your website provider about their customer service hours. Also, clarify if there are any differences in service levels. If there are different service levels, it is often possible that your provider might charge an extra fee for extensive customer support.

That’s why you should ask upfront about what happens when and if you require advanced technical assistance. It’s better to stay prepared ahead of time.

4. Vendor reputation and track record 

Obviously, you would want to hire someone who has the necessary experience and amazing reputation for handling projects like yours. Ask them how long they have been providing services in the education sector.

Ask them if they have any experience working with schools or districts similar to yours. If possible, ask them to provide some details of their previous clients in your sector whom you can talk to about their experience.

5. Data security

Encryption is one of the most important methods for keeping data safe. Your website provider should be committed to providing you with dependable, effective security measures, which they can do in part by encrypting passwords to ensure password privacy. Ask them if they offer HTTPS encryption.

Using HTTPS, businesses can assure that traffic is encrypted and hence unreadable by potential hackers when transmitted over a secure connection.

6. Flexibility, scalability, compliance

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed while trying to figure out what kind of bandwidth a web server provides. In simple terms, bandwidth refers to the speed at which data may be sent from a website to your computer.

With this in mind, always look for a provider that offers plenty of bandwidth. So make sure you ask your website provider about the infrastructure specifications they would provide you. Ask them how fast they can help scale your website.

Final word

It’s more crucial than ever for your school to find the correct website provider to compete in today’s fast-paced world fueled by the internet. Your school website serves as the foundation for your school communications. Make sure you hire a reputable website provider who can ensure that your site stays up and running, no matter the circumstances.

How to personalise your school brand with a school website

Published: June 28, 2022

Branding refers to the “image” associated with your product or organisation and how this “image” is strategically defined in the eyes of your target audience. Anything that makes your product unique forms a part of its brand. This includes the company’s name, logo, tagline, and website.

Now, how is branding related to schools? Well, irrespective of the industry type, a strong brand is an immensely valuable asset.

It draws attention to the amazing work your school is doing and enables parents to know what to expect from the institute. They can make an informed decision based on authentic information conveyed through smart branding. 

Let’s glance over some of the benefits of school branding.

●  Allows your uniqueness to shine through

●  Instils trust and confidence

●  Creates a sense of belonging

●  Allows students and staff to forge an emotional bond with your school

●  Marketing becomes seamless and organic

●  Attracts the most competent staff

Let us take a look at some of the top elements of a school website brand.

Top 7 elements of a school website brand

School websites encapsulate almost everything one needs to know about a school. They’re a storehouse of information, performing multiple tasks and catering to families, prospective staff, as well as meeting Ofsted guidelines.

Here are the top 7 elements for creating an successful brand that can tilt the scale in favour of your school:

1.   Brand Promise: Stand by what you say 

A brand promise states the school’s purpose in no uncertain terms. It serves as a guide for an effective marketing strategy and ensures you’re accountable for delivering a message that is at par with the customer experience.

Ensure your promises are genuine and backed by consistent performance. If there’s a discrepancy between what you promise and what you eventually deliver, your brand’s popularity will take a hit.

2.   Positioning Statement: When words ring true  

Often, it’s the short and simple phrases that linger for a long time. Trust those gripping taglines to sum up your school’s brand promise in the most memorable way!

Crisp and concise at two to six words, these statements resonate with prospective and existing families likewise. Besides “sounding good”, the taglines should be in sync with your school’s ideals and principles.

3.   Visual Identity: Seeing is believing

More recognition equates greater trust. Thus, elevate your brand stature by creating a strong visual identity with appropriate logos and colour palette.

This is one investment you won’t regret. Make your branding style guide easily accessible to staff and faculty through the school’s website. Back it up with a list of do’s and don’ts so that your brand’s image remains untarnished.

4.   Differentiators: What makes you different?

Besides the visual differentiators, try relying on quick facts, statistics, and infographics to put across your points. Visitors would be at ease recalling key facts from a sea of information. Sprinkle these statistics on the oft-visited pages of your website and watch the impact they create.

5.   Personality: Let yourself be heard

What you say and how you say it makes a lot of difference. As your brand is the truest reflection of who you are, be mindful of the tone and tenor of the language used to represent your school in the public domain.

Adhere to grammar rules and ensure there’s consistency in terminology and degree of formality. Different people from different backgrounds may contribute to your website’s content. The overall language should be aligned with the brand’s values and promises.

6.   Brand Communications: Convey and Connect

For communications to be effective and impactful, try adopting a multi-layered approach. Reach out to parents, students and your staff through newsletters, emails, contests, banners, notices on school boards. Keep an eye on details to ensure every time you communicate, it becomes a natural extension of the brand’s core values.

7.   Brand Story: Stories that stay with you

Once you’ve completed the above steps, it’s time to put out poignant stories that’ll generate positive buzz and bring in the right families. Here, testimonials come in handy.

A truly heart-felt testimonial has the power to appease anxious parents and affirm their faith in the school. Brand stories encompass newsletters, blogs, social media posts and almost anything you share online and offline.

Conclusion

A focused and consistent approach to school branding displays a degree of professionalism and shows how seriously the school pursues its standards of excellence.

With the right branding strategy, your school can stand out from its competitors and make a lasting impression in the minds of impressionable young kids and their concerned parents. 

5 pre-planning must for your school website

Published: June 9, 2022

Efficient website planning is the key to having a successful school website in today’s internet-savvy environment.

Whether you are launching a brand new website or revamping your existing one, a little bit of planning goes a long way in ensuring stellar results.

You can plan better, organise your efforts better, test drive user experience, and simply be confident in the final product that you put in front of the world.

Let us explore the 5 most important pre-planning musts you must adhere to when planning your school website.

Consequences and opportunities 

Planning your website in advance helps you recognize the consequences and opportunities that come with running a website. You can test out various elements of user experience as 88% of users are not likely to come back to a website if they have a bad experience with it.

Similarly, with over 55% of website views coming from mobile, it is important to create a design and structure that flows on all sorts of devices. Most importantly, you want to create a website that can be easily navigated by parents and students alike. 

By identifying the consequences and opportunities, you can work toward avoiding the consequences and capitalising on the opportunities.

Pre-planning musts 

There are many elements to focus on when it comes to website pre-planning. You may look at historical data, conduct surveys of the end-users, or consult with your team to get ideas rolling. 

We have come up with the 5 most pre-planning musts to include in your school website checklist.

  1. Launch date 

The first order of business is to set a realistic launch date for your website. Make sure it isn’t too early or too late, but rather gives you sufficient time to prepare and test run the website to derive desired results.

Setting a launch date gives a purpose to the project. Everyone involved knows the deadline they are up against and they start working accordingly. 

  1. Stakeholder buy-in

Stakeholder buy-in refers to getting all the relevant people involved in a process. For your school website, that would mean both your internal team and people from your executive team. Everyone coming together will bring crucial viewpoints to help create a dynamic website. 

Stakeholder buy-in can have a huge impact on getting the project up and running. As was the case with the University of Auckland when it set out to revamp its digital presence in 2016.

  1. Deadlines 

Upon dividing tasks among different teams, you should also set deadlines to ensure that the project stays on schedule. The deadlines should be actionable, meaning they should cover the time the tasks would realistically take to complete along with some buffer time for contingencies.

  1. Communication

Another important aspect of school website pre-planning is to establish communication channels between various teams. It is important to keep every team in the know-how about what the other teams are doing. 

Sometimes, tasks are shared between teams as well. For example, the content team cannot start working on the content structure unless they have the design layout from the design team.

  1. Focused

As you create your school website, remember that the most important aspect to always keep in mind is to stay focused. It’s easy to stray toad including fancier elements into the design, but it is far more important to focus on the functionality of the website.

As a rule of thumb, keep things simple and realistic. Only add something if you think it will add real value to the website. If it doesn’t, steer clear from including it.

Conclusion

School websites are often the first point of interaction between many schools and their potential students or parents. It’s important to have a functioning and attractive school website in today’s day and age.

A little bit of planning before you get started on the project goes a long way in creating a website that serves every faction of your end-users. Be realistic and stay focused to create a stellar website for your school. 

Why is Your School Website More Important Than Ever in 2022?

Published: April 28, 2022

For the longest time, websites for schools and educational institutions were more or less a place to put all the basic information about it. They were rarely a functional tool in the school’s arsenal that could help them much. 

With the rise of online teaching in the wake of the pandemic, websites are more important than ever in 2022.

Today, they are flexible, agile platforms that keep everyone from pupils to their parents in the loop and enhance the learning experience of students.

Let’s find out what wonders having a functioning website can do for your school.

Your school website — an essential marketing tool 

In the age of the internet, everything is online — people, businesses, offices — you name it. Your school website is often going to be the first contact people make with your school. Anyone who is interested in it would be going to the website to learn more about your school.

The website is an essential marketing tool to help you create a noteworthy first impression. You can immediately draw potential pupils and their parents by making enrollment easier. They can connect with you as well as learn more about you in detail.

As a website makes it easier to contact you, it directly impacts your admissions. It also helps in running the school and keeps existing students in the loop.

Benefits of having a school website 

Having a website for your school is a necessity now. It offers many, many benefits in the digital age. Here are some of the most prominent ones to consider:

Showcase your school online 

Websites are a virtually endless space to showcase your school’s accomplishments in a permanent way. Whatever your school has achieved — be it trophies or smiling students — it can be front and centre on your website.

It creates an immediate impact on the visitor. More importantly, It creates transparency about what a day in the life of your school looks like. You can connect with your community and show them what your school excels at.

Implement a long-term marketing shift

Many traditional schools are understandably intimidated by the idea of creating an online presence. Your website can be the first step in that direction. Social media, blogs, and newsletters can come after you get the hang of running the website.

In fact, your website is what every social media post and blog post would link back to. It helps in creating a seamless marketing shift to the online space.

Attract new students or prospective parents

Often being the first point of contact for potential students, websites play a huge role in attracting them to your school. They can see and understand what your school is like and if it is something they would like to be a part of. 

They can also research extensively and clear their doubts before they apply for enrollment, something that may not be that effective in physical settings. 

Allows open communication 

Users can find exactly what they are looking for on your website. You can initiate open, honest communication with them on topics of their interest. You may dedicate a page for forums where your community can interact in a transparent way with each other. 

Hire the right staff

Websites don’t just help you attract prospective students, they also help you hire better. People wanting to apply for various positions in your institution will get to know it through your website. It will give them. A glimpse of what working with you will be like. 

Way forward 

School websites are growing into a more functional role with the rise of online teaching. A practical website can not only be a showcase of what your school stands for, but also help in enhancing the learning experience of students as a whole. 

The way forward is to keep enhancing the websites to be helpful tools for the school, its pupils, and their parents. Focus on providing a comprehensive experience to the users and frequently updating the website to keep everyone in the loop. 

Top 6 strategies to get more value from your school website

Published: April 14, 2022

Just a few seconds into a website and people start judging. 

There are a lot of factors that you can monitor and improve overtime to get the most value from your school website. Among them are design, load time, content, navigation, and graphics..

If you are not happy with the current performance of the website, you may have already started researching ways that can improve your website. If that’s your story, you are at the right place.

Read on to know 6 key strategies that will help you get more value from your school website.

1.   Go superior web design mode

Remember, the first impression does matter. 94 percent of the first website impressions are shaped by design. 

Website users make split-second judgments about your school, based purely on the appearance of its website. 

To stay up with the continuously changing expectations of modern-day website visitors and provide a seamless experience, aim to rebuild your website every three years. Stay fresh to stay young and attractive!

2.   Be mobile-friendly

While making your website visually appealing is vital, ensuring that the design shows up well on mobile devices is also important. These days, most websites receive roughly 50-60% of their overall traffic from mobile devices. It should therefore be your priority to opt for a mobile-first design.

If you are unsure whether to invest in a mobile-friendly website design, check the following data:

  • A bad smartphone web browsing experience made 52 percent of users feel less likely to engage with a website.
  • If a site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, consumers are 5X more likely to quit the platform.
  • When visiting sites that aren’t mobile-friendly, 48% of users report feeling annoyed and disappointed.

3.   Ensure quicker load time

Today’s average web surfer expects all websites to load fast. As it stands, your site’s performance is a big factor to consider and improve if you wish to get the most value from your school website. 

As a general rule of thumb, if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 47 percent of visitors are likely to abandon it. 

The size of photos you use on your website can significantly affect the site’s load time. The way and where your website is hosted also plays an important role in website load time.

4.   Navigation should be simple

The way your school website’s pages and content are organized can have a big impact on its success. 

Websites with the right navigation structure will ensure that browsing through them makes sense for the average user. 

Here, your focus should be to provide a simple and enjoyable user experience, in order to ensure lower bounce rates and higher engagement.

5.   Make it search engine friendly

If you want your school website to show up ahead of your competitors on the search engine result pages, you better invest in SEO or search engine optimization strategies. 

While this particular strategy may not directly relate to the website experience, ensuring that your site is search engine optimized will ensure that your potential clients can locate you on the web. 

Even if you have the best school website in the world, it won’t matter if no one can discover you.

6.   Engaging and informative content

While an attractive design might entice visitors to stay on your site, it is the information and how you present it that ultimately helps you sell your message. Focus on the following two types of content on a website:

  • Visual: Photos, graphic components, videos, and infographics are examples of visual content.
  • Written: Calls to action, news, blogs, etc.

Remember, today’s internet visitors scan their screens rather than reading thoroughly, especially if they’re on a mobile device. Make sure you design your content appropriately.

We believe that the tips we have listed above will help you get more value from your school website and also help improve its functionality.

How to Improve the Structure of Your School Website Navigation

Published: March 31, 2022

Your school website is the primary source of information regarding everything for parents, students, and future employees.  As a web design company one of the most common things you are expected to hear when taking up a school website design project is that it should be ‘easy to navigate’. 

But the most common question here is how do we create a site that is ‘easy to navigate’? Let’s explore a few things you need to take care of when designing the navigation structure of your site. 

  1. Keep the design simple

As a designer it’s totally fine to come up with unique designs that can pleasantly surprise the users. But it is always safe to play safe with the navigation structure. If the users take too long to figure out what to do next — for example, struggling to locate the search button or figure out the Submit button for the Donation program — chances are they will abandon your site never to return again. 

  1.  Restrict the number of choices

When users look at your site menu, they should be able to easily skim through all the options available on your site. If users are overwhelmed with too many options and they’re not able to make a choice, their only option would be to leave your site. Hence it is recommended that you stick to eight or fewer menu options when designing your site. In case you have a number of buttons available, restrict yourself to include only three or four buttons. If the other departments force their choice on including every single detail on the header, take a firm stand. 

  1. Limit the number of clicks 

When designing the site navigation, make sure to use dropdown menus under the main navigation menu. This will help the users to directly navigate to the page of their choice. The best part is that the users will also be able to navigate to a section that may be nested deep within without clicking on every single page. Another popular way of organizing the navigation structure of your site is by using a hamburger or navicon menu on the desktop that emphasizes the key items on the site. With this design structure, users find it easier to locate the deeply nested pages by simply hovering over the main page menu. 

  1. Be consistent 

Your visitors, especially ones with disabilities, expect your site to be predictable. If the navigation is consistent across the site, it makes it easier for everyone to locate specific items within the navigation structure. When designing the navigation structure of your site, make sure you use menus and other navigation mechanisms that are consistent across all the pages. With items that are repeated in the same relative order ensure that you place the menus in the same place on every page. 

  1. Ensure mobile accessibility

While designing the site, you need to make sure users are able to access all the pages, including the deeply nested ones, as easily on their mobile phones as their desktops. The most important aspect of working on a mobile-friendly navigation is to work with a company that understands the mobile-first design. This is important as the designer needs to take the different device experiences into consideration while working on the layout and navigation. 

  1. Offer guidance to the users 

To make your site navigation successful, make sure you offer enough guidance by including featured links that you would like the users to visit. Including clear call-to-action instructions throughout the site works really well when you want users to take any predefined action, such as submitting a form or clicking a link to explore more.

To sum up 

Understandably, the requirements for each school are different. There are additional considerations that need to be taken care of by the design team while deciding on the navigation structure of the school website. We believe that following the guidelines mentioned above will be a great starting point for you. 

Best School Website Designs of 2021

Published: February 14, 2022

School websites have transitioned from being luxury to a necessity. Today all schools need a good, functional website to reach out to more students and parents. At School Jotter, we continue helping schools with amazing website designs among other things.

Today we have collated some of the best school websites, as rated by our team members. We hope the list will help other schools with website ideas and inspirations. Without wasting more time, let’s see which schools have made it to the list.

Copley Junior School

Copley Junior School

Copley Junior School’s website uses a simple yet vibrant design that brings out the essence the school wants to convey. The text and images chosen are bright and bold, which highlights the playful nature of the school. Using the school google across the page is a fresh move that brings out the beauty of the web design.

However, it is important to note that Copley Junior School does not try to pull something daring with its website. It is a simple and functional website that gets the job done. The home screen has links to all resources that parents and students can need.

According to our Delivery Team Leader Charlotte, this is our best school website design of 2021. 

Christ Church C of E Primary School

Christ Church C of E Primary School

Christ Church C of E Primary School has done a great job with their school website with the use of bright and bold colours. It is more of a minimalistic website with few images and more text. However, the text is big and bold which makes the webpage look vibrant. 

The events section is very legible and understandable, making it one of the best sections of the webpage. It is a clean and simple school website that gets the job done.

Sam, our Education Manager, thinks that this is our best school website design in 2021. 

Holy Trinity Primary School

Holy Trinity Primary School

The school website of Holy Trinity Primary School is one of the cleanest and most legible school websites we have seen in 2021. The most notable component of the website design is colour coordination. The pictures complement the background and foreground colours very well. It has a clean and organised menu that answers all possible queries parents and students can have. The events and news sections on the main page make the website even better.

Our Delivery Support Technician Liam M feels that this is our best school website design of 2021. 

Bishop’s Waltham Junior School

Bishop’s Waltham Junior School

If you want to see a great example of a neat and tidy school website, check out the  Bishop’s Waltham Junior School’s website. It does not go crazy with colours or designs and keeps things nice and neat. 

A notable feature of this website is the use of interactive YouTube links. By bringing these small factors into their websites, schools create a much better experience for visitors who want to know more about the school. On top of that, the bulletin space enhances the appearance of the entire main page.

Liam J, our Account Manager, nominates this website as our best school website in 2021. 

Cullingworth Village Primary School

Cullingworth Village Primary School

Using the Lynx theme has been a gamechanger for the school website of Cullingworth Village Primary School. The website uses a red colour scheme which looks very attractive. Apart from that, the choice of fonts makes it ideal for kids and their parents. There are a bunch of photos of kids which add to the charm of the website.

Our Head of Service Delivery and Support Arthur also has his kids’ pictures on the school website. He feels that this is our best school website he has seen in 2021. 

Upper Batley High School

Upper Batley High School

If anything defines a modern and sleek website, Upper Batley High School’s website does. It uses a neat colour scheme focusing on blue and white. While the design is minimalist, it does not leave out any important information. The menu is easy to use, and there are many pictures that highlight what life in the school is like. All accomplishments of the school are visible neatly at the bottom of the main page. It is undoubtedly one of the most attractive school websites of 2021.

Our Account Manager Lawrence feels that this is our best school website in 2021.

Conclusion

School websites are very important for any educational institution that wants to be more accessible to parents and students. However, some school websites fail to live up to mark. Either they clutter it with too much information or miss out on crucial resources.

From an educational perspective, school websites have a distinct purpose. All the schools we mentioned tick the boxes that our experts look for.

SEO For School Websites — Is It Important?

Published: February 7, 2022

If you manage a school website, by now you will be aware of the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  SEO not only helps to improve the quantity of traffic to your school website but also the quality of your website.  People however seem to have a common misconception that school websites do not require SEO and it is more relevant for other institutions and organisations. However, if you look at the search data, you would easily disapprove of this fact. 

With 3.5 billion searches made everyday, it can be safely concluded that these search trends should not be ignored. But the question is — is it possible to constantly keep up with these search trends and frequently update your website? 

The simple answer is yes, if you intend not to hurt your organic traffic.  Search trends help you understand and deliver the most effective and user-friendly content for each of your queries. A robust SEO optimisation strategy takes time to show results and when it does, you will be able to reap its benefits for years to come. 

  1. Utilise location-based search strategy

Google My Business (the listing on Google search that shows your location and contact details) was created with the intention of helping customers engage on Google for free. The primary objective was to help small and medium-scale businesses connect with their potential customers across Google Searches and Maps. 

For most schools, the common statement is, “Everyone knows my school, why do I need this?”

But the fact is optimising Google My Business shows your school name up on the search even when a user doesn’t know you exist. 

For example, a parent who is new in the area where your school is situated, might simply key in the phrase, ‘best high school + location in the search engine. For that parent to find your school, you need to be on the Page 1 search results. And we very well know from historical data that very few people visit the second page. Having an up-to-date Google My Business listing can assist with this.

Another significant point to be noted here — Google detects the searchers’ location from the IP address. Even if you don’t include your region in the search, it will automatically deliver them local results including Google My Business listings… 

  1. Comprehend the search intent for educational institutions 

Most search engine users these days are impatient. If they want their search to include specific results, they will use the related long-tail keywords. Now the real challenge is understanding those keywords and search terms so you can optimise your school website accordingly. 

In other words, the more content you have on your website that is related to the search term, the better are your site’s chances of ranking higher in the search results. 

  1. Optimise for different regions 

It’s not just enough that your GMB account and site pages include only results for the physical location where you are situated. 

Some parents who have not entered your location in their search will not be able to find your school and they may not even be aware that you are already pulling students from their areas. This holds true for most schools that are located outside main cities and towns. 

What you need here is a regional landing page strategy. 

The most common approach to creating regional landing pages are highlighted below: 

  • Define the targeted area

You need to start by defining the area that you are targeting whether it is a specific region, city, county, etc. Then mention the key landmarks or work a bit into the history of the region. 

  • Geo-specific keywords 

This is in fact the most important point to consider when you are creating a location-based landing page that will specifically give you the local hits you need from your local population. The formula is quite simple — mention [type of school] in [region or location] or [location] in the content you have on your website. 

For example, 

  • Primary school in North London 
  • North Yorkshire secondary school 
  • Consistency 

Irrespective of whether you are creating one landing page or 10, the look and feel as well the style and tone of each page should be consistent. If you are a larger institution, it’s a good idea to come up with a style guide with specific branding colours and guidelines. 

  1. On-page optimisation 

This is the process of doing everything on your website that could help to instruct Google to deliver you to page one. You should take on-page quite seriously if you want the search engines to reward you with the first page visibility. 

Let’s take a look at some of the best practises you may want to follow in your quest to rank on the first page:

  • URLs: Google has very clearly stated that URLs help them understand what the page is all about. In order to optimise the URLs: 
    • Include the primary keyword in the URL
    • Place the keyword to the left side of the URL
    • Keep the words that define the URL as real as possible
    • Keep the text simple and sweet
    • Use hyphens between two words 
  • Meta titles and descriptions:  Page titles are one of the most important on-page SEO factors. Both the meta title and description are important for the search engines to understand the purpose of the page. 
  • Header tags: These tags serve an important function for the SEO of your page. They have a direct impact on your page by:
    • Making it easier and more enjoyable for your users to read the page
    • Providing keyword-rich context to the search engines for your content
  • SEO writing: This typically implies that the content is written in a way that it is loved by both humans and the search engines. 
  • Keyword cannibalisation: Targeting many pages for a specific keyword can cause keyword cannibalisation and that could have potentially disastrous results for your SEO efforts. If you have multiple pages on your website ranking for the same keyword, you’re actually competing with yourself and that’s not a good on-page strategy to follow. 
  • Content audit: This is a vital mistake made by most content authors and editors. They keep on creating new content, but never bother to revisit or update their existing content. It’s absolutely essential to do content audits on a regular basis. 
  1. Mobile page loading speed 

In the real world, speed kills but it is not the same in the digital world. If your page doesn’t load fast on your mobile, the internet will kill your rank. 

Waiting for a page to load in its own sweet time is a frustrating experience. There are quite a few ways to reverse this experience:

  • Utilise the wide range of free marketing tools available to make quick fixes to your content. There are a few tools that can compress images to a fraction of their size. 
  • Limit the amount of media you include in your posts and pages. To ensure optimal page load speed, you should maintain a ratio of 75:25 for text to images. 
  • Make sure you have a prominent call to action (CTA) and the size of the CTA button should be at least a bit larger than your thumb. 

Final thoughts

SEO like anything else requires the right amount of knowledge, skills, patience, and consistency to produce the desired results. The opportunities are unlimited and as the search engine volumes grow, it will become more important than ever to keep working on your SEO efforts.