How to Design an Awesome School Website

Published: February 29, 2016

Website Design For Schools In The UK

This is a tricky issue for non-experienced website designers. While wanting to save on costs by doing their school web design themselves, schools should make sure they meet the Ofsted requirements when it comes to website content and structure.

One of the problems many school website designers encounter is that they use too many colors making their content very difficult to read. What follows are some tips to help create a beautiful website design for schools in the UK.

Defining Your School’s Brand and Content Strategy

 

Knowing your school’s brand and what you stand for will help you write the content for your school’s website. You need to understand the school’s core values as well as what your school stands for.

 

Then you need to understand what your school does well and what problems it can solve for its students. There are other key questions you can ask yourself before you start creating a content strategy.

 

That strategy will revolve around the answers to all of those key questions. Plus, understanding the purpose of your school will help you create a unique website look that stands out from the crowd.

 

What also is involved in defining your school’s brand will be the following elements:

 

  • Develop your school’s promise to potential parents and students
  • Add a tagline that reflects the purpose of the school
  • Create your school’s identity- this includes creating a logo, finding your voice, the imagery you want to use, and the colours you want to use.

 

Defining your school’s brand is a wide range of elements that help potential and current students know who you are. That makes your website more attractive than using a number of bright or other colours.

 

Building A Solid User-Friendly Experience On The School Website

In the world of web design, there are a lot of options you can use to build complexity to your school’s website design. However, the old sayings ‘keep it simple’ and ‘less is more’ are key guides you should use when creating a primary school website design.

Yes, having fun things like pop-ups, interactive polls, and lots of videos can help but often those elements and other ones turn the user experience into something far more time-consuming than parents want to go through.

The key to building a good user experience on your school’s website is to follow these key tips:

1. Keep The Website Focused On Current School Parents

Make sure the relevant information is easy to access and find. Those important issues of tuition costs, teacher contact opportunities, and school events all should be very easy for the current school parent to find.

2. Focus On Enrollment

Make your enrollment process a priority. Part of the school’s website design is to attract new students to your school. This can partly be achieved through your About Us web page.

3. Help Busy Parents

This is done by having a clear school calendar on your website. Then make it easy to access for those busy parents who do not have the time to waste doing complicated searches or bypassing pop-ups, etc.

4. Miscellaneous Pages

These include contact information, a news and media web page, and more. You want to keep your school web design interesting without making it hard for parents to navigate through all the pages to get the information they want.

Add Interactive Features and Compelling Content for engaging the audience

Once you have understood your school’s identity and purpose, and then fleshed out a content strategy, now is the time to add some more interesting elements to your school website design.

Look for key features that can incorporate interactive activities. These will help engage both parents and students. Then make sure to have someone write excellent content that will be of interest to those school parents.

Content is still king and will help boost your school’s website in the search engine rankings. Bad content is one way to drive prospective students and parents away from your school.

Some Additional Words

Since 2003, School Jotter has been working with thousands of schools across the UK and worldwide to develop the best school website and e-learning software. We always make sure our school web design reflects the ethos of each school.

Contact us today to see how we can help make your school website design more attractive and user-friendly. Our experts will be glad to spend time working with you to enhance your public face.

Website of the Week – Aston All Saints Church of England Primary School

Published: January 11, 2016

This week we’ve chosen the Aston All Saints Church of England Primary School website which has been as our Website of the Week.
The first thing that catches my eye when I look at it, is the main image of students. This image appears on all pages of the website and it seems to represent the main values of the school – Caring, Sharing, Laughing, Learning. These four values of the school are listed on the homepage; a great way of reminding students and parents what the school cares about.
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Six months on from Mobilegeddon – what’s changed?

Published: November 3, 2015

You might remember, six months ago, how all the blogs about school websites (us included) – and indeed all websites – were talking about Google’s impending “Mobilegeddon” – the change in their ranking algorithm that would prioritise mobile-friendly websites and penalise those that aren’t mobile compatible. No doubt you received countless emails from providers (ourselves included, again), offering to fix the problem, but six months on we have to ask – was it a genuine threat to your website?
The short answer is “no, but….”, and the long answer is “yes, and…”. The reasons for this are due to a number of trends in the way people are accessing content, and the long and short of it is that, from here on out, things are only going to get worse for non-mobile-friendly websites.

Changes in browsing habits

The traditional model of browsing on your desktop, with Google results in front of you and websites tucked comfortably behind the tabs or windows of your screen, is in decline. Even since April, Android traffic alone has gone up by as much as 6% by some metrics – invariably at the expense of desktop searches. This means that parents are more likely to be searching for things like schools from a mobile device.
In this environment, your content needs to work on these devices, and not just function but look great while doing it. This is why we really do recommend a responsive website, and it’s worth pointing out that School Jotter 2 customers needn’t worry about these changes – all their websites are responsive straight out of the box, with easy access from any device you choose. Content will change and adapt to suit the screen size, so it doesn’t matter if you’re using a 27” iMac or a 3.5” Android phone – you’ll get the same content, tailored to your device.
The reality of the situation is that you need to be going where the people are, and increasingly they’re on their tablets and phones.

Google’s changes are gradual

I want to be clear here – Mobilegeddon was a real thing, with real effects, it just wasn’t as bad as everyone said, but the important thing here is “yet”. April was the beginning of a longer process which will slowly see mobile-friendly designs becoming the new normal, transitioning from a luxury to a general fact of life. By upgrading your site to a responsive theme, you’ll be getting around this; by staying non-responsive things are only going to get worse for your rankings.

The overall picture

Your website needs to work on the phones of parents, teachers and students, and if it doesn’t you’re missing out. Not just in terms of your slowly-decreasing search engine traffic, but in terms of providing a decent browsing experience to the people who need it most.
Interested in getting a responsive, mobile-friendly website? School Jotter provides responsive themes out of the box, contact us for a free trial.

Making the most of your School Jotter Website

Published: September 25, 2015

By Becky Cunliffe
There are many posts online about how to make a great website, and many similar posts on what to avoid; these tend to be fairly generic. In this blog I’ll summarise some of the key things that, in my opinion, should be considered, and what should be forgotten about, when it comes to school websites in particular.
My top tips:

  1. Remember the Purpose – It’s important to remember what the point of the website is. Is it to encourage parents to use your school? Is it a portal for parents? Is it for students to check for events?
    Remember you may have other systems or sites for these purposes, so link to them rather than try to fit it all on your website.
  2. Make it easy to find – Navigation is crucial and can lose visitors; if it is not easy to see where to go, they may give up.
  3. Planning – Rushing into the site may result in bulky pages, so always try to plan out what pages you are going to have and what should be on them. Don’t forget to use links to try and keep pages short, if they want more information they can go to the additional pages.
  4. Update it – Nothing discourages visitors more than finding an event being advertised that was over 5 years ago, as this creates the impression that the site may no longer be in use. Likewise, try to remove your old website from the web to stop parents ending up in the wrong place.
  5. Use colour – Try to not make the website a textbook. Add some relevant images or colour to the page, but do make sure your page is still readable and easy on the eyes.

I would strongly recommend avoiding the following:

  1. Sound – This can startle visitors and often they will simply mute their speaker. It also asks the question, why do you need that sound?
  2. Animation – Small gifs can be useful but try to avoid anything that changes the whole page, such as leaves falling down the page. This just causes annoyance when trying to view the page and can get in the way.
  3. Several-tiered menus – Keep your navigation to 1-2 submenus only. At a certain point the visitor may be lost, or if its a hover-over menu they may lose their place.
  4. Large files – Keep images, files, videos etc to a smaller size so visitors are not waiting on downloads.
  5. Too much info – Remember, a website is there to show information, but try not to overwhelm it with too many pages. Use the other Jotter Apps and any system or sites you may have, and try to remember what the purpose is of each to avoid duplication.

School Jotter Of The Week: Fernvale Primary School

Published: July 4, 2014

With School Jotter website designs, every school can have a website design that’s completely personal and bespoke to them.
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School Jotter of the Week: Parley First School

Published: June 20, 2014

It’s always nice when a school opts for an out-of-the-ordinary website design. Parley First School in Dorset have gone for a website design that’s different to any website we have designed and produced in recent memory.
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September: New Year, New Website?

Published: June 19, 2014

The last thing most teachers will be thinking about right now is September. It’s a an age away – a whole new school year! Before then, there are sports days, end-of-year award ceremonies and gifts from pupils to look forward to!
As an e-learning company dealing with thousands of schools in the UK and worldwide, naturally Webanywhere’s workload ebbs and flows with schools’ needs. We’re therefore usually pretty quiet over July and August – which is why we’re offering schools a limited offer.


Plan to start the next school year in style with a new school website design, introducing new pupils and parents to your school, and we’ll knock off £100 if you’re a Webanywhere customer, and 20% if you’re not yet using our School Jotter website system.
To find out more, just get in touch here, quoting our website redesign offer. Before you do, however, we recommend you take a look at some of our latest website designs below.

School Jotter of the Week: Mary Howard & St Andrews Primary Schools

Published: June 13, 2014

Having an engaging, easy-to-use website system like School Jotter comes with its benefits – like improving home/school links, and allowing all teaching staff to contribute to the school website. But sometimes, smaller schools are put off by the cost of these benefits.
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School Jotter of the Week: Lakey Lane Primary School

Published: June 6, 2014

One of the best things about writing our weekly School Jotter of the Week blog post is the number of great school websites we get to share with you. Plus, looking back over the past couple of years, we can see how the Webanywhere school website design team have gone from strength to strength!
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School Jotter of the Week: Bishopstone Primary School

Published: May 2, 2014

Bishopstone CoE Primary School’s website has one of the most interesting designs we’ve ever had the pleasure of working on. The Wiltshire school has gone for a splash page to entice visitors into their website – and you can see this above.
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