How to keep your school website up-to-date

Ian Richardson

Ian is Product Director at Schudio who specialise in developing unified online technology to help schools and colleges communicate and engage their community effectively, and who are currently working with over 200 schools in the UK. He spends a lot of time working with school leaders to establish products and strategy which dramatically improve the way schools communicate with the outside world.

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Given that much of the British education system is currently enjoying the Easter Holidays, it’s important for a school’s website to show information such as contact details, facilities and, of course, term dates. As Ian Richardson of Schudio points out, a school’s website needs to be managed properly; here are some of his finest tips.

I meet with schools all over the country regularly, and one of the recurring themes is the struggle for schools to effectively keep their websites up to date. Of course I’ll say that having a system that is easy to use helps enormously, but whatever system you have in place, or whichever method you use to keep your website up-to-date, by following a few steps that are quite straightforward you can have a website for your school that is engaging and keeps users coming back time and time again.

All we really want …

It may or may not come as a surprise, but there are usually as many as four times the number of visits to the ‘Term Dates’ page on your website than any other page. It makes sense; most of us are primarily concerned with when we next get a holiday.

I have said it before, and I will say it again - if your users can find the content they want to see, they will engage with the content you want them to see. We need to get this right first.

Make sure the term dates page on your website is easy to find and easy to read.

The same is true of the contact page, as this is usually number two. Ideally, have a website in place which is easy to read on any device because at least 40% of your users will be using a tablet or mobile device to view your site.

Get your statutory content sorted

This is potentially an issue for many schools, but we have to make sure that all the content that OFSTED deems as essential is on your website and is easy to find. There is plenty of information online about what you must get on your website but get this sorted as soon as possible.

Please do get in touch if you would like to know exactly what is required - I would personally be delighted to help with this if I can.

News & Events

Once you have sorted all the content on your site that doesn’t change too often, shift your focus and put infrastructure in place so that your website news and events are updated two or three times a week. Advertise events before they happen by adding them to your site with plenty of notice. Events can be anything from a fundraising day to a theatre company coming to school; from a school trip to parents evening. Then, once the event has taken place, write a news piece or a blog post on it to tell parents and students how fantastic the event was. Include some photos or video to bring the content to life.

With a decent system this should be incredibly easy and only take a few minutes. A very good system will also give you the option to put content on now that doesn’t go live until a future date. This gives you the option to get ahead of the game and gives your users the impression that you are keeping your site up to date very regularly. Cheating? We think that’s just being organised.

Blogs are brilliant, especially if you have a blog for every class in school that is kept up to date weekly by teachers or even students. If you are really struggling, that may be a step too far straight away but is a fantastic goal to aim for in the mid term.

Get Started Now!

That’s it! There are so many things you could be doing to keep your site up to date and engage with your users that are incredibly effective but at the core of all of these is a desire to keep parents up to date with all the wonderful things that are happening at your school. By simply making sure the key elements are correct, and then regularly creating small pieces of interesting content you will make a big difference to how you present your school online.

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