Professional School Websites Can Really Make A Difference
Apr 10, 2012 Other 1769 Views
School websites generally belong to one of two categories, the first one being those that are professionally designed and implemented and those that are thrown together by someone in the school who knows about building websites. However the school website is built or put together the purpose remains the same, although many schools appear to miss the point altogether.
What is the point of a school website?
Marketing: Today schools are like businesses (particularly cut throat businesses in the independent sector) and have to compete aggressively for students, prospective students and their parents. Equally like any business they must focus their marketing effort to the channels where their target audience can find them easily, today there is no doubt that the place for this to happen is on the Internet. 94% of parents used school websites when researching potential schools.
Credibility: Rightly or wrongly schools with web presence gain credibility, schools with a professional and impressive website gain massive credibility. In a recent survey of independent schools 36% of respondents said that over half of the enquiries received from prospective parents came via their website, that's an astonishing figure and that survey was carried out in 2010, today it is expected that the figure will have grown significantly since then.
Communication: Schools communities are incredibly important and communicating with them is paramount, the school website offers great communication benefits in addition to traditional print methods. Schools can use them to publicise events, accomplishments, aspirations, results as well as distributing reports and updates, policy documents and so much more. On a more social level, keeping Alumni informed and engaged and parents in touch with what is happening, the addition of a school blog adds a level of interactivity and engagement that is just not possible with any other medium.
A school website offers a simple and clear competitive advantage over any other marketing or communications media, speed is one of those advantages, publication on the site is instantly available, combined with email notifications the message reaches the intended audience immediately. Websites offer a much wider reach than traditionally available to a school, because it is cheaper than print media distribution can be more liberal and there are no environmental issues around the production and distribution of your message. With interactivity and tracking that is freely available when using websites you can immediately measure the effectiveness of any marketing campaign, know who has seen your messages and invite conversation and feedback that people respond to because of the ease of access afforded by online communications.
The often neglected web design plays an even more important part in a schools marketing. The same survey indicated that of the 94% of parents researching schools online were impressed by what they saw only 35% of the time, this leaves a huge opportunity for schools to exploit merely by ensuring they have a well designed, functional website.
Survey data extracted from the Missing Millions Report - http://www.mtmconsulting.co.uk/insights/the-missing-million-report/