Recently Belinda from TechZoo updated our school website and she has designed a number of school web sites for schools around the world. We were having a discussion about the must haves on a school website and these were the 5 essentials we thought every school website should have.
1: Welcoming and Friendly Design: Ultra cool should not be your aim on a school website. Prospective parents and students want to feel a welcoming and friendly vibe - bright colours and lots of photos of opens spaces and happy students. First impressions last. Certainly an ugly cheap looking front page website will do you just as much harm if not more.
2: Current and Up-to Date info: If your last newsletter was posted when Noah built an Ark or the canteen list is out of date visitors will instantly gain a sense of neglect and mismanagement. Remember a website today is your schools biggest marketing tool.
3: Who is who? Don't go overboard here - Who is your principal? And what are their thoughts? Maybe a group photo of your staff and any other major roles that parents will regularly want to contact beyond their child's classroom teacher.
4: Classroom Blogs: Any web designer worth a pinch of salt should be able to set up simple blogs for areas of the school that want them. Prospective Parents really get a feel for what is happening at the coal face from these. Especially if there is some stuff there from students.
5: Good Photo's: I can't believe schools invest tens of thousands on resources and can't get a decent digital SLR to take photos that look as great on a website as they do in reality.
Finally make sure your school has easy to find contact info and maps.
If you follow these guidelines you should have yourself a pretty good website and don't hesitate to contact Belinda if your school needs a cheap and effective website. It's what she does for a living.