School websites are a hive of activity. It’s a blessing and a curse, because it can be hard to get clarity around what the purpose and function of your school website actually is when there are so many audiences and purposes to consider.

Is it for prospective parents? Current families? Should it be a central hub of information? Do we put our school calendar on there?

Luckily, there are some traits that are consistent throughout the best school websites. Check your website against these traits for a quick ‘health check’ on whether your school website is doing its job as well as it could.

1. Parent-focused copy

Crafting content that resonates with parents rather than educators is crucial. Parents seek assurance and connection, so your website copy should speak directly to their concerns and aspirations for their children. Think about the different feelings these two sentences give:

“Your child will grow discover a whole new world when they spend their lunchtimes exploring our new nature-playground.”

“We built a new state of the art playground amongst the trees beside the admin block.”

2. No-wait load time

In our fast-paced digital world, users have come to expect near-instant load times. A slow website can frustrate visitors and drive them away, so ensuring your site loads quickly is paramount. Check your page load times by entering your site into Google PageSpeed Insights. You want your score to be at least above 75, ideally above 90.

3. Accessibility for all abilities

Accessibility is no longer optional—it’s a necessity. Prioritising accessibility in design and development not only broadens your audience but also demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity. I personally regret not fighting for better accessibility standards on websites I’ve built in the past. It’s an area that requires attention and investment. Run your site through Accessibility Checker for a quick analysis of where it stands.

4. Social proof through storytelling

Stories are powerful tools for building trust. Showcase the experiences of your school community—parents, students, and alumni. Authentic storytelling can convey the essence of your school in a way that information alone cannot.

5. Effortless navigation

Simplify navigation to enhance user experience. A cluttered website with too many pages can overwhelm prospective parents. Streamlining your site’s structure makes it easier for visitors to find the information they need. This is a classic school conundrum – I know I know, there are SO. MANY. THINGS to talk about. Do your future parents a favour though and distill all this info down as much as you can.

6. Valuable downloadable content

Recognise that not every parent visiting your site is ready to enrol immediately. Offer valuable content, such as a prospectus, info pack or fee calculation in exchange for their contact information. This allows you to follow up and nurture their interest over time.

7. Built for phones

With well over half of users accessing websites via mobile devices, optimising your site for mobile is critical. A seamless mobile experience ensures that parents can easily navigate and interact with your site on the go.

8. Video content

Video content is highly engaging and can convey a wealth of information quickly. Incorporating videos can bring your school’s story to life, providing a dynamic way to connect with prospective parents.

9. Less words than what you think

Tough love: Educators are chronic over-sharers. You don’t need to wow your parents with huge monologues of your educational approach or justifications of your core values. In the first instance, parents want to know: Will my child be safe, nurtured, challenged? Keep the 6-Step Enrolment Journey in mind. You are speaking to parents in the Discovery and Research stages.

10. Clear enrolment process

The enrolment process can be daunting for parents. Simplify it as much as possible. Provide clear, step-by-step guidance to help parents navigate this journey with confidence. Remember: you are the guide.

Incorporating these traits into your school website will not only improve its performance but also create a more engaging and supportive experience for prospective parents.

Of course, your website is only one component of your digital ecosystem. At Bolsta Digital, we help you create an amazing parent experience by connecting and improving all the touchpoints of your digital ecosystem. Find out how your school can improve…