If you are preparing to redesign your small school’s website, congratulations! A school website redesign is a long, comprehensive process that requires strong planning, strategy, and execution to be positively impactful to your school marketing strategy.
However, due to the complex nature of a redesign, it is important to prepare on all fronts before making any changes. Before a single element is updated or rebuilt on your website, check in on these tips below to make sure you are ready to begin the redesign process.
Assess your current website: What stays, and what goes?
Before making any updates, it is important to note the successes and shortcomings of your school’s current website. This is a great opportunity to ask both your internal and external audiences what they think about your website, potentially in an email survey to get the most responses in a timely manner.
Questions for stakeholders like parents, staff, faculty, and board members can include:
- What do you like about our school website?
- Is our website intuitive and easy to navigate?
- What do you dislike about our school website?
- Do you have any grievances or negative experiences with our school website? If so, please share.
- Would you say our school website accurately represents our school brand?
- If you could add anything to our school website, what would you add?
Receiving real feedback on these questions from regular website visitors will help guide your team to understand the current gaps in your site. Is your school calendar updated, is the FAQ page streamlined with relevant content? What are parents’ current pain points and what do they want to see added?
Though your website might be ready for a total overhaul, it could still host some strong elements that can perform well on your new website. Love the structure of your school blog, but can’t stand the way your site tags content? In your new planning, you can keep the blog layout but scratch the tagging system for something that works best for your goals.
You’ve set your goals, now make objectives and build your strategy
Now that you and your team understand what priority items need to be refurbished on the school website to reach your marketing goals, you can move to the next step and set objectives to achieve those key results. Your general goals could be focused on increasing school family engagement, increasing enrollment, or strengthening your school’s brand. However, objectives are more detailed than goals, including:
- Specific key areas for improvement
- Achievable and reasonable outcomes
- A time frame that is achievable, including a specific project completion goal date.
Define your communications goals and shape a content strategy
Your school website redesign goals will shape how you communicate— both internally and externally. For external stakeholders specifically, like potential new school families and interested parents, your content strategy around a website re-launch will speak directly to them.
In the beginning of the website design process, perform a content audit. How strong is your school website’s current content? This includes any blogs, FAQ pages, school calendars, newsletters, and social media content linked to the website. Where are the gaps? What new content does your team want to develop, and how will the new website help distribute that content? Then, create a comprehensive content calendar for 2023 and plan how the website re-launch will fit into that calendar, and how the new website will drive content plans.
This planned content should highlight your school’s brand, meaning your school’s messaging, vision, values, and selling points. All of those elements should be accurately represented in the content you plan for the school website.
Choose the best web designer for your goals
It goes without saying the team in charge of designing your school’s new website is critical to the project’s success. For a website redesign, there are several reasons why working with a small agency could benefit your team, including creativity and innovation, meaningful relationships, not to mention cost effectiveness.
We’ve written about choosing a web designer for your school website before— information you should request from a potential web designer includes:
- Scope of the project
- Portfolio of previous projects
- Estimated costs and timeline
- Expectations from both parties to ensure the website redesign’s success
On your end, come to the table with your pain points and general vision, website goals, objectives, and communications plan to help the web designer craft their proposal.
Keep internal stakeholders informed
A website redesign is a big deal, especially for those close to the school community, including current families, faculty, staff, board members, and more. If your team is planning to completely update your school website, it is important that your internal stakeholders are looped into the exciting news and know what to expect over the course of the project.
There are several ways to include your internal audiences in the project, including sending regular website-update newsletters, creating presentations to show why the redesign is necessary and explaining how the new website will positively impact the school’s brand, even sharing a list of FAQs for stakeholders to reference.
As the project nears completion, offering stakeholders a sneak peek of the new school website design and capabilities also will boost excitement and support!
Is your school website in dire need of some updates or a total overhaul? Schedule a FREE 15-minute phone consultation with our team today so we can learn about your goals, address your pain points, and share our plan for taking your school website to the next level. Contact us for next steps here.