Summer is rapidly approaching, and as your students are anticipating the upcoming summer vacation, it’s time to start preparing your school’s website for the next school year.
Website upkeep isn’t easy work. However, it is crucial to ensure your website is reaching its full potential. In this article we’ll list some great website update projects that can be completed in the course of a summer vacation.
First, before starting any new tasks on your website this summer, take a look at what did and didn’t work for your website this school year. Did your homepage lag? Was it easy or difficult for parents to navigate the school calendars? Were there any issues with your contact forms that negatively impacted your marketing funnels and enrollment numbers this year? Does your site’s photography and imagery need to be updated? These are all things to look back on and make note of to fix while students are out this summer. There can be some big-ticket issues that may take more time and effort to resolve, but also note the smaller issues and make a list to discuss with your team.
Set website goals for the new school year
After reviewing your website’s performance this past school year, it’s time to start looking beyond and setting some realistic goals for your website. Be sure the goals are SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. This will ensure you aren’t biting off more than you can chew, and your goals will be trackable. It’s best not to overload your team with goals over the summer, but more realistically focusing on 2-4 achievable tasks that can be completed over the course of the summer. Unfinished summer projects can carry over into the fall semester; however, they’re more likely to get lost in the chaos of starting a new school year and slip through the cracks. A realistic, timely set of goals will ensure this won’t happen.
Tweak your homepage
How is your school’s homepage looking? Does the photography need updating, or are multimedia elements causing a frustrating lag? If you believe elements on your homepage are out of date, summer is the perfect time to update aesthetic elements like imagery, make minor color scheme updates, and design tweaks. If you feel like the overall layout of your homepage isn’t as effective as you’d like it to be, a one-page redesign isn’t a huge project in the grand scheme of a website overhaul, and can be done in a summer’s length.
Update school website calendars
If your school’s calendar isn’t already located on your homepage, make a note to get it moved over. This is a great summer project because you and your team can work to set dates you know your school community will be holding events, teacher workdays, field trips, etc. Once the calendar is updated and on your school website’s homepage, it makes it easy for faculty, staff and students to stay up to date, and it lets prospective families get an inside look at your school’s extracurricular events. It’s helpful for current school families in their planning, too.
Stock up on blog posts
Blog posts are valuable assets to any school website. Summer vacation is a great time to hunker down and pump out some evergreen content for your school’s blog. It’s a good idea to have some already written blog posts handy; once the school semester begins, it’s easy for blog posts to go unpublished because of the craziness of the new school year. If your school doesn’t have a blog, consider starting one. Blog posts are a parent’s inside look at the culture of your school and can help increase enrollment rates. Cursive Content has a great list of blog post ideas for school marketers to help get you started.
Refresh photography and multimedia
A picture says a thousand words. A tell-tale sign that your website’s photography is out of date is if the kids in the photos are now in their twenties or older. Photography can make or break the success of your website marketing efforts! It’s important to prioritize refreshing your website’s photography and other multimedia elements like videos, graphics, etc. to include current members of your school communities. Strong images and multimedia elements are engaging and are great insights for families looking to join the school community. Take the summer to refresh your website’s and photography so it’s ready to go when the new school year begins.
Make grade-specific update pages
Summer is the perfect time to update your website’s content as changes are made to each grade’s supply lists, staff members, etc. Introducing new pieces of curriculum on the website before school starts is helpful to parents as they plan for their child’s school year, they have the opportunity to prepare or raise concerns with faculty before it’s too late. If your website is currently without a grade-specific navigation menu, consider working with a web designer to build one over the summer. Busy parents don’t have the time to dig through pages of information that don’t pertain to their child, so providing them with detailed, to the point and grade-specific pages of information will make their lives easier and will help avoid miscommunications.
Complete a general site check up
If you can’t remember the last time you did a general site check up, it’s probably best to get one done this summer. Elements that could need some tweaking are (but not limited to):
- Faculty and staff pictures and bios
- Internal and external links
- Contact forms
- Updated copyright footer
- Connection to email management services
Additionally, your SEO analytics and website performance should be checked and analyzed, as well as your site’s content strategy. At Design TLC, we offer free 15-minute phone calls to help dig into your website and prioritize what issues should be addressed first.
Need your school website updated before school begins in the fall, but don’t know where to start? No worries – contact us today for a free consultation. Also, be sure to register for our next Lunch & Learn WordPress Workshop series for schools! Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 27 at 1PM to learn more about how WordPress can help your school website reach its full potential.