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Tell-tale signs your school website needs to be updated

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Website technology is constantly evolving, bringing new updates designed to make our lives easier, especially in the means of digital marketing. Though staying up to date with every new plug-in and widget may be time-consuming, it’s worth it to keep your organization or school website fresh to make sure you’re maximizing your time and money. 

The most common reason why organizations and schools update their websites is because it’s simply been a long time since the last update. Your school could have employed new staff members, changed locations, updated contact details, or received new certifications. It’s common to completely update and redesign a company website every three to five years, and schools are no exception to the standard. 

Besides the classic “it’s just been a long time” reason for an update, there are a plethora of other reasons for a website redesign. If you check any of the boxes below, contact us for help with updating your website. 

You have recently rebranded your school or organization

It’s important that your website reflects the message your school or organization is trying to convey. It’s not uncommon for organizations to rebrand their messaging every few years, especially if there’s new leadership or target audiences added to your school community. Your website should be your first updating priority when you rebrand; families looking on your website don’t want to see outdated logos, colors, and messages. Consistent branding across your marketing efforts will increase the trust your school communities have in you. 

It’s difficult to navigate your site 

Navigation goes both ways. You may find that it is difficult for you to customize or add any new content to your site. At the same time, your site users may be having trouble with site lagging, or finding what they’re looking for. Even if your site was just updated a mere few years ago, there are so many website technologies created each year. There’s always a benefit to learning about new widgets and plug-ins that can help make your site easily navigated. 

Your site does not have a “mobile first” design 

Is your site easy to use on a tablet or mobile device? If your answer is no, or you’re not sure, you’re definitely in need of an update. In the last decade, the increase of smartphone usage has made “mobile first” website designs crucial. The world is on-the-go these days, no one has time to try and navigate long menus; scrolling is the fastest and easiest way users want to find their information. It’s important that your website gives your users a seamless experience across all the devices they may use. 

Luckily, site platforms like WordPress will automatically adjust your site to suit the different devices your audiences may use. Contact us today to discuss WordPress and updating your school site. 

There are no “Digital Campus” efforts on your site 

St. Martins School has a virtual tour video that showcases the school’s mission, the students, staff and the new unique virtual learning environment.

For independent schools, the most important target audience in your marketing efforts is prospective families. Because of this, your school website needs to have a strong “digital campus.” This school year will be different due to COVID-19 and increased social distance learning; families will be heavily considering the best and safest education for their children. Some digital campus efforts to update on your school website are virtual campus tours, interactive FAQ pages, virtual open houses, email newsletters, safety/crisis communication pages, etc. 

Your site has a high bounce rate

The hard truth to accept is that once a user stumbles upon your site, you have about four seconds to impress them before they move on. Because of this, it is critical that your site loads quickly, isn’t clunky, and is attractive to your viewers. If you notice in your analytics that a high percentage of your users are leaving your site without clicking any other links, your bounce rate is high. 

Bounce rates can be high due to overall poor website design. If a user finds your site difficult to navigate, there’s a good chance they won’t hang around long. It’s important that your site is fresh, updated, with no broken links or page lagging.

Your investment in your website should be a priority for your school. Even if your site only has a few of the problems listed above, it may be time for a full website update.

Sign Up for Semi-Annual Website Updates!

Your website can get old fast! It’s easy to forget to update information and photos on your site. An up-to-date website can send a message to website visitors that you are engaged in your website and that you pay attention to details.

We will contact you every 6 months to go over your website content and select updated photography to keep your website up to date. We will test all the forms on your site, check for broken links on your entire site and look for outdated information on your top 10 pages. We will prompt you to take new photos or have someone else take some photos to choose from (often you already have a selection of photos on your phone or camera that were used for social media). We will share a Google Drive folder with you to make it easy to share photos with us so we can select 5-10 new photos for your website.

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