A website that’s full of useful information will be the first place that parents visit instead of coming into school or phoning the school office, saving valuable staff time. Make it as easy as possible for them to find what they need…
Three click rule:
Visitors should be able to find any information they are looking for within a maximum of three clicks. Ensure that pages are well categorised in the navigation of your site to help people find what they need. Put important information on the home page or have an obvious quick link to it. Ask parents for their input: Survey parents to find out what they want from the school website. Ask them how often they visit the school website, what they usually go to it for and what they would like to see more of.
Review visitor statistics:
If you are able to view visitor statistics for your school website, take a look to find out what your most popular pages are and ensure that all key information can be found on those pages. If your website isn’t being visited frequently, write to parents and remind them of the website address and what information can be found there. Improve community links: Use the school website to build ties with your wider community. You could link to the local library, sports clubs, places of worship, community centre or wraparound care providers.
Most schools share out the responsibility for updating their website so that the task doesn’t fall to just one member of staff. Get teachers or teaching assistants to update their class pages and office staff to add the most recent newsletters and photos. Get pupils involved: Parents love anything that showcases their children’s talents. Ensure you have galleries of artwork, sports events, school performances and trips. Get pupils involved in making their own class pages or blogs which parents will be keen to read, with the added benefit of developing the pupils’ computing and literacy skills.
Archive old pages:
You could archive old pages meaning you still keep the content but it is hidden so parents don’t have to scroll through old news and dated class pages to find the latest information, keeping content fresh and relevant. Always ensure the most recent item is at the top of the page.
Promote the website everywhere:
Make sure parents know the website address and why they should visit it. Put up posters at school, perhaps designed by the pupils, and add the website address to the school’s letterhead, newsletters and social media accounts if you have them.