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Great School Website Design Reflects Great Schools

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If the only impression someone had of your school was from looking at the website, what would they think of it? 

They say you only have one chance to make a first impression. If your school website is your first impression, you want it to be a good one. Your website is your school’s front door to the community. Your school’s high-achieving students, impressive faculty, robust extracurricular programs, and rigorous curriculum will mean little unless your school delivers the right impression. Even an airline with a sparkling safety and on-time record can suffer from a major image problem if the peanuts are stale or the seat cushions are tattered.

A poorly designed school website can be an inaccurate representation of your school. And when parents visit your website and leave frustrated or with a bad impression, it hurts your school’s reputation. 

Perception is everything

Your website is a major touch point for your school brand. Brand, remember, is not just the look of your product or service, but the community’s experience with your school. Websites are a major part of that experience. Take a look at these Top 10 School Website Designs, and see for yourself what makes them stand out.

Any school communicator who is serious about the school or district’s image should place a lot of emphasis on the school website as part of the overall brand experience for the entire school community. It’s not only parents that you’re trying to engage, but also your students, staff, media and community members – all of whom are all influenced by your school’s brand. This influence can translate into better attendance at PTO meetings and sporting events; more participation in fund-raising events; more engagement on social media channels; or even more votes for a school tax levy.

In a column for Forbes, Richard Breitengraser talked about the emotional connection that some brands – think Apple, Barbie, Nutella – have built with their customers. Choosing where to send your child to school is an emotionally-driven decision, and strong branding helps to create the sense of trust and intimacy that will encourage families to join your community. Strong branding isn’t possible without a well-designed website that reflects your school’s mission and values – a website that will keep people coming back. Here’s an article that features great school district website design examples that will keep parents coming back.

Build trust, build engagement

Trust is crucial to the function of a school environment and community, but the way we build this trust has changed.

The landscape of interaction between schools and the surrounding community is different now than it was 20 years ago. It’s no longer safe for schools to have an open-door policy. Instead, schools have to be careful and conscious about who comes and goes on their campus, and this places the burden of establishing trust more heavily on school communications. What can’t be done in person must now be done digitally. 

Parents and community members must rely on a school’s media savvy – including websites, social media and non-digital communications – to form their opinions and (hopefully) create positive associations with the school.

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