Many school websites can feel outdated or neglected due to budget constraints, time shortages, or simply the belief that editing a school website requires extensive tech know-how (not true!)
The good news is that elevating your school's website design might be much easier than you think...
Similar to a home DIY project, these quick web edits can make a big difference, provided you have the right software tools. Simple changes can greatly enhance your user experience, boost your school's online image, and ensure your site remains a welcoming experience for students, parents, and staff alike.
Ready to transform your look with just a few quick school website updates?
1. Move News & Events to the Bottom of the Homepage
Schools often have a checklist of the content they want to include on their homepage: photos, videos, testimonials, value propositions, calls-to-action, and news and events. It's a long list, but both prospective AND current families care about the latest news and updates.
For prospective families, it's nice to see an active campus; and for current families, it's an easy way to grab the date or time for an upcoming event. However, it's essential to consider: what is the main purpose of our homepage? Is it to communicate with the current school community, or is it to sell?
The beauty is that with the latest news and campus events pulled straight onto your homepage, it keeps one of the busiest pages of your site updated with fresh content — and you don't have to lift a finger. The Linsly School's homepage is now up to date with the latest happenings!
If you use Finalsite's content management system (CMS), Composer, you can simply drag and drop your recent news post module to different areas of your site and spruce up a page.
2. Re-Structure Your Page Layout
Revamping the structure of your school website's content can significantly impact user engagement and overall experience. When using a desktop, naturally, visitors' eyes gravitate toward the upper-left corner when they first arrive on a page.
This path then extends downward and toward the right, so reviewing what content occupies these areas on your site is essential. Positioning your school's core message or value proposition in this top-left quadrant can ensure it's seen front and center (well, OK, top and left...)
This pattern is underscored by the Gutenberg diagram, which maps the typical pathway the eyes follow when browsing text-based content. The bottom right corner — that's where you should place your call to action in this example.
This easy swap can be done in Composer's layout options or with just a few drag-and-drops. It works great on a desktop view, and when users are on a mobile device, your content areas will stack and recreate that easy-to-navigate, user-friendly mobile experience we all want and expect.
3. Create More Internal Links
Internal links go from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain. They're helpful because they allow users to navigate from page to page easily.
But more importantly, they help improve your website's performance in search. (Yes, something as simple as linking your website pages to one another can give you a boost!)
If you use Finalsite Composer, linking to other internal pages is a snap. Simply select the word or words you want to link and choose the page in Composer to link it. Thanks to Composer, even if your page is moved, the link will follow the page to its new location without breaking.
4. Add a Social Media or News Feed to Key Pages
For most schools, admission pages, staff directories, and calendars are some of the most highly trafficked areas. You can add social media feeds, news, events, or announcements to engage your constituents on the pages they visit most.
Saint Andrew's does just that with an integrated social media feed on its admissions page, and it's simple to set up in Composer! Simply drag and drop a Post or Calendar module and start connecting your content!
5. Build a Better News Story Page
When someone clicks a news story on your website, where do they go? It's important to continue the experience after users are done reading. An easy way is to add "more news" to the page, and this can easily be done using Finalsite Posts for Blogs and News.
Just like Emma Willard has done with its news page, adding calendars, social posts, featured news, and more to your news page will introduce more eye-catching visual elements and keep users engaged on the web page longer — just remember to provide relevant content!
- Using a layout like this, bring in related news posts, testimonials, photos, videos, calls-to-action, or a relevant social media mash-up. To save time, copy and paste content from related sections of your site.
- Once you have set up your pages, edit your element settings to display content on the page you built, and you're on your way to success.
With a few strategic updates and DIY-friendly tweaks, your school can significantly enhance the user experience. Simple design shifts and content updates can often make the most impact.