- General Best Practices
- International Schools
As part of their 50th Golden Jubilee, the British School of Milan (Sir James Henderson), launched a superb new website that reflects their reputation of being one of the “Top 10 British Schools” in the world. We sat down with their team to learn about their successful website migration to Finalsite’s Composer Content Management System (CMS) from Fluency, a legacy platform.
With over 720 students from around the world, an active alumni community, and rated as 'Excellent' by UK inspectors, BSM excels on all levels; so it’s no surprise that their website redesign took on the same pursuit of excellence. The marketing team led the project starting in May 2018, with a successful launch in October of that same year.
“Our Fluency website was ripe for change and we knew we needed to move to Composer," said Ruth from the marketing team. "Finalsite helped us understand the benefits and gave us an overview of the essential steps for a successful migration. We worked with the team at Finalsite to learn about the new platform to determine which modules would be best suited to meet our needs.”
Some of the key benefits for moving to Composer include:
● Modern drag-and-drop user interface
● More robust software platform with school specific modules
● Integration with management information systems and SSOs to other systems
● Truly private password protected portals
● Support, support, support!
“We found the whole process pretty simple,” Ruth said. “With the project management tool provided by Finalsite, we were able to keep the project moving along and we knew what we needed to accomplish to meet our tight deadline. We then met with our project team which included a project manager, designer and developer.”
In less than six months, BSM successfully launched a comprehensive new website. Their bright and bold logo was recently enhanced to mark their 50-year jubilee, and it set the tone for the entire homepage.
Dr. Chris Greenhalgh, Principal and CEO, shared his thoughts. “We love the polish of it. It’s very impressive and really showcases our school – with fine attention to detail. The watermarked map graphics of Italy and the UK help capture the true identity of the school in a subtle visual way. Coupled with the Duomo icon used throughout, it really looks great!”
The homepage also includes a custom infographic, a rotating banner with the BSM students’ world-class university destinations, as well as interactive elements to guide visitors further into the site.
Learn why hundreds of schools in over 80 countries have partnered with Finalsite!
Composer’s Feature Rich Tools
Composer is feature-rich compared to Fluency, and offers more modules to address the unique communication needs of schools. The WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editor makes it simple to create page layouts with dynamic content that can be pulled in to create very robust pages, and administrators are empowered to edit and manage directly without calling support or paying for enhancements.
Maintaining a school website is easy for even the novice, and Composer also allows the more tech-savvy user to create more sophisticated pages.
“We have found the support and responsiveness so much better on the new platform,” Ruth said. “Whether the European support team or the US teams respond - it’s always fast and efficient. We are so pleased!”
With these flexible and robust features, BSM was able to showcase their extensive co-curricular programs with text and images. Families quickly see that the school day does not end when the final bell rings. They also included some translated FAQ content into Italian for the local community.
Super Users of Various Modules
BSM takes full advantage of Finalsite's Forms Manager. From their extensive admissions form to open morning registrations and feedback forms, they really push the envelope. The team was glad to learn that Finalsite’s Community Voice was available for making suggestions and recommendations for future enhancements to improve the product for all schools.
Finalsite also maintains an extensive knowledge base of articles and videos so that users can learn new things on their own time and benefit from tips and tricks from other Finalsite users around the world.
What some schools find a bit daunting - creating a comprehensive, intuitive parent portal – BSM tackled with a stunning, well thought out and easy to navigate portal that parents love.
“We have all our more private content behind the portal, and we use tabs and landing pages to help guide our parents in finding what they are looking for," Ruth said. "We also spent a lot of time creating bios for all of our teachers which are very popular as well.”
Expanding Social Media and Other Future Communication Goals
“We are really focused on all of our social media channels and tailor our messaging for each platform based on the different audiences.” said Valentina from the Marketing team. “We can be more adventurous on social media compared to our more formal communication channels. We have a good following already on Facebook but know our Instagram attracts a much younger audience. Sharing our stories, values and the energy in our school is a priority for us on social media.”
“On the horizon, we plan to move to Finalsite’s Messages module for our newsletters, eliminating the need for a separate communication platform. We will be pulling in dynamic content from the website to make our newsletters more interactive and sophisticated." Ruth concluded: "All in all, we are delighted that the website looks stylish, contemporary, user-friendly, and provides an authentic and representative entry to the school, its values, its aims and its pursuit of excellence for the families it serves!”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As part of Finalsite's marketing team, Debbie has worked with international schools for the past 9 years while living in both Asia and Europe. From conference planning and presentations, to association events, and client success stories, she helps schools understand how they can maximize their web presence while partnering with Finalsite. In her free time she enjoys traveling and attending events at her children's international school in Berlin, Germany.
- International Schools
- Website Redesign