We hear “We need a new website” from schools in every corner of the globe. It seems like a simple request, but when you really dig in, web design is much more complex and requires thought, analysis, and expertise. Helping international schools understand the importance of their online presence beyond the aesthetics and first impressions should be the focus of any leading school website company.
A school’s website continues to be the main source of information for prospective parents, students, and faculty. Catering to a global audience who speak different languages, with different backgrounds — who might have never been to your city or country, is challenging.
So, how can you help families envision themselves as a part of your story before they even set foot on campus?
Building a site experience that addresses your family's needs requires more than an open-source website template or flashy images and videos. It's a nuanced process that demands a website provider with a global perspective and decades of experience as an industry leader.
As your school researches a website provider, consider an international perspective that includes:
- Industry expertise working with thousands of schools around the world
- The latest insights into modern school website design
- Security and global hosting
- Data integration with leading global systems
- Professional development and networking opportunities with schools around the world
Comprehensive Industry Expertise
For more than two decades, Finalsite has prioritized assisting school admission and marketing professionals in addressing these challenges by offering user-friendly tools specifically designed for their needs.
Having collaborated with international schools in 120 countries, large and small, from Africa to Asia to Europe and beyond, Finalsite understands many schools can share common attributes, but each possesses its unique value proposition and objectives for its website.
Finalsite’s content management system (CMS), Composer, and its associated modules, such as newsletters, calendars, blogs, and portals, are tailored to empower marketing and communications to perform essential tasks easily. Coupled with Finalsite Enrollment, a strategic enrollment management system, users can easily navigate the admissions and enrollment process, as it's seamlessly woven into the school's web design.
School Website Design Experience
The international school market continues to grow, and with more than 13,000 schools across the globe, it means competition is fierce. Schools must take a proactive approach to keep their websites in top shape, which takes more than just a nice design. Search engine optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, and social media integration – along with engaging videos, digital marketing, calls to action, and an amazing user experience – are all necessary to meet and exceed user expectations.
Additionally, a responsive and mobile-friendly design is crucial for fostering engagement, satisfaction, and accessibility with families on the go, and achieving this level of website sophistication takes expertise — something not always available with local school marketing agencies or open-source solutions.
Since a school website is always being updated, having the ability to quickly add a landing page to capture registrations for an event, create a celebration page, or swap out homepage images and videos, needs to be easily and quickly accomplished without the need for a work order or custom programming. Although these updates seem basic, not all website solutions allow this flexibility.
Security and Global Hosting
At a time when prospective students and parents, faculty, and stakeholders need to access their websites 24/7 from any corner of the globe, schools are falling victim to more sophisticated cyber-attacks.
Directors of technology are already so overwhelmed with infrastructure maintenance, student information systems, accounting systems, and hardware management that the school website, critical as it is for communications, takes a backseat in their priorities.
This is where Finalsite steps in to alleviate these concerns. With Google Cloud for hosting websites, marketing and admissions offices can rest knowing that their websites are secure and protected. With Cloudflare’s Content Delivery Network, school marketers don't need to worry about how quickly their website loads or how fast that expensive school video plays for prospective families.
There are many school website providers built on open-source solutions, which increase the risk of falling victim to a website attack. Finalsite employs a team of highly skilled professionals who work around the clock to keep websites running and data safe.
Data Integration With Other Systems
Integrating admissions software and student information with the website to drive personalized communications is cumbersome and often falls to the bottom of the list of priorities for a school’s technology department. However, for admissions and marketing, combining these systems is needed to reach new families, send targeted communications, and secure portals and access to information.
And since most international schools offer a busy extracurricular schedule, school field trips, uniforms, and alumni donations, integrating with a secure processor ensures your school saves valuable time and enhances the accuracy of your user data and payments.
Professional Development and Networking with Schools Around the World
With colleagues spread across the globe, collaborating with admissions and marketing professionals usually means a plane ticket. Finalsite is committed to educating and connecting professionals.
With virtual and in-person conferences and events like Finalsite University, attending and presenting at association conferences and workshops are ways we connect, engage, and learn. We also work tirelessly to educate and connect via our blog, webinars, and our popular online School Marketing Day.
Additionally, Finalsite clients can access the Finalsite client portal. It’s a quick way to learn about the support options available, get a quick tutorial, or put in a critical support ticket that gets handled by Finalsite’s Support Team, who are stationed around the world.
Finalsite is more than a school website design company. With extensive experience serving international schools in over 120 countries, Finalsite provides solutions that allow schools to elevate their online presence confidently and meet the needs of their global community. Web development is important, but solutions tailored just for schools, a global perspective, and support in all time zones set the best school website design company apart from the rest.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As part of Finalsite's marketing team, Debbie has worked with international schools for the past 10 years while living in both Asia and Europe. She helps schools understand how they can maximize their web presence while partnering with Finalsite. As a parent of three children who graduated from IB World Schools, she has keen insights into the marketing and communication needs of international schools.