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5 Things to Know Before, During & After a School Website Design
Connor Gleason

A successful school website redesign involves a comprehensive process with many layers, requiring thoughtful planning, execution, and maintenance, from initial brainstorming to ongoing updates and promotion post-launch.

Depending on your goals and the size of your school or district, the process can take anywhere from a couple of months to the better part of a year, and although redesigning your school’s website involves many decisions, a well-executed plan can transform your school's online presence.

There's no need to tackle everything at once, though. A clear roadmap and an understanding of the tasks ahead let you strategically plan and anticipate the decisions that will influence your website's launch and ongoing success.

Let’s look at what you need to be aware of before, during, and after your school's website design project to ensure a smooth transition.

Before the Redesign: Getting Ready for Change

Preparation is key! Being well-prepared speeds up the process and adds clarity and direction to your efforts — and your design team. You can streamline the redesign process by clearly defining your goals, having a solid vision for your site's new look and feel, and understanding what needs improvement.

Think of this phase as laying down a roadmap for success — the better the plan, the smoother the journey. All this preparation helps you and your team focus on creating a website that reflects the spirit and needs of your school community.

1. Define Your Goals

Before starting, ask yourself, "What do we want to achieve with this new website?" You may want more prospective families to engage with the site or make it easier for staff to find information. Knowing your goals will guide your redesign journey.

2. Know Your Audience

Think about who will be using your website — and why. Students, parents, teachers, and potential families all have different needs. Your design should make your target audience feel welcome and help them find what they need quickly.

website feedback mockup on laptop

3. Audit Your Current Website

Take a good look at your existing website. What's working well? What's not? How does it function on a smartphone? Some parts may need to be updated, or some information is hard to find. Other sections may work well and just need a refresh. Just as Richland School District 2 surveyed its community, early feedback from school leadership, administrators, and parents can help you make it even better.

Keep Reading: It's Time to Say "Goodbye!" Deleting Content from School Websites

4. Plan Your Budget

Budgets matter. You need to know how much you can invest in this project. Do you want an amazing custom design, or are you hoping to launch ASAP with a modern and flexible Theme design?

Will you need multiple integrations, custom design elements, social media feeds, and a mobile app, or maybe you’ll need to invest in photography or save some resources for your rebrand? This will help you decide what's most important to add or change on your website.

5. Choose the Right Team

Decide who will help you with this project. You might have people at your school who can do it, or you might need to partner with professionals to assist and provide guidance. No one has to do this alone, but the important thing is that the school website design company you choose understands what your school is all about, what your goals are, and what you hope to accomplish.

Website Redesign Playbook

During the Redesign: Making the Changes

As you head into your school's website redesign process, it's important to approach each step individually. This stage is about bringing your vision to life while keeping an eye on the user experience.

  • Utilizing data to inform your decisions ensures that each change is purposeful and effective.
  • Flexibility is vital during this phase because you'll need to adapt as you uncover new insights or face unexpected challenges.
  • Remember that staying true to your school's brand identity is equally crucial. You should be able to steer your redesign in a direction that looks good, resonates with your audience, and serves their needs effectively.

1. Focus on User Experience

Your website should be easy to navigate and mobile-friendly for everyone. Make sure the menus are intuitive and the pages load quickly. With a great school website design, everyone should be able to find what they need without getting frustrated.

2. Prioritize Content

The language, graphics, and pictures (and how they interact with one another on your site) are all very important. They should be interesting, but most importantly — helpful to users. Keep your content fresh and relevant so your website visitors want to return.

Keep ReadingHatchet or Scalpel? 5 Tips for Migrating Content to a New School Website

3. Test and Get Feedback

It's great to ask a few people to use your site and tell you what they think. Don’t wait until it goes live to review site content, landing page layouts, and your site’s functionality and responsive design.

4. Stay on Brand

Your website should feel like it belongs to your school. The colors, pictures, and words should fit your school's style and values. You’ll launch with a website style guide to help keep your site consistent, but make sure you use appropriate language, style, and visuals, too.

5. Keep Your Options Open

Remember, your website doesn't have to be perfect right away. It should grow and change just like your school does. When you do launch, it doesn’t have to be 100% “perfect” or even complete. Think of it as a living thing that's never truly "finished."

The Ultimate School Website Planner

After the Redesign: Keeping it Going

Once your school's website redesign is complete, the journey is far from over — it’s never really “over.” In fact, this is a critical phase where the focus shifts to maintenance and continuous improvement of pages, content, and search engine optimization (SEO).

Promoting your revamped website, embracing best practices, and learning time-saving tips can significantly enhance your return on investment, ensuring your website remains a valuable and functional tool. This ongoing commitment to your website is what maximizes its potential as one of your school's most important investments!

1. Train Your Team

Many schools and districts have small teams, so make sure the people at your school know how to use and update the new website. With Finalsite's content management system, Composer, setting permission groups and administrative roles to access certain pages and add or delete content will help keep your site fresh and working well.

2. Monitor Website Performance

Use analytics tools like Google Analytics to see how well your website performs. Are people visiting it? Are they getting lost? This information will help you make smart changes in the future.

medford site design feedback

3. Gather Feedback

Always be open to hearing what people think of your site. Gathering insight into its functionality and the content, navigation, and resources can help you keep improving it over time, just like Medford School District has done with its feedback form.

4. Keep Content Fresh

Some school launch their site and don’t touch it for years! Keep adding new content to your website. Regular news updates, blog posts, social media integrations, and other updates will keep people interested and help with SEO.

GISNY facebook ad

5. Promote Your New Website

Let everyone know about your new and improved website! Use email, social media, and other communication tools to help spread the word to your community, graduates, parents, and anyone who will listen!

Now is a great time to send targeted ads to your revamped site with PPC and social ads, too. With a newly launched site, German International School, New York is ready for a wave of traffic thanks to its paid social ads.

Key Takeaway

Redesigning your school's website is a big job, but it's worth it! A great website can make a big difference in how people see your school and the experience you provide to students. It's a key part of your school's story, and remember, it's not just a one-time project. Your website will keep growing and changing, just like your school does.

website redesign playbook

Connor Gleason Headshot


Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.

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