St. Andrew's School
Your school's website is your most important marketing tool — and the team at St. Andrew's School in Delaware knows that well.
It's why Director of Communications Liz Torrey and her team put an immense amount of thought and strategy behind every decision, from the site's navigation to photo selection.
It's this kind of strategy that has left the marketing and admissions teams at St. Andrew's reviewing numerous impressive website stats that back up their hefty investment into a new, responsive website.
"Our designer was great," said Liz. "I knew from the moment I saw the new framework for the site it was going to be awesome. But, I was really happy when I discovered Composer, the , was super user-friendly on the back-end."
Founded in 1929 with an unprecedented approach to financial aid, St. Andrew's School is an independent, co-ed, all-boarding, Episcopal high school in Middletown, Delaware. St. Andrew's is a community dedicated to tying education to a public purpose. The school works to awaken its students to the responsibilities we all share for our world. St. Andrew's encourages engagement, inquiry, and creativity to promote future generations of thoughtful, compassionate and intelligent leaders.
" Our designer was great. I knew from the moment I saw the new framework for the site it was going to be awesome. But, I was really happy when I discovered Composer, the CMS, was super user-friendly on the back-end."
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
A Design that Caters to Prospective Families
"Our site is primarily for prospective students," Liz said. "In the surveys we did in the process prior to the redesign, we learned that current families use the site as a tool to find a particular piece of information, whereas prospective students explore and try and find out what life at the school is like."
What Liz's team discovered during the survey process is not unique to St. Andrew's School. Today, most schools use their front-end website for marketing their school, and specific public or password-protected portals to act as utilities for current families.
When you take a look at St. Andrew's website, you'll notice a few key elements that make it obvious it is driven towards recruiting prospective families, including the large homepage video, request information pop-out, recent news, and distinct calls-to-action on pages like their Admission section.
Creating content for the web is harder than ever before because you need to find a way to tell a story and facts, without being too text-heavy or visual-dependent. While some schools are moving towards using a lot more photos and videos than text, Liz said her families appreciate having some solid content to read.
"The hardest part was striking a balance between the perfect amount of text and visuals for parents and students," she said.
The school's old site did not strike this kind of balance. Rather, it was extremely text-heavy. "You couldn't just look and see at a glance what a classroom or campus looked like," said Liz. "The goal with our new site was to give an impression of the life at the school through visuals."
In addition to editing content, Liz also cut the number of website pages in half from 400 page to under 200, making it easier to find content in fewer clicks.
Improved Photo Management
St. Andrew's School has an amazing on-staff photographer and videographer that was extremely under-utilized for their previous website — so much so, that during the redesign process, the team had more than 40,000 brand new photos to sift through.
Nope — that's not a typo. The St. Andrew's communications team went through 40,000 photos to hand-pick hundreds for their new website. And if you visit their website, you'll never notice the same photo used twice. It's all part of their strategy.
"Just because one photo is strong — you need to be mindful," she said. "There is a limit, and attention spans need to be considered. We make sure we're not using the same photo across multiple channels at the same time. We really try to consider where each photo will have the most impact—on our website, or on Instagram or Facebook, or in a newsletter, and so on."
While sorting through 40,000 photos seems like a lot, Liz and her team used Adobe Lightroom to tag the ones they like most. "The good photos kind of select themselves," she said.
Liz knows that a website is a living marketing tool. You don't just redesign and forget about it. It's why they have plans to update their homepage video 3-4 times a year, and swap out some photos monthly.
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