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Taipei American School

Streamlinging Admission wit

As one of the oldest and only non-profit international schools in Manila, British School Manila (BSM) welcomes more than 50 nationalities and 950 students to its campus with a British international education that supports the student's development as global citizens.

Marketing, Events, and Admissions Senior Manager, Scott Justice, shared BSM’s experience switching from its previous website provider to design, plan, and launch its new best-in-class website with Finalsite, offering a modern and intuitive user experience for both families and the school’s staff.

British School Manila Aerial

 

At a Glance

The British School Manila is a private, non-profit international school offering a British education for children ages 3–18.

What was the reason for redesigning your site? What was the catalyst for the change?

Our old site was showing its age in terms of design and functionality. We felt the design no longer reflected who we were as a school, and prospective families were giving feedback that the site was difficult to navigate.

Our biggest problem was that, from a technical perspective, the site was challenging to update, and the team’s ability to edit without needing a support ticket was incredibly limited. 

We could alter the text but not how or where it was displayed, nor the layout or configuration of the pages. This meant we had to adjust our content to fit the theme rather than the design responding to the page’s content.

Our previous provider's CMS wasn't as intuitive as Composer. Finalsite's CMS allows our team to design our pages as we want, move elements around to test different designs, and keep our pages fresh and updated; our previous provider's CMS did not have that functionality. 

It didn't allow us to easily switch between building pages and previewing how that content would look to our visitors. We couldn’t repurpose content in the same ways that Finalsite offers—it had to be manually transferred over if we wanted to repurpose it in different places.

British School Manila on a laptop mockup

What were the goals of your new website?

We wanted the design to be clean and professional and to reflect our brand. The site needed to be easy to navigate and provide an enjoyable user experience. We also wanted improved functionality — an easy CMS that integrated into our other school systems so that we could continue to make further improvements after launch.

It was also important for the website to house important elements of communication for the school, which included the portals and the newsletter.

Share some details of your redesign. How did you prepare content, and what was training like on the new system?

We began by reviewing our existing website, determining what content we’d like to keep or remove, and discussing what was missing. We then reviewed several other schools' sites to determine what visual appearance, functionality, and user experience we wanted. 

When it came time to work with the designer at Finalsite, we provided our branding and visual identity guidelines, discussed what our school meant to the community, and discussed what we wanted for the website.

After we agreed on our design and enhancements, we contacted our community stakeholders to update their content, and our team began the process of building the new site. 

Users were always the main priority when building the site, and we always considered the user experience when deciding what content to include and whether the messaging would be received as intended.

two students working in a science lab

I found Composer to be by far the easiest CMS I have ever worked with. I've been constantly impressed by Finalsite's effort to improve and advance the services and functions it offers schools and the comprehensive range of training and development it offers the teams that use its products. 

Finalsite provided training in the form of self-study modules, recordings, and online sessions that our whole team could attend, and the deployment team was great at answering our queries or helping us figure out how to achieve what we sought. Denise and Paul, in particular, were incredibly helpful and responsive.

From the moment we started, we knew our schedule, deadlines, and timeline, which were designed to fit our school calendar.

Our regular check-ins helped answer our questions, solve problems, and soothe the inevitable anxieties you experience as you go through the redesign process. Finalsite’s professional services team also ensured we hit all of our goals and launched our website and portals on time and ahead of our original estimate.

5%

Reduction
in bounce rate

30%

Increase
in new site visitors

40%

Increase
in newsletter CTR and engagement

How does the new site benefit your school community?

We started with Composer to build the website's pages and have utilized Posts to maximize our website content for our newsletters. As a model, we vastly prefer the COPE (create once, publish everywhere) methodology that Finalsite provides. It allows us to direct more traffic to our website and work in more efficient ways.

For example, we had to use a completely separate system for our newsletter, despite it being bundled with the same provider as our previous website, so it felt visually different from our website.

It’s more convenient for the community to stay on one platform for Portals, information, and accessing school events, so Forms and Messages have also been helpful as we streamline communication through the website.

In terms of support, we would often submit a ticket to our previous provider and wait for more than a day for a response, whereas Finalsite's support had a much quicker turnaround and a far greater first-time resolution rate.

What have been some of the results of the redesign? What feedback have you received from your community?

We’re proud of the entire enhanced experience throughout the site. As users navigate through the pages, everything is more accessible. The portals are not just more accessible, but it’s also easier for the team to update the whole site from the backend.

This was the first design and build process I’ve experienced with Finalsite, but compared to previous experiences, it was by far the smoothest and best-structured website redesign I've had.

The whole website, including the newsletter we’ve started sending out and the portals the community has been using, is built through collaboration. None of those would be possible if the platform was difficult for the people working on it.

Thanks to Finalsite, we're off to a great start. Since launching the new website, we've seen 30% more new visitors, more returning users, a 5% reduction in bounce rate, and better engagement. 

We aim to get even more people involved in utilizing Messages across the school, although we've already seen a 40% increase in click-through rate and engagement with our newsletter. This is just the start of the community being more engaged and open to change and improvement!

Line art icon of a computer screen with a book overlaid on top.

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