How NOT to design your School’s Website
“One key thing to have in mind is that parents don’t care about how beautiful your school is until you show them how the beauty helps them to solve a particular problem.“
Most website designs start with a conversation between clients and contractors (web designers). This is a wrong move.
A great and functional website starts with user persona. The website is not designed for you or your web designer. It is designed for prospective clients- the parents. It is only logical to start with them if you want a successful website for your school
Website design is not just about aesthetics. In the very unlikely event that your interest between aesthetic and impeccable content is clashing, err on the side of content.
Content is the most important element of your website – the quality of the relevant images and the copy (texts) are basic components of the content of your website. If the content of your website does not address the pain points of your prospective, old, and current parents, your investments on your website are not worth the while.
In order to guide your decision on the quality of content for your website, let’s examine some key points to take into consideration:
Preach Benefits NOT Features
There is a great difference between the following statements;
1. We have a CCTV camera surveillance system in our school (flaunting the image of the CCTV camera).
2. Your child is secured with us (flaunting the image of the CCTV camera).
The former statement represents the feature of your school while the latter represents the benefits (to parents) of your school.
One key thing to have in mind is that parents don’t care about how beautiful your school is until you show them how the beauty helps them to solve a particular problem. In order words, the content on your website must appeal to the emotions of your prospects.
Optimize your website for Parents (USERS) NOT Search Engines.
Getting visitors to your website is only half the battle. A lot has been said about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by experts including myself. I’ll like to say that over-concentration on keywords to increase visibility of your website can disrupt the logical flow of your website’s content making it hard for users to make a good sense of it.
At the end of the day, you will find out that if you focus on optimizing the content of your website for your users, you end up optimizing for search engine. The rule of thumb here is to start with your users in mind and not search engine. If your content is good for users, then it is good for search engines. Yes, quote me!
Use more of ‘You and Your’ than ‘We and Us’.
It is tempting to flaunt your facilities and other great things about your school on your website – Our state-of-the-art facilities, our this, our that, we are the best school in town etc. Yes, you deserve the bragging rights and accolades after all it is your school. The truth of the matter is that your school exists because parents do, parents don’t exist because schools do.
Consider changing phrases like ‘ABC is an award-winning school’ to ‘Your award winning School’ where applicable.
The rule of thumb here is to consider your website as a third party talking about or reporting your school.
Other things to look out for are;
- Reduce the number of font-types and sizes to a maximum of 3. Remember, less is more.
- Avoid writing texts that span across the entire length of your website. Consider breaking them into columns.
- Use space to separate different sections of the same page.
- Lastly, watch out for typos and grammatical errors- It’s a NO NO!