Everyone recalls the feeling they receive when they walk into a school for the very first time, it is this feeling that the school website needs to produce to allow it to prove memorable.
Everyone recalls the feeling they receive when they walk into a school for the very first time.
From driving through the school gates, to walking through the entrance and then being greeted by a welcoming receptionist.
Each school that you visit is completely different and has its own personality.
The experience is truly unique.
It is this feeling that the school website needs to produce to allow it to prove memorable.
If you happen to visit many school websites on a daily basis like we do, then you will already have a slight idea of what contributes to ‘the typical school website’.
Many schools use their website as a marketing and admissions tool, focused on promoting what their school has to offer and what a prospective pupil might expect to experience should they study there.
And rightly so!
Consequently, the performance of a successful school website is focused on driving engagement and increasing admissions.
However, we regularly review school websites that are designed very similarly to one another, either reverting back to the typical hero image and traditional navigation or being more representative of the agency creating it than the school itself.
This makes it very difficult for the visitor to understand the story of the school that the website has been designed for.
By using similar website designs and themes, or looking to in effect ‘copy’ another schools website, effectively fails to communicate your school value proposition and uniqueness, making it very difficult to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Unfortunately, there isn’t one.
And this is exactly our point.
Your winning formula is exactly that, yours!
The approach taken to create your school website will differ to that of a school just down the road, or on the other side of the world.
Whilst there is a lot that the school website must communicate, from your schools goals and values to academic and admissions information, there are many techniques that can be utilised to differentiate your website experience.
A common blunder we see many schools make regularly, is focusing only on the homepage.
Whilst it is typically the top performing page for most school websites, it shouldn’t be at the detriment of the content pages that follow, which are focused on driving engagement and action towards a conversion.
Avoiding content page design templates will allow your experience to feel different page by page and will certainly help you to move away from ‘the norm’.
This is where we see a lot of school websites fail.
When schools look to innovate and become more creative by introducing bespoke designs for the key areas of their website, we tend to see lower bounce rates and higher goal conversion.
We could probably write a short white paper on this topic, but that’s for another day.
One of the main benefits of a bespoke school website design is that it is tailored to your school.
Its personality, brand, unique selling points, culture, goals, values, ethos.
The list goes on and on … on.
A bespoke design allows for a distinctive and memorable website experience which improves the average session duration of the users visit.
Another huge benefit is that it makes your school a lot more credible.
Showcasing the unique elements that make up your school will be reinforced when the user eventually visits your school in person.
This will allow your school to develop its brand, resonating with the user and communicated across all channels to provide a seamless experience.
As the title suggests, our aim is to communicate a school’s uniqueness.
We’re very proud of the fact that if you were to visit some of our most recently finished school websites, such as MPW, St Alban’s High School for Girls and St Paul’s, the experience you receive is reflective of the school’s story and very different from one another.
This is achieved through having a very comprehensive and clear understanding of what makes each of our school clients unique.
Many schools will share similar traits from strong academic performance through to outstanding pastoral care, however it is the unique factors which make a school website experience memorable.
Once we have this understanding, we allow for the clients design style preferences and then look to produce a design that is in keeping with the schools branding and personality.
We see far too often what can happen when an agency follows a ‘typical’ approach, which is why every project we have is treated as unique, starting from scratch.
A school website experience should portray the uniqueness of the school, which will prove memorable for when the prospective parent or pupil is shortlisting possible options.
It shouldn’t aim to replicate the experience you receive when you visit the school.
However, finding its own place in the wider school experience that creates the perfect platform to be amazed when you visit in person.
Following an agency formula or reverting to the industry norm, will fail to make you stand out in what is an increasingly competitive school landscape.