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When’s the last time you updated – or, for that matter, looked at – your school website?
Have you checked it out on a smartphone or ipad? How’s it looking?
Do you know how many people visit it? And why?
And what impression is it giving to potential students and parents?
If you think these questions don’t matter, think again.
Please, stay with me. I’m writing this not to make you feel like a technophobe, but to help you improve your online presence!
You Could Be Losing Students!
Have you ever considered that you could be losing potential new students and families to the school down the road, because your website is unappealing?
In my many years working as a marketing consultant to schools around Australia, I’ve seen just about every kind of school website there is: from the very basic, to the overly complex; from the outdated and clunky, to the fresh, modern and mobile-friendly.
So I’m going to cut to the chase: In today’s marketplace, an old fashioned, tired-looking website is no longer good enough.
While a website is not the be-all and end-all of a parent’s decision making, it is definitely an important component.
Here’s five reasons why you need to give your school website some TLC – and, perhaps, a professional makeover.
1) The Web, For Many, is First Port-Of-Call
We all know that word-of-mouth, open days, community networks and school reputation, are still crucial influences for parents choosing a new school. But you can’t ignore the fact that for many, the internet is the first port of call.
Recent statistics show that 97 percent of consumers conduct online research before making a local purchase. While choosing a school is not a “purchase”, the principle is the same: People go to the web for info.
Consider the parent who’s just moved to your area, and knows nobody besides the real estate agent who just sold them their new house? The internet will be their first information go-to, even before they get to talk to others in their community.
2) We’re in a Visual Age
As much as you don’t want to believe it, in our visually-oriented society, so many people judge books by their covers. While we know that the worth of our school or organisations must go far deeper than a glossy first impression, a good looking “cover” sure helps.
Is your website design and imagery contemporary? Is it appealing? Does it communicate positive messages, or does it turn people away?
A marketing consultant can help a school to improve your visual presentation online. It’s well worth the investment.
3) The Mobile Shift
In the past two to five years, internet technology has changed rapidly, with the explosion of smart phones and tablets changing the way people access the internet. If your website is more than two or three years old, it’s probably not designed to display well on mobile devices.
A “responsive” website is one that’s made to alter its appearance depending on the device it’s being viewed on. This can improve a person’s experience with a website and help create a positive impression.
A simple website makeover, using responsive technology, can work wonders for your online image. And it doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are thousands of predesigned website templates available, where most of the hard work is already done for you.
4) You Can Now Take The Reins
Gone are the days of relying on qualified (and expensive) internet coders to fix the simplest of typos on your website.
There are now many CMS (content management system) platforms available, like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, enabling non-technicians like you and I, to edit and manage our own websites. If your website isn’t built on one of these, then it’s probably time for a change.
As a leader in your school or organisation, you should be setting the tone of your online communications and keeping it up to date. And the technology is now available for you to do so.
5) New Content = Web Rankings = Enrolments
When it comes to “being seen” on the web, Google rankings are king.
When someone types “Christian school, Sunnyvale”, into their search engine, the schools that rank highly in the list of search results, are those that Google (or Yahoo, or Bing) deems the most relevant. Hundreds of complex factors help to determine this ranking, but one important factor is regular, fresh content.
Is your website still sporting the same old information, pictures and articles that went up four years ago? If so, it’s time for a change.
A Last Word of Advice
The world of the web can be complex and confusing to the unitiated. You need to avoid being sucked in by cheap-and-nasty deals, as well as operators charging over-the-top, unnecessary prices for a website. Talk to an expert, or someone who’s been through the hoops already, and you could save yourself a lot of time and money.
At Endeavour we can help you with timely advice about your online communication.
Call us if you need assistance!