Problem solver and innovator. Ben oversees new website projects and is always looking for new features to improve the Schudio School Website CMS. https://www.schudio.com/ben-bedford/
The end of the school summer term is upon us! It's time for the holidays, and hopefully some rest and relaxation! As part of our summer reading series we're looking back at some of the best ways to maximise school website engagement with your community. Summer is a great time to recap and often a time we use ourselves to review our engagement strategy and we'd suggest you do the same. How will you make more effective use of the tools for school website engagement at your disposal.
In it's most basic form, engagement is answering or responding to a question. Most, if not all engagement follows this question/answer process. If you have a question and want to find out the answer, what's the first step that almost everyone will take?
Go to the website for the answer - or Google for the answer (leading to the website)!
As a result it's no surprise that your school website has the potential to be the most effective engagement tool available. I use the word potential very carefully. Unfortunately it's not a given that your website will be an effective engagement tool. If the website is difficult to use, or doesn't work properly on the device, if information is out of date, or difficult to find visitors are significantly less likely to engage with your website. If they can't easily find the answers they can't engage with you at even a basic level.
Read more about improving your parental engagement through your website.
Your school website is a vital tool. It's accessible to everyone, and provides information without the need to download any additional information. A prospective parent (or student) does not necessarily want to download an app to find information if they aren't even sure they want to go to your school. By focusing on an app strategy you neglect the majority of the outside world. But your engagement strategy doesn't need to have a single focus! You can have both! Read more about your responsive school website vs your school app!
If you're after something more than the free app we also offer a custom app with your school branding. Your own app, with your logo, and your name in the app store.
Once your website has visitors it's important to provide them with a way to engage with you. That engagement can vary, and will depend on the aim of your visitor. One of the most general ways is to provide contact details for further communication. We recommend using a contact form to achieve this. Read more about incoming contact through your school website.
The Schudio CMS for managing your website also includes a specialised form for collecting absence notifications. Of course there are pros and cons to this approach. Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? Read our in depth article to see.
What about engagement on a smaller more specific scale? What about engagement related to specific content or updates? Turning on blog comments allows for this type of engagement, but is this great engagement, or is it a minefield waiting to explode?
There's a huge group of parents and other visitors to your school community who are already engaged with social media. While there are some potential pitfalls surrounding social media, the additional engagement that's possible might encourage you to review your social media efforts.
It's really important to remember to try and forge the bond between social media your school website. A unified online presence with each source backing up the other. Providing multiple ways for engagement with different audiences at different times.
Read more about social media and your school website.
It's all very well saying we want to increase and improve engagement. Of course we do. But, to qualify for an improvement it needs to be measurable. And that's where Google analytics comes in. Analytics provides all sorts of tracking and data about your website and the various pages within. You can use it to review your website performance, and measure the effectiveness of your engagement strategy.
Read more about maximising your school website engagement with analytics.
Hopefully engagement is high on your list of priorities, and you're working with your team at school to deliver useful and relevant content for your audience. But how does that content rank? SEO (which stands for search engine optimisation) is an important part of improving engagement with your website. The better your site performs in search results, the more visitors you will attract to your site. Not black hat SEO, (where you intentionally manipulate the logic of the search engine for a quick win), but long term good SEO practice. Developing your site content in this way will ensure you continue to rank well for search results, even as the search engines change their algorithms and catch out those trying to manipulate them.
Read our school website SEO overview