Built hundreds of website and helped countless schools realise their potential online. Ian should be called upon for straight-talking advice and to make a difference to the way you present your school through every outlet.
It's a fascinating question for us because we meet with so many people who are managing or overseeing the maintenance of their school's website. It's a really important job and many people are struggling with it. So who is the best person to manage your school website?
Day to day your school website is the first port of call to find information about your school for a wide range of audiences including prospective parents & students, current parents & students, staff, governors and of course OFSTED. In any industry, managing a website's content to meet the needs of such a diverse range of end users is a huge task, one that would be most likely handled by a dedicated team.
For most schools, that's simply not possible and so it's really important that you have the right people in place, taking care of the day to day maintenance of your website. That team needs to be backed up by a system that empowers them to get on with the job efficiently and joyfully, not one that is dated, frustrating to use and is decidedly limited in it's functionality.
It is these very reasons that we created the Schudio School Website CMS a few years ago. It is the same reasons that push us to continually develop the system so that it stays way ahead of the curve in terms of functionality and ease of use. It is the same reason that we work hard to keep vital reports such as the most downloaded report Making Your School Website OFSTED Outstanding report bang up to date. (If you haven't got your most up to date copy from Jan 2016 make sure you read this report!)
As we travel around schools and colleges all over the country we spend time with lots of different types of people who are involved in this important day to day work. Whether you're a senior leader or ICT lead, teacher or administrator, apprentice or marketing professional there are some things to bear in mind to do the best job you possibly can, or indeed get the most from your staff.
It's really important to make it possible for whoever is looking after your school website to have the time to do it. This sounds a little bit naff but I've got my Dad's voice ringing in my ears so you'll have to forgive me! Managing your website is like mowing your lawn; your website will look it's best if you keep the content up to date with small, regular efforts to keep things tidy and lovely.
Make sure whoever is looking after your website is given a little bit of time regularly to do exactly this and keep things up to date well. Once you're on top of things, just a little bit of effort makes an enormous difference.
For Schudio clients this is especially easy to do because we transfer all your content before your new website goes live and give it a full and thorough check, ensuring your job comes down to regular lawn maintenance.
Any good Content Management System will be easy to use no matter what device you're using. You shouldn't need any coding or styling skills to create any type of content within your site and make it look good. The Schudio CMS is built from the ground up, in it's entirety so that we can build lovely bits to the system, tailored specifically to your needs and every part is incredibly easy to use.
Have a little look at what you're currently using and ask a few questions of it:
1/ Is the admin area responsive? Can you update it easily on your iPad?
2/ Can you add lots of different types of media in seconds? (video, photo galleries, flip books etc?)
3/ Are new features added regularly to support you effectively?
“[the Schudio CMS is] really straight forward to use. Nice easy system, really impressed with its ease of use.”
Christian Ehlert, System Manager, Birkenhead Park School
Once you've got a handle on using the system then it's important to share the workload. You shouldn't be dependant on just one person to do all the work. The person who is your lead should be more of an overseer than in an exclusive role.
Why? Well it's really important that there is a breadth of content to your site and that's best achieved through a variety of contributors but more than that, it's really important that the responsibility and the control doesn't rest with just one person.
Make sure your system has options to add more users and set up access permissions to different parts of the system, and make sure they're trained up too! It might sound a little daunting but it is possible and with a bit of support you can make huge strides in getting more people involved.
“We are particularly impressed with the content management system that has allowed us to extend the ability to edit the site to a wide range of staff."
Chris Currah, ICT Manager, Norham High School
Engaging your audience effectively is one of the most important parts of the role of looking after your school website. To do this well you need someone who understands that what goes on outside your four walls is just as important as what goes on inside. Somebody who has their finger on the pulse and is great at engaging that wider community will take you up to a level that will keep users coming back to your site time and time again.
Keep abreast of local news and events and if your school naturally gets involved with things that go on in the wider community you have it made. By publishing content such as News and Events that talk about things that go on outside your school you will very naturally reach your audience more deeply. The result of this is that they're much more engaged with what you want to say to them.
Overall, keep up the brilliant, important work that you're doing right now. Make the time to think about what you should be putting on your site and then give yourself a little bit of time regularly to create content that is written with your audience in mind.
Our team are always here to help so whether you're using the Schudio CMS and need some support in a particular area or if you're looking at what might be possible to achieve, get in touch. We'd love to hear from you.
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