Stale school district website experience? Take these 5 steps to spruce things up

Blog_Posts

District websites are one of the major tools we use to share information with community members, and yet sometimes do not get the amount of attention or love they deserve — easily becoming outdated or outright neglected. The answer to your website problem may not be redesigning the whole thing, but rather making smaller, calculated changes to enhance the website for both your stakeholders and your website managers. 

Here are five simple ways that you can make a positive impact on your district website:

1. Clear and concise navigation

Is your website user-friendly and easy to navigate? It is imperative that your users are easily able to find what they are looking for when they land on your site. Put yourselves in the shoes of your parents, students, staff, potential families and potential employees as you reexamine the navigation of your page, ensuring that the high level info they are seeking is clearly labeled and easy to find.

2. Compelling photography and visuals

A picture is worth a thousand words, and that is certainly true when it comes to your district page. Pay specific attention to the photo choices for your home page, including strong visuals of students and teachers in a classroom or extracurricular environment. This is not only an opportunity to highlight some of your district’s special characteristics, but also serves as the anchor of your homepage look and feel in the main photo gallery.

3. Up-to date and timely content

Ensuring that the content on your website is timely and updated is essential. Not only does it reflect poorly on your district to have last school year’s information and dates, it can also be a red flag for a parent or potential family to not easily find the information they are seeking. Make sure you have systems in place to ensure your website reflects the current school year and semester, paying particular attention to times of high website traffic, such as the beginning and end of the school year.

4. Strong branding

The homepage of your website is a great place to brag about your district and immediately let your user know who you are. Utilize the homepage gallery to include marketing language, such as core values or your district’s mission, leaving no doubt about the vision and purpose of your school district. 

5. Minimize “clicks” for your user

When a visitor to your site is searching for a specific piece of information, the last thing they want to do is have to click around a dozen times to get to the page they are looking for. Consider a bit of reorganization of your navigation and page layout to make it simpler and quicker for your users. Oftentimes, creating a hub or landing page targeting a certain group of users (parents, staff, students, etc.) gives you the opportunity to include a large number of options at one glance, easily minimizing their clicks.

Whether you’re up for a refresh or a full redesign, our team at CESO Communications can partner with you to make district website shine! It’s easy to connect with our team — email at communications@theceso.com or use this form to let us know you’re interested in a conversation.

After working in a suburban North Texas school district for six years, Hayley Morrison joined the CESO team as a Communications Strategist in October 2021. Hayley loves problem solving and using creative solutions to help tell a district’s story, especially through photography and website design.