What Are You Missing Out On When Your School Website Is Outdated?
We know that having a good school website may not be on the top of your priority list. When leading a school, there is so much that comes first... and it often leaves your school website neglected and outdated. Unfortunately, this can lead to many missed opportunities. As a school, your website is a hugely important tool for marketing, admissions, operations, and much more. So, let's talk about what you are missing out on by having an outdated website and how you can remedy it!
A Good First Impression
As Montessorians, we take care to prepare our environments, have the materials ready for learning, and observe the children in deep concentration while working. It's really something special to see a Montessori classroom in full swing. If only it was the first thing parents saw when looking at your school. While this would be ideal, it is not the case.
Oftentimes, the first impression prospective families have of your school is directly from your school website.
Here's where you could be going wrong with your school website:
- Blurry photos or lack of photos: parents won't be able to see your beautiful classrooms, your facilities, and Montessori in action. They are missing out on the visual journey.
- Difficulty navigating: parents can get frustrated exploring your website if the layout is confusing, not compatible with other devices, or is loading too slowly. This creates a negative user experience and can make your school look less professional.
- No calls to action: parents aren't quite sure where to go to schedule a tour or request more information. This can lead to a lack of engagement and conversions on your website.
- Walls of text: this can be intimidating. Parents are busy and don't want to be overwhelmed with information, it is important to learn how to edit your website content and summarize effectively.
- A lack of updated content: when you don't update your website content regularly, you could be missing out on SEO and parent engagement.
- No social proof: prospective families want to hear success stories. If you don't have testimonials on your website, you are not providing essential social proof to prospective parents.
- No automation: without integrating automation on your website, you rely on doing everything manually. This creates more work, slows things down, and could make your school come across as unprofessional.
So... how can we ensure a great first impression?
- Beautiful high-resolution photos, graphics, and videos on your website: let families see firsthand how wonderful your environments are. Include a high resolution logo so you stay top of mind. Take families on a visual journey of your school from their computer, smartphone, or tablet.
- Make your website user-friendly: when your website design is well thought out and easy to navigate, it transforms the user experience. It should be easy to click through, learn from, and explore. Think about the navigation on different devices such as tablets and smartphones as well.
- Have a clear call to action: on all the school websites we have designed, we always include a main call to action, like a "schedule a tour" button, front and center on the home page and on the navigation bar. This call to action encourages prospective families to take the next step to engage with you about possible enrollment.
- Purposeful content: The content on your website should educate families about Montessori and highlight what sets your school apart. You will be able to fill in the details with conversations later. Break down walls of text with headers, images, and graphics to make your website content more approachable.
- Include testimonials and success stories: Social proof is powerful. Include testimonials throughout your school website to reinforce to prospective families that your Montessori school has helped several families.
- Utilize automated forms: it is important to collect contact information so that you can reach out to families. Include a few automated forms throughout your website so that you can collect email addresses and send email nurtures and follow-ups to families. Forms also provide opportunities for engagement.
When your website is beautiful, easy to use, and has valuable content, it becomes a positive experience for the visitor. This will make a huge difference in your overall marketing strategy.
A great website invites visitors to engage with content and make conversions. As a school, your main goal is most likely to get prospective families to schedule a tour or request more program information. If your website is outdated and lacks forms, buttons, or calls to action... you are missing out on these major engagement opportunities.
The best way to remedy this is to include several clear "call to action" buttons throughout your website, with the most important one on your home page. It is up to you to invite families to take the next step. Include opportunities to engage throughout your school website.
You can check out our sample site for layout inspiration. We like to place the schedule a tour button front and center on the homepage, as well as in the navigation bar so it is always easy to access.
Another fun way to encourage engagement and interaction on your website is to include a pop-up lead generator. A great way to do this is to include a fun quiz on your website. This can help inform parents, allow them to engage in an experience directly on your website, and help them make a difficult decision about their child's education.
Making your website an interactive experience can make a big impact and help to keep you top of mind.
Your Montessori website can work as a great tool for parent education. When you include educational information about Montessori, you:
- Establish yourself as an expert
- Become an authority in the mind of the prospective parent
- Appear more professional
- Provide evidence and proof that Montessori works
- Give families the opportunity to learn and gain new parenting perspectives
An excellent way to do this is to maintain a Montessori blog on your website. This gives current and prospective families a chance to learn more about Montessori directly from you. The key is to update your blog regularly. Find a content schedule that works for you. Providing blogs is also a great tool for retention, as you will be educating current families as well with helpful Montessori and parenting insights on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. If you find the thought of maintaining a school blog overwhelming, Nido Marketing provides Montessori Content services. You'll get a weekly Montessori blog to share on your school website to keep it fresh, and parents can stay informed about the unique benefits of Montessori.
We also provide school leaders with resources to market their schools on our membership site, Montessori Thrive. You can find several tools to kick start your Montessori blog in our resource collection and exchange. Here you'll find parenting videos you can utilize, workshops, blog samples, blog ideas, content organizers, and much more!
By being purposeful with your content, and by growing your school blog, your website can become an even stronger marketing and parent education tool.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an important aspect of marketing schools need to take into consideration when it comes to your website design. If your website is outdated, lacks innovative design, and is not updated regularly, it could be causing your SEO to take a hit. This will impact how families find your school online.
When search engines look at your website more frequently, you have the opportunity to achieve higher rankings based on the content you provide. "Googlebots" take a lot into account, such as the quality of your content and how frequently your website is updated. Every time you make an update to your school website, the search engine takes notice and re-assesses your site's ranking. If you want to increase your website's chances of having a higher ranking (thus getting seen by more prospective families online), then you need to update your website frequently with quality content. This is where understanding key words, providing good images in your blogs and throughout your website, and staying consistent with refreshing your pages is key.
When you publish new content, you present yet more opportunities for your school website to contain more keywords. Keywords are a priority for "Googlebots", meaning that they are essential for search engines to utilze in order to determine search rankings. Frequently added content, such as blog or article postings, allows you to constantly boost your SEO efforts and reach the right prospective families looking for programs in your area.
By leaving your website dormant, you are impacting your SEO efforts and potentially missing out on reaching the right families in your area.
If you want to remedy this, you will need to find ways to build trust with search engines such as Google. Google likes when your website:
- Provides regular content: an updated blog is the best way to do this
- Has relevant images: make sure you have high resolution photos and videos throughout your school website
- Encourages engagement: when visitors click through your website, Google takes note
Inclusion & Accessibility
Did you know it is a legal requirement to make your school websites ADA compliant? If you have an outdated website, you may not have ADA software integrated into your site to make it inclusive. Maintaining an ADA-compliant website can help protect your school against lawsuits and fines in addition to providing needed accommodations for your potential families.
When you don't make your website ADA compliant, you are missing out on families that cannot access your website due to a disability. It's important to make your website a place that celebrates inclusion and allows any family to take part in engaging and connecting with your school. If your website isn't accessible to everyone, you’re effectively shutting out up to 61 million people, or one in four U.S. adults living with a disability. Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses to make “reasonable modifications” to serve individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including the internet.
What are the Benefits of ADA Compliance?
- Reduce your legal risk of an ADA-related lawsuit
- Improve your search optimization
- Improve your overall user experience
- Position your school as one that values inclusivity
- Reach a larger audience
If you are looking to build a new website that includes ADA compliance software, all Nido Marketing websites are built with this option at no added cost. We aim to make the Montessori community more accessible for all families.
In closing... there are many things your school could be missing out on by not having a great website. As digital marketing experts, we believe that your school website is your biggest marketing asset. It should be something you invest in, grow, and perfect, so don't leave it at the bottom of your to-do list!
If you are looking for support in building or refining your school website, we'd love to help you. You can schedule a one-on-one consultation call with a Marketing expert today, no strings attached!