5 Summer Website Wins
Whether your summer plans include the beach, the cabin, or a staycation, don’t forget to carve out some time to enhance your website. This is an ideal time to review and refresh your content, ensure your website is accessible, showcase testimonials or reviews, tidy up old information, and perform a thorough website audit. By focusing on these key areas, you can improve your website’s effectiveness and achieve your online goals.
Make a review of your website part of your back-to-school PR checklist with these five website wins.
Win #1: Review and update your content
The information on your website is essential for drawing in new families and keeping current families informed, but it’s easy to become outdated or irrelevant over time. How much COVID information is still on your website that is no longer relevant or may confuse families?
Start with taking a closer look at your analytics. What are the most frequently visited pages? Are there any gaps in content that could be filled with new information? For example, does COVID information now belong with general health services information instead of on a dedicated page?
Check your search logs. What is being searched for most often? Should it be easier to find in your navigation? Look at all the information that often gets buried in newsletters. Is important cyclical content also on the school website? Be sure that dated content (e.g. past years homecoming, testing dates, prom, and graduation) are expired or deleted from your site.
After identifying areas that need to be updated, set aside time to rewrite or refresh content. There are probably stats that need to be updated. Swap out photos of students who graduated or moved from elementary to middle school. As you’re rewriting and refreshing content, aim to write content that meets the readability score of your audience. Easy-to-read and skim content is best for busy families scanning for important information and is easily translated for your communities who speak languages other than English.
Not only will up-to-date information engage your visitors, but it will also help with search engine optimization (SEO). Google and other search engines prefer sites with fresh and relevant content, ranking them higher in search results.
Win #2: Improve your website’s accessibility
Ensuring your website is inclusive for all users creates a more welcoming online experience. Follow best practices for accessibility to benefit users with and without disabilities and improve the overall user experience.
Start by adding alternative text (alt tags) to images. Providing a text description of the image, which can be read by screen readers, allows users to understand the content of the image and how it relates to the rest of the content on the page.
Graphics created with Canva can be visually appealing, but can also create accessibility concerns. To ensure accessibility, it’s crucial to include appropriate alternative text for users who rely on screen readers. Balancing graphics with other types of visuals can help create a more engaging experience for all.
Replace “click here” and “read more” with more descriptive link text. Using text that accurately describes the link’s content helps users with disabilities navigate your site.
Do you have videos on your website? Make sure they’re captioned. Services such as rev.com are popular captioning and transcription services that can help make video content more accessible to all users. It also benefits users who may be watching videos in a noisy environment or with the audio turned off. Adding translated subtitles also makes your content accessible to communities that speak languages other than English.
While PDFs may seem like a convenient way to present information on the website, they can create a poor user experience. They’re not mobile-friendly, they’re rarely ADA-compliant, and they can be difficult to navigate. By removing PDFs and presenting the information in pages, you can improve page load times and make your content accessible to all.
Win #3: Add testimonials or reviews
Showcase the quality of your schools for prospective families, and build trust with current families by adding testimonials to your website. With more and more school choices available to families, positive reviews can be an inflection point for those in the middle of making a decision.
Start with reaching out to current families and asking them to leave a review on a form or your social media channels. When others see positive experiences with your school, it can be the tipping point that pushes them to choose your school.
Make sure to display these reviews prominently on your website. Consider the district and school home pages or a dedicated testimonials page. By doing so, you demonstrate to prospective families that your school is a trusted and respected institution dedicated to providing an exceptional education to all its students.
Win #4: Archive old stories and information
Don’t let outdated content clutter your site! Take the time to review and archive old content, making your website fresh, relevant, and easy to navigate.
Old news stories make it difficult for users to find the most recent or relevant content. Old and outdated content can also negatively affect your SEO ranking. Search engines may view your website as less relevant than others with more up-to-date content.
Archiving old content, such as old COVID information or back-to-school information from the past school year, allows you to focus on creating new high-quality content to improve the overall user experience.
Win #5: Conduct a website audit
Depending on where you are in the lifecycle of your website, you may be nearing the end of its life or just embarking on some new add-ons. How do you know? Perform an audit. While you may discover that you’re looking to completely overhaul your website in the not-so-distant future (plan 12 months out), summer is a great time to review your website design and layout, check for broken links, test your website’s functionality, and optimize for SEO.
Keep in mind that many of your parents/caregivers are millennials, and even small changes can have a significant impact. And you don’t need a big budget to make small changes that will have a big impact.
- Is your website still as visually appealing as when you first launched?
- Are fonts and colors consistent throughout the site?
- Do you have a schedule for changing home page images?
- Are you featuring photos of students enjoying school?
- Is your careers landing page up-to-date?
- Is your website content written in a conversational tone?
Check for Broken Links
Broken links can frustrate users and negatively impact your search engine rankings; this includes internal and external links and email addresses. Tools such as SiteImprove or Monsido can help improve the user experience. Though your staff directory may be automated by your student information system (SIS), any one-off instances of email addresses can easily be overlooked. And when you have a leadership change (superintendent, principal, or other administrators) have you searched the site to remove former employees’ names?
Review any forms on your website to make sure they’re up-to-date. Maybe it’s as simple as updating the past school year’s volunteer sign-up form with the new school year. If any health services have this year’s date on them, consider making them generic so they can be used year after year, or, better yet, explore making them fillable online using a HIPAA-compliant tool such as Jotform.
Enhance Your SEO
Ensure your website is optimized for SEO using relevant keywords, meta tags, and meta descriptions. At a minimum, make sure the top 25 visited pages have a carefully crafted meta description on the backend. You’ll also want to make sure your website is loading quickly using a tool such as Google PageSpeed. Slow page loads can deter users from visiting your site and negatively affect your SEO ranking.
As part of your audit, remember to review your website analytics. These insights can provide valuable information about how your visitors interact with your site, from which pages are most popular, to which pages go unused. Analytics are vital to making data-driven decisions to improve the user experience. If you aren’t sure how to read them, feel free to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with us. We’d be happy to share our insights.
Need some help strategizing on how best to tackle these tasks? Give us a call and we’d be happy to meet over coffee or Zoom to discuss how we can help take your website to the next level for the upcoming school year and beyond.
Published on: April 11, 2023