The best school websites manage detailed organization and implementation of many moving parts that are important to your students and parents alike. School websites orchestrate the flow of activities and information including:
- teacher directories
- administrative contact information
- school calendars
- newsletter sign-up
- PTA fundraising initiatives
- school programs and special activities
- social media links and sharing
The integration of these resources is important for high school as well as elementary school websites and will enhance your path to success in terms of communication with your community and parental involvement.
Exactly how important it is to unlock the key to your school calendar cannot be stressed enough. It is the central hub for listing everything of interest and importance to your community. How interesting, appealing and inclusive of your school personality the calendar conveys is vital to its effectiveness.
Each calendar feature we suggest below may be used as an opportunity on your homepage too. Changing a small segment of your homepage will keep parents, donors and students intrigued and draw them to current events. Add hyperlinks to each program and special event you highlight on your school calendar to create connectivity within your website and easy navigation.
- Select a monthly theme as a way to draw more interest to your school fundraising activities; endangered animals, earth day, nutrition, music, math and poetry are a few ideas.
- List special activities and include who to contact to get involved.
- List school fundraising events and key milestones; registration dates, contact info, and info regarding fun parties before and after events.
- Add schedule changes.
- Include goal markers and progress.
- Include testing dates and details.
- Add important dates in history.
- Ask your students, teachers and parents their opinion on what to include.
A school newsletter is equally as important in sharing the heartbeat and personality of your school. It is recommended that you place your school calendar within your newsletter. Illustrate further the unique elements, innovative education and persona of your school with a great newsletter.
- Include a message from the principal or PTO.
- Invite parent involvement.
- Honor student achievements and include photos.
- Recognize volunteers.
- Include writings and art of students.
- Add photos of events and programs.
- Spotlight teachers and students.
- Recognize donors and community partners.
- Add safety tips.
- Include parenting tips.
Call to Action
Schools are always in need of extra funds, and your school website provides the best forum to receive donations. How concise you are in asking for donations truly matters. Create a clear call to action based on your school’s specific needs.
- Donate now Place donate now buttons in places people will easily see and place them in context with the information on your website. Select inviting shapes and colors.
- Click here Find out more about how you can make a difference and click here. Click here to read more about our mission and needs. Click here to donate now.
- Follow these steps People are so much more likely to donate if you lay out easy steps to follow. The best school fundraising websites hold clear instructions, easy navigation and limited questions and time to make a donation.
- Give to the science program Tell them what you need money for to further the science education of the young, eager minds of your students and keep them on the cutting edge of innovation.
- Find out more about our language program Lead donors, parents and community members to find out more about how your school meets the special needs of all students. Create a clear call to action by using action words on your school website.
- Become a PTO member Add 10 reasons why being a PTO member impacts change and how it is rewarding.
- Help us with our library State what you need for your library – new books, computers, audio video equipment.
- Come to our walkathon Get visitors to your school website to click on your walkathon website and get involved as a participant, sponsor or donor.
- Become a PTO member Encourage feedback and question to better know your audience and engage donors and parents. Ask them to comment on your school programs and on how to create one of the best school fundraising websites.
- Learn more Be concise in explaining your school programs and special activities
- Join our mailing list Invite participation on all levels.
- Volunteer with us Clearly state why you need volunteers and expound on the rewards. Tell them specifically who to contact and how to get involved.
- Impact your school List the ways to make a difference.
- Find our events Link all events to your homepage. One of the paths to creating the best school websites is by hyperlinking all pages.
- Meet our teachers Invite your entire community to know your educators and administrators.
- Sign up for our Newsletter Tell them how fantastic your newsletter is and all of the information and key areas it informs parents and donors on. Tell them about its fun elements and how it reflects the personality of your school.
- Show your support by helping our art program today Add a donate now button to each program area. State the urgency for specific program needs on your homepage.
- Partner with our school Invite community members to partner with you as sponsors, donors, volunteers and PTA members.
- Make a difference in the education of our children Get emotional as to how donations can change a whole society through funding education.
Social Media Connections
Parents and students alike use social media every day. Are you making the most of this audience for your school? It’s time to find new ways to highlight your school and create your Social Media strategy. All roads lead back to creating one of the best school websites as you draw traffic through social media platforms.
Creating different social media accounts for all school departments and program areas is an effective strategy; athletics, girl’s/women’s athletics, the creative writing department and more. The administrators of these social media accounts are likely to be more engaged and share stories in celebration of success. Topics are more specific given this format and greater detail and intimacy ensues.
Many of the known strategies and tactics work on Social Media too:
- Use a unique and recognizable photo/school logo on your profile pages
- Write descriptions and stories that are interesting, yet also include keywords
- Link back to your school website whenever possible
- Encourage participation from your leaders – Principal, PTO President, Student Body President, etc.
- Stories and posts from students and teachers are encouraged
- Share between Social Media accounts, if your school is using various accounts
- Share between your school website and Social Media
- Posting less with higher quality will broaden your reach
- Your school is unique – how often you post and what response you receive is a matter of experimentation
In summary, the best school websites reflect the personality of schools, portray a clear call to action and are easy to navigate. Creating a great school calendar and newsletter in unison has the power to reach your audience. Let Social Media do its job of further spreading the word and driving traffic to your website.