It can be confusing to figure out what you want from your school website’s homepage.
You want it to be useful and informative so that parents don't miss out on anything they need to know, but without being overwhelming and too jam-packed. And of course, you still want it to look nice and inviting.
So, how do you decide between a minimalist, modern looking website and an information packed, text heavy homepage?
We say compromise.
You want your homepage to look amazing and make it clear that you do have the information parents, carers, prospective parents and Ofsted are looking for and that it’s easy to find. You don’t however, necessarily need to give them all the information immediately.
It’s kind of like an interview - if you look smart, but you give away no information in your answers, you probably won’t be getting the job. On the other hand, if you show up in sweatpants and give the interviewer a half hour answer to every question, you probably wouldn’t get the job either. You want to look smart and give targeted, relevant answers. Now imagine that anyone coming to your school website is putting your school through an interview based on your homepage - it should look smart and provide targeted, relevant sections for them to navigate through!
So how can you make sure you achieve this?
You want to have some information on the homepage - this only needs to be things that are immediately relevant. For example - the next couple of events happening in school, or the last two pieces of news you had to share. For other information you think people might need immediate access to, you could consider a Quick Links box so you can easily direct people to things like the Admissions Information without having to clutter up the homepage.
To give a general idea, we advise having the following items on a homepage:
- A menu to the other pages
- Latest News
- Upcoming Events
- Somewhere to give immediate information eg. School closures
- A welcome paragraph
- Contact details
- Quick Links to information you think people will be looking for
An example of this done great, is the Knowleswood Primary School website.
As soon as you land on their school website and without having to scroll, you can see who they are, how to contact them, navigate around the website and view their nice big image slider that highlights the greatest parts of their school.
The next section of the homepage gives a great overview of all the recent and soon to happen events happening in the school - this is done through the use of their Twitter feed and displaying a small amount of upcoming events. This is a great way to make sure people are kept up to date, informed and have the option to read more information if they wish.
If you go a little lower, they have three quick link tabs to pages they feel are the most relevant and most likely to be interesting to their target audience. This is great - it advertises that the information is there should someone wish to read it, shows it off as a highlight, but it doesn’t bombard with information.
At the bottom, they have the full contact details for the school and various members of staff that people might need to contact - super handy!
The website is really easy to navigate and provides just the right amount of information whilst still looking lovely. To go back to my interview metaphor - this website would get the job!
So, take a look at your school website’s homepage. Are you overwhelming visitors with too much information? Are you expecting them to go digging to find out literally anything about your school? Or have you achieved perfection and are now smugly patting yourself on the back?
If you think you could be doing a better job of advertising your school through your website - give us a call on 01274 649731 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be more than happy to help you come up with a design that highlights the things you feel are important to your school in a way that still looks stunning.