Structuring your school’s website content might not seem as important as a slick contemporary design or incorporating the latest functionality, but in reality nailing your sitemap is crucial. If you are planning to update your website or review the content on your current site, a large proportion of your time should be spent on looking at the overall site information architecture.
Structuring the content on your homepage will partly depend on the design and what ‘real estate’ is available, but there are definitely a few must haves you should aim to include:
- A prominent logo and a headline communicating a key message or unique descriptor.
- A sub-headline with a brief introduction of what your school stands for and provides to students.
- A prominent call- to-action – what it is you want a website visitor to do next. This could be to register for a school tour or download a prospectus.
- A supporting image or video – website homepages need to be eye catching and feature a prominent, relevant and emotive image or short video. Avoid generic stock images or poor quality photos.
- An overview – this is where you can provide an introduction detailing the unique benefits of an education that your school provides to students.
- Testimonials – including social proof from current or past parents praising your school and detailing how concerns or problems were overcome can be powerful.
- News – a key feature of a homepage should be the latest news articles from the school. This might include blog articles, media releases, good news stories or case studies.
Menu navigation and site structure
At the top of all websites should be a navigation structure that provides a clear path for visitors to venture into your site and find the information they are looking for. Key considerations when looking at your website’s information architecture include:
- Keep it simple – where possible a website should have a limited number of top line navigation items and these should be titled in a way that makes it obvious as to where to find content and what pages would sit underneath them. Aim for five top line menu items.
- Cull unnecessary or duplicate pages and spend time working out how pages can be grouped together or even merged. Duplicate pages will impact your SEO as Google won’t know which page to point to when someone is browsing for that particular content. Consequently, your page will appear further down the search results.
- Think about your audience – when setting out an easy-to-use menu structure keep in mind your primary audience and what information they will be looking for. Will content be targeted at prospective parents / or existing parents?
- Limit your drop down menu (and website, where possible) to only one level of sub-pages.
Every individual page should be examined to ensure it achieves the following:
- One purpose – each page should have one focus, one topic and be targeting a specific target audience.
- Keep it short – aim for a maximum of 500 words per page and content should be broken down using sub-headings, dot points, images or infographics.
- SEO audit – make sure every page on your website has the following optimised for SEO: URL, page title, page/meta description, image file names that include a keyword, alt descriptions on images, and one target keyword per page.
- Has a call to action – every page of your website provides an opportunity for a conversion, so where possible include a call-to-action to encourage engagement with a prospective parent.
Following these strategies when reviewing the structure of your school’s website and its content will assist in simplifying your site and optimising it for your ideal prospective parent.
To learn more about how to structure your school's website and the top website mistakes Australian schools are making, download our free ebook.
This blog was written by Maclain Bruce
As a Senior Account Manager, Maclain works with a number of key imageseven clients to deliver marketing and communications insights and solutions. When he is not busy with this, Maclain enjoys playing, watching or talking about basketball (or any sport really!).