How to Design an A+ School Website (With Examples)
School used to be all about fresh notebooks, receiving your class schedule in the mail, and bringing home report cards. Nowadays, a school website is just as much a part of the academic experience.
It’s become increasingly popular for schools to create a website of their own, and it’s no surprise why. School websites open doors for effectively sharing and distributing information, while building an online presence and encouraging enrollment.
In this article, we’ll show you what it takes to make a school website with an A+ design, going over the benefits of having one, along with guidelines and examples.
What is a school website
A school website has two essential functions. The first is to act as an online database of information for current students, parents and faculty. The second is to showcase the school at its best and encourage prospective students and parents to enroll.
The best school websites will instill a sense of pride in their community, while communicating a curriculum, list of activities and educational approach to its visitors. Of course, designing a school website requires time and effort - but it’s well worth it.
Benefits of a school website
With more demand for school websites worldwide, one might say that it’s an absolute necessity when crafting a professional academic presence. Before we go over tips on how to design one, let’s touch on some of the benefits of having a school website:
Make a good impression
Many schools are in competition to increase their enrollment, so it’s extremely relevant to use your website to make a strong first impression. This is an opportunity to put your school on the map and prove why it stands out.
A website will be visited by prospective students and parents who want to browse your school’s academic program, extracurricular activities, notable awards and so on. Succeeding to present a positive image of your school’s culture and achievements will help you boost enrollment.
Keep parents and students informed
Important announcements and events are usually included on a school website. It’s a seamless way to keep parents, students and teachers informed, especially when organizing events such as PTA nights or online webinars. Amidst their busy schedules, school members appreciate regular updates, calendars and notifications - all of which are easier to access online.
Make administration easier
With all the incredible web design features available, it's possible to make a school website that acts as a virtual office. Assigning homework, posting grades and even facilitating exams online are all ways in which our administrative world has shifted towards improving convenience for students online.
Speaking of convenience, the ability to add forms and accept payments on your website gives parents the option to enroll, register and pay their child’s tuition online. Avoiding the bombardment of papers, a school website makes these tasks much less demanding and way more efficient.
Encourage community involvement
You can also place video classes, events and discussions directly on your school website. This is extremely helpful when schools are closed, or in cases when a student or parent is unable to attend a school function in person.
Learning how to live stream stream events to your website will increase the participation and frequency of these happenings. Plus, to further harness your community’s involvement, you can create a forum for parents, students and teachers - facilitating an online discussion where they can address school-related topics.
How to design a school website
The goal of school website design is to achieve the right balance of professionalism, functionality and appeal. While reflecting your school’s values and spirit with attractive visual elements, your website should be informative and seamless to navigate. Let’s have a look at some key design elements to keep in mind you create a school website of your own:
Make it effortless and professional
Since the technical proficiency of your audience varies, they will appreciate a user-friendly site that brings them directly to the information they need. Your school website should present a clear map for students and their parents.
Guide visitors through your site by adding a website navigation menu that outlines the sections of your site and what type of information will be found there. This should guide parents of both prospective students and already enrolled students - as well as the students and staff - to find what they’re looking for with ease.
Additional web design tips that will enhance the professional appearance of your school website include: the use of clear language, strong calls to action, and maintaining a visual hierarchy throughout your pages.
Tell your school’s story
Create a compelling About Us page that will relate your school’s story to potential enrollees. An About Us page is where you’ll present your school’s mission, accomplishments and upcoming programs.
Be sure to distinguish your school from other academic institutions. Use strong, professional language and include imagery that gives visitors a taste of the school's unique atmosphere.
Pro tip: Take the lead from commercial brands and strengthen your school's identity by using a color scheme that reflects your school colors and adding a logo or images of your school’s mascot to the website.
Add high quality images and videos
Part of showcasing your school’s accomplishments requires sharing photos and videos of its environment. There are so many great ways to incorporate pictures of students, classrooms and events into your school website design. Try adding a slideshow, incorporating images into your background, or adding a photo gallery.
Keep in mind that whichever way you choose to exhibit your photos and videos, you should make sure to maximize their impact by using only high quality images.
Create a membership area
Gone are the days when dogs ate the homework and parents amassed collections of old report cards. Now, everything can be put online. By creating a membership area that’s password protected, your school’s website can include an interactive space including exclusive information for teachers, registered students and parents.
This convenient and secured spot can be used to upload homework assignments and grades, establish parent-teacher forums, and so much more.
Include a calendar of events
The sheer amount of annual school events can be overwhelming - especially for working parents with tight schedules. Adding an online calendar will ensure that all school members have easy access to the schedule of events for your academic year. Sync it with the users’ Google calendars (or any other online agenda) so that you can send reminders to parents before the event and improve attendance.
Make it mobile friendly
Most people browse the internet these days through smartphones, so it’s important to make sure your school website has a mobile-friendly version. Mobile web design for all types of websites is easier than ever, and can have a positive impact on your website's performance. Not to mention, it will amplify the user experience of your visitors.
5 examples of school websites by Wix users
01. Lightway Academy
Lightway Academy’s website tells a strong visual story. A slideshow of photographs on the homepage showcases Lightway Academy’s campus, classroom setting and athletics - highlighting some of the admirable activity of their program.
The minimalist design of Lightway Academy’s website makes it clean and easy to navigate, leaving room for informative and inspiring text. By adding an effective contact form to the footer of their website, Lightway Academy invites interested students and parents to be in touch and learn more.
02. ELA Academy
Bursting with school spirit, ELA Academy’s website follows the lead of many commercial websites. The site is excellently branded, repeatedly making use of the school’s colors and logo, and using a favicon to seal its professional design.
The use of parallax scrolling - one of the trendiest design features - will give visitors to ELA Academy’s homepage a dynamic experience. Apart from its winning design, this website is highly informative, guiding users to navigate through the school’s mission statement, registration forms and an integrated calendar of events.
Last but not least, ELA Academy further emphasizes its excellence by placing testimonials throughout the page - a powerful way to show support for their school.
One of the best features of this school website is its strong About Us page and a well-structured navigation menu that makes it easy for first time visitors to find the information they need. Reflecting their innovative and organic approach to education, the Heather Field School’s website provides extra information about topics that are important to them, such as healthy eating and therapy.
As far as imagery goes, high-quality photographs used throughout the website exhibit the school’s sense of community, and their custom logo accentuates a holistic approach towards education.
04. STM School
Honing in on their wide achievements, STM School’s website is at the top of its class.
One brilliant aspect of this site is the inclusion of school facts right on the homepage, such as the ratio of students to teachers and the amount of money raised for charity. This demonstrates the high caliber of the school, further inspiring students to enroll in their program,
Adding an online store to their site where students can purchase school merchandise contributes to a sense of school spirit and is a savvy way to increase sales. Finally, adding an Instagram feed to their site proves that the school is active and up-to-date.
Liberty Youth Academy’s school website underscores a strong curriculum and explanation of their academic program. Creating a blog for their school’s site is a great way to add user value, providing further insight into the school’s educational philosophy.
Their uncluttered design includes a minimal amount of imagery, but they’ve strategically chosen a featured image that captures the warm nature of the school. A noteworthy element on this website is Liberty Youth Academy’s website footer design. A footer is generally a great way to provide contact information - but in this case, they’ve used it to add an uplifting quote, further expressing the school’s character.
By Jenna Romano