How to Get Parents to Use Your School Website

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Do you struggle with getting parents to use your school’s website? Rally websites get thousands of visitors every day. People expect your school to have an online presence, but how do you show parents that your school website is an accurate, trustworthy source of information?

If people have a poor experience on your website or see only outdated content, they’ll get frustrated and see the website as unreliable. This distrust makes it difficult for you to share information online, because people will stop visiting your website. But if your website is easy to use, has relevant content, and is current, you’ll earn their trust. Visitors will have a positive experience and come back to the website, making it easy to share important communications online and keep your community informed. 

At Rally, we provide websites for over 700 schools. During the 2021/2022 school year, those websites had over 7.6 million visitors. People absolutely expect to find your school’s information online, and using your school website is a great way to communicate with thousands of community members.

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Keep Your Website Current

The best way to keep parents coming back to your school website is to use it regularly! If you post content regularly, parents will see that your website is current. By keeping your website up-to-date, you’re showing parents that they can trust the information posted there to be reliable. If the most recent post on your website is from two years ago, visitors will assume that the whole website is out of date. Posting a blog post every 2-3 weeks will do wonders to reassure your community that your website is current while helping to communicate important information.

Don’t forget about your calendar either: parents want to know what’s happening at school. Add in your PD Days, early dismissal days, and any school wide events. Many school websites (including Rally’s) will automatically share your most recent blogs and upcoming calendar events to your homepage. Calendar is the top search term on school websites. Keeping your school calendar and news section current will show parents your website is maintained!

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Be in Season

Beyond updating your blog and calendar, ensure that your website has the seasonal information that parents, families, and students need. Use homepage links, enticers, and seasonal top-level menu pages to point parents to content that’s relevant to them at different times throughout the school year: back to school, parent-teacher conferences, exam schedules, open houses, graduation, and summer break. Your website should let you draft seasonal content so you can easily remove it from the website but keep the content stored in the system so you can quickly update it for the next year.

Learn the Anatomy of a School Website

Be a Launch Pad

Your school uses a lot of other online tools to create a comprehensive learning environment for students. Ensure that links to other online tools are published in a Quick Links section, making it easy for parents and students to access payment software, learning management systems, or apps. By having all these important links in one place, you show parents that you understand their needs and make it easy for them to find resources.

Integrate with Your Social Media

If you create a blog post for your website, share it on your social media! Cross posting content not only saves you time, but it also reaches people on different platforms. Entice your social media followers with a short, snappy post that links to your website where they can find all of the details. By sharing your website blog post to social media, you’re showing your followers on that social platform that your website is a credible source of information.

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It can also help if you have your social media icons on your website. This encourages people to follow on those platforms and helps to show your school culture and spirit!

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Keep Images Fresh

Another way to get parents to trust your school website is to use authentic images from your school. Take a look through your website and remove any old images. We’re amazed at the number of schools who use photography from ten years ago on their websites. Parents love to see their kids online, and it creates a much stronger connection between the visitor and your website if your imagery is current.

Changing important images on your website – such as your banner image on your home page or popular pages – can also help keep your website looking fresh!

Take photos at school events and add photo galleries to your website to showcase your school spirit. Share the latest happenings (and your photo galleries) with a blog post. Share a quick snippet of the blog post on your social media with an eye-catching image to encourage clicks to the website.

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Provide Your School’s Contact Information

Parents want to know how to contact your school! Your contact information should be easy to find. If you don’t share your school’s email online, ensure you have a form on your contact page for parents to fill out. The form submissions should go to an email someone checks regularly. How does your school handle absences? If there’s a form or different phone number for parents to call, ensure they can easily find it on your website.

Don’t forget about your staff directory! Parents need to know how to quickly contact the right person. A staff directory with names, job titles, and contact information (or a form) makes a big difference. Check your district’s policy about publishing email addresses online. Many districts prefer to publish anti-spam contact forms rather than making email addresses public. Ensure your staff directory is current, and if staff members are on leave, set them to draft so they are removed from the site until they return.

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Show Your School Spirit

Your website is one of the biggest ambassadors for your school. It showcases your events, programs, staff, and students. Visitors should be able to click through your website and get a good sense of what your school culture is like. If you’re not sure how to show your school spirit, here are some ideas: 

  • Have student clubs create and maintain a blog on the website where they can share what activities they’re participating in
  • Start an athletics blog to report on game results and build excitement for upcoming games and tournaments 
  • Take pictures at school events (bake sales, sports games, fundraising events, holiday events) and share photo galleries online
  • Write up a blog post detailing what happened at these school events
  • Share upcoming events on your calendar 
  • Celebrate successes with blog posts! From academic achievements, student athletics, or teaching acknowledgements, sharing a win in the school with the whole community generates excitement and showcases excellence on campus
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Celebrate Your Programs

Show off the courses and extracurriculars at your school! These offerings help to make your school unique and may help prospective students and their parents decide to attend your school. More than that, it will create excitement for current students to reach higher grades so they can participate in these activities. Rather just listing your programs and extracurriculars, add descriptions and photos so parents and students can really get a glimpse of what to expect.

With thousands of visits each year, your school website is one of the most important mediums  you can use to engage your community. Your website needs to impress to keep visitors coming back. By ensuring your school website is current and easy to use, you’ll show visitors that your website is a credible source of information they can easily engage with. They’ll keep coming back and checking for new information, making it easier to share information online with your community.