What are parents searching for on school websites?

Parents make up a large portion of the visitors to your school website. But what are they looking for? And how can you ensure they find it easily? 

There are hundreds of school websites on the Rally system, and we took a look at the top searches across all of our school sites for the past year. Use this list to ensure your school website has what parents are looking for!

Top Searches on School Websites

As the most popular search terms on school websites, each of these items should have its own page in your website menu and be easy for visitors to find:

1. Calendar

By far the number one search item, make sure to keep your online school calendar up-to-date! Your website should let you add dates to a responsive online calendar that looks great on mobile devices. Embedding a Google Calendar might be convenient, but it isn’t fun for a parent to browse through on a phone.

If you have a busy sports program at the school, add a second calendar for your Athletics schedule!

2. Bell Schedules

Make this always-popular search item easily available in a simple website article or table in your school website’s About section.

3. Staff Directory 

Your Rally website comes with a beautiful staff directory where you can showcase your wonderful staff! Create categories (such as administration, teachers, support staff) and include job titles, teacher websites, contact information so parents can quickly find what they’re looking for. 

Consider using an anti-spam email form that will help cut down on spam emails while still allowing parents to contact staff easily. 

4. Student Information System 

Parents need to access your school’s Student Information System throughout the year to view student grades, update their information, or register for next year’s classes. Include a link in your website’s Quick Links section so it’s easy for parents and students to log on.

5. School Supplies & Textbooks

Visitors frequently look up information about school supplies and textbook rental and fees, especially early in the school year. 

What are parents and guardians searching for on school websites?

6. Sports Teams and Athletics

Encourage each team to list games, practices, tryouts on a team calendar and maintain a blog to share team news. Include information about any fees or forms.

7. Bussing

How do parents register their child for bussing to school? 

Learn about Rally's Bus Status App.

8. Hot Lunch 

Does your school offer hot lunch? What’s on the menu? How do parents order and pay? Ensure it’s easy for parents to find all this information in one place.

 

9. Covid-19 Information

We’re adjusting to living with Covid-19, but parents still want to know about your school’s policies. Is there a daily screening test they have to complete? What should they do if their child is sick? Ensure you have some information about health and safety on your website.

10. Graduation

Whether your students are graduating to a new school or completing their diploma, parents want to know all the details! Creating a page where parents can find information about graduation requirements and ceremony information makes it easy to keep informed as plans are finalized. 

 

Honourable Mentions

While the top ten search items paint a great picture of what parents are searching for, parents are looking for much more. As you can see in the chart above, of the 100 search terms we looked for across Rally websites, 16% didn’t fall into the top 10. So what else are parents looking for?

Fees

Keep a detailed explanation of school fees on your website. If you use an online payment system, include a link in your site’s Quick Links. 

Newsletters

We prefer news blogs to old-fashioned newsletters, because they’re more timely and keep people coming back to your site for the latest. However, if you still publish PDF newsletters on your site, we’ve found this to be a very popular search term.

Rally includes unlimited microsites for teachers!

Teacher Pages

From class calendars and blogs to downloadable assignments, parents and students expect to find classroom information online. If each teacher has a section of your school website all their own, parents have a one-stop destination to stay informed about their children’s classes.

Rally includes unlimited microsites for teachers! You can even link to teacher sites in your staff directory, making it easy to find.

Scholarships

It isn’t too early in the year to start thinking about scholarships and bursaries. This is always a popular search term for parents of high school students.

Registration 

How do parents register their child for your school? What are the deadlines? Sneaking in at number nine of our top ten, registration information is top-of-mind for parents. 

Allergies

Whether a child suffers from food allergies or not, a lot of visitors want to find the policy around bringing peanuts and other common food allergens to school. How can parents report an allergy to the school? Where can they find your school’s policy about allergens? We recommend allergy reporting information to be included in your student registration information. List any restricted foods or other allergens in your About section.

Absences

How should a parent notify the school when a child is absent? Is there an online form, or do they need to call the school attendance line? A parent might not have your school absence policy memorized, so make sure they can find it easily the morning their child stays home sick.

No More Hide & Seek

Graphic of a webpage with content.
Use your website's design to highlight content.

It’s a good idea to create a dedicated page for each of the most searched-for items. Page titles should clearly reflect the content on the page so parents can find it at a glance in your menu. If you’re uploading documents (like a school supplies list), make sure the file name reflects the content. 

Your Student Information System, and any other popular external links, should be included in your website’s Quick Links so it’s easy for parents to find. Creating categories (parents, staff, students)  for your Quick Links makes it even easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for.

Do you have content that is very important at certain times of the year? To help drive traffic to those pages, promote them on your school news blog and feature them on your website enticers (those large links or buttons, often found on your homepage). Your school news posts should appear on your website's homepage, giving them great visibility. Pin important seasonal news posts to keep them on the homepage, so it has even more emphasis and stays top-of-mind while you continue to update your news. Adding new, seasonal links to your website will not only help parents find those pages faster, but also keep your website fresh and help keep visitors engaged.

Matching your audience’s needs to your website content is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your school website. By having these popular search items easily accessible, parents will come to trust your website as a source of information - meaning they won’t be calling your office every time they have a question!

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