How Rally’s Specialized K-12 Platform Improved PLPSD's Websites
Portage la Prairie School Division
Discover how PLPSD improved their websites by switching to Rally!
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"Beginning the search to update our school division website was daunting for someone without graphic design experience. However, Rachel and her team at Rally made it simple. They were friendly, responsive, and knowledgeable about their product and overall web design. The Rally Content Management System is user-friendly, and our design is fresh and eye-catching. I strongly recommend Rally to other school divisions looking to update how they communicate online through their websites."
Portage la Prairie School Division (PLPSD) found that their old websites were not being used by school staff. The Content Management System (CMS) behind the websites wasn’t specialized for K-12. Because the CMS was difficult and frustrating to use, school staff members struggled to update their websites on a regular basis. From empty calendars to bare pages, their websites simply weren’t being updated.
They needed a system that would allow them to share content with ease. PLPSD was looking for a new provider specialized in K-12 websites that would transform their online communications from the inside out. A CMS purpose-built for K-12 would fundamentally shift how their division communicates online.
With Rally, PLPSD chose a CMS that elevates the quality of their websites. By switching to a specialized system, PLPSD made it easier and faster to deliver information to parents online.
Rally’s specialized features for K-12 allow PLPSD to organize content and place important information in front of parents. Their new websites are easy to navigate and have a cohesive design, elevating the look and feel of their division’s sites.
There were some big changes behind the scenes too. At Rally, we know most people updating school websites aren’t web developers. That’s why we built our CMS to be intuitive and easy for non-technical staff to use. These specialized features empower PLPSD to share information with their community faster and more easily than ever before.
Communicating to families is a big priority for PLPSD, but the limited features on their old websites made it difficult. Calendars were hard to read, registration information was difficult to find, and division policies were nearly impossible to search through. The features they did have just weren’t as good as they could be. By choosing websites specialized for K-12, they upgraded their communication capabilities.
PLPSD can now publish documents, notices, calendar events, and news posts to their school websites right from their division website. Parents can subscribe to the calendars so they never miss an event. With Rally’s Maps module, parents and guardians enter a home address and see at a glance which school their children should attend. Policies have been reorganized with the ability to search based on title and description.
By choosing Rally’s specialized features that match their needs, PLPSD makes it easy for parents to find what they are looking for online. PLPSD has shown its community that their websites are reliable sources of information - helping direct parents online instead of to the phone lines!
From a design perspective, their old websites were not effective in putting vital information in front of visitors. Their old sites were cluttered, didn’t scale for mobile or large displays, and were difficult to navigate.
PLPSD's new website is clean and modern. Consistent fonts, colors, and other styles keep the website looking consistent across every page. All Rally websites are responsive, so they look great on a desktop, tablet, or mobile phone. With intuitive navigation and powerful built-in search, it’s easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for. The new homepage features thoughtful design that strengthens PLPSD’s brand and directs users to popular items.
Rally makes it easier for school staff to add and update content, too. Rally is designed with the end user in mind: you don’t have to know any HTML or click through twenty different screens to update your website. With a clear layout, our CMS is simple to navigate. It’s easy to add text, images, videos, documents and more with a few clicks!
Having an easy-to-use CMS was one of the biggest priorities for PLPSD. A system can have great features, but if no one knows how to use them it doesn’t matter. By placing the user at the center, we’ve created a system that empowers everyone to update their websites easily.
We launched the new websites on September 19, 2022. While PLPSD didn’t have any analytics from their old websites (another reason to upgrade!), we can see some great improvements in their first 100 days on Rally. Here’s a snapshot from Google Analytics for their division website:
These stats are pretty consistent with what we see for our other school division clients: a nice increase later in the fall, with a bit of a dip around the holidays and into the new year. As PLPSD didn’t have analytics on their old websites, all visitors have been counted as “new” visitors. But, we can see that just over 25% are already returning to the website. For our purposes, let’s take a closer look at how those new visitors changed in the first 100 days.
When we compare PLPSD’s first fifty days on the Rally system to the next fifty days, a few things really stand out:
The number of users has increased by over 20%! This tells us that PLPSD has done an excellent job showing parents that their websites are trust-worthy sources of information, and more and more people are using the website regularly.
Pageviews, session duration, number of sessions, and the number of sessions per user have all increased, showing that visitors are engaging more on the PLPSD website.
Most importantly, we see that the number of returning visitors has increased to that industry standard of 30%. This growth is incredible, and shows that PLPSD is doing a great job of delivering important information to parents.
Parents are finding information more easily and learning to come back to the websites. They’re able to search and find the content that’s important to them. Beautiful, functional design and specialized features make it easier for both internal staff to use and for parents to find what they are looking for.
When we take a look at the top pages on PLPSD’s site, we can see that the switch to Rally has improved the website experience for staff and job seekers too! While the most-visited pages are their home page and bus status page, their third most visited page is a staff resource page, followed by their career listing page.
It’s now easier for PLPSD staff members to access internal information and coordinate their work. Job seekers can learn about openings at the division more easily. These popular pages show us that a school district website is used by more than just parents, and PLPSD’s community as whole is finding value with Rally.
We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with Portage la Prairie School Division. We couldn’t be more excited to see the analytics keep climbing for their websites.
PLPSD added Rally’s Map Module to their division website after launch. This unique feature allows parents and guardians to type in their postal code and see which schools their child should register for - really valuable when your division covers 1,500 km2.
We also worked with PLPSD to add a new feature to the Rally CMS for all of our partners: the school day calendar on a school website. This feature, developed for PLPSD, shows the daily schedule for each school in the website header, making it easy for parents and students to prepare for the day. It’s especially handy after the holiday break!
We were also very excited to attend PLPSD’s BYTE Conference in 2023! The Build Your Own Teaching Experience annual conference brings together Manitoban K-12 teachers and administrators to learn the latest in technology in education. Rally was thrilled to run two sessions of BYTE by Byte: The Building Blocks of a Great Website, where we shared our expertise on school and classroom websites and how to use them effectively. Thank you to everyone who attended!