Ten Tough Questions to Ask When Choosing Your School District Web Provider

Choosing a website provider for your school district is a big decision. Your websites are the most important digital communication tool your school district will ever have, and choosing the right platform will empower your district to communicate effectively with parents, students, staff, job seekers, and other community partners. Here are some great questions to ask website providers to see if they are a good fit for your school district.


1. Do you work with other School Districts?

Specialization matters. Your school district has unique needs compared to other organizations and educational institutions. Choosing a website provider who works with other school districts and has a platform built for those needs will save you and your staff a lot of headaches down the road. Consider not only what functionality and features you want out of your websites (you can view Rally’s features here), but also how those features will improve communications and save your district time.

If a website provider doesn’t have experience with school districts, they might not have the features and expertise your district needs. Oftentimes, a generic platform uses open source code, which requires plug-ins and add-ons to create the functionality required by school districts. While it’s possible to achieve the same level of functionality on an open source platform, they need a lot more maintenance. Open source plug-ins are notorious for breaking as browsers and technology change. If you don’t have a technical staff member who can manage the code, you’ll be relying on your provider for timely support and to fix your website for you. 

Will they understand the various audiences for your school and division websites? As a specialized website provider, Rally brings over 15 years of experience with K-12 websites. We know what parents, students, and job seekers are looking for. We know how they interact with a website. And we have analytics from over 600 schools to prove it. A provider outside of the K-12 space won’t understand the needs of your school district. They won’t be able to design a website that makes it easier to communicate with those specialized audiences as easily and as effectively as a specialized provider.

Ask the web provider for references or reach out to other districts using their platform (you can usually find the website provider in a website’s footer). Just as you would check references for an employee you’re hiring, do the same for your website provider! They should be more than happy to put you in touch with one or two of their current clients. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask what their experience has been like. If a website provider doesn’t have experience with school districts, they might not have the features and expertise your district needs. 

A specialized website provider who works exclusively in the K-12 space will bring a wealth of expertise. They’ll have reliable features for school districts that will make it easier to communicate with your target audience online. Checking a website provider’s references or reaching out to a current client is a great way to learn more about the quality of their websites and customer service.