Seven reasons parents may be avoiding your school website

Friday, 30 November 2018 | Written by Jonathan Wallis-Leggett; Digital Marketing Manager at PrimarySite

As the internet becomes a bigger part of our everyday lives, it has never been more important for a school to have a website that parents can use to find the answers to questions they may ask.

With the touch of a button, parents can find information on upcoming events, after-school activities, the week's lunch menu, policies and procedures and much more.

Many parents still avoid visiting school websites though and go elsewhere to get answers or stop seeking those answers altogether. If you have ever wondered how you can get parents to be more engaged in your school website, here are seven reasons to consider as to why parents may be avoiding your website.

1. The information they are looking for is not there

Sometimes the information parents are looking for is simply not on a website, to avoid this consider the most common questions parents ask and ensure this information is available online. In addition to this consider reaching out to parents and asking them what kind of information they would find useful if published on the school’s website.

2. The information they want is too hard to find

It may be the case that certain information is already on your website, but parents still can’t find it. When thinking about the layout of your website ensure that important information pages are under easy to understand and obvious headings. For example, your latest news and your events calendar listed under a ‘news and events’ section and policy documentation found under a ‘key information’ section.

3. The website is hard to use on mobile devices

The number of different devices that are used to browse the web is ever increasing, with a huge range of phones, tablets, laptops and desktop PC’s all featuring different screen sizes. Your website needs to look good and be easy to use no matter what kind of device is accessing it. If a parent largely uses their mobile device or tablet and your website is not designed with this in mind, they are unlikely to have a positive experience using your site and are more likely to switch off.

4. The website looks too outdated

Digital technology advances at a fast pace and what looked modern and fresh years ago can easily look outdated today. If your website hasn’t been subject to a redesign recently, it might be visually unappealing or lack the modern functionality that parents are familiar with using on other websites.

5. The website takes too long to load

It may seem silly that someone accessing a website would get impatient at having to wait a few extra seconds, but this is often the case. With the wealth of information available at our fingertips people expect to find answers fast, if they come across a website that takes an unnaturally long time to load, they may decide it is not worth the wait.

6. The website is not updated often enough

If you want parents to stay engaged with your school website, it’s important to give them a reason to come back by posting up to date content. Updating your website can understandably be tough to manage in today's environment where time is constantly under pressure, but it is worth it. You don’t need to go overboard, but if parents know that any important news will quickly be available online, they will likely come back to find out more.

7. They don't know it is there

This final point may be another silly one to suggest, but it is easy to overlook. If you have a great website which contains everything a parent would want to find out about your school, make sure they know it’s there. If people tend to phone reception or wait to receive letters to find out what they need to know, make sure they know the information can be found on the website whenever they want.

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