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The Top Ten Elements Every School's Website Should Have


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@keljar @guidecreative review design and strategy best practices for independent school websites.

Published in: Design
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The Top Ten Elements Every School's Website Should Have

  1. 1. Top Ten Website BestPractices Every School Should Employ Kelley Jarrett, Market Manager – Guide Creative A Blackbaud Production!
  2. 2. Where are you today? A Blackbaud Production!
  3. 3. Ten Best Practices A Blackbaud Production!
  4. 4. Resonate with your Audiences “Your website does not exist as a boutique just to show off information about your organization. Instead, it’s actually a tool to mobilize your audience...” - Raheel Gauba “Design for Good: 4 (More) Nonprofit Design Principles” Netwits Think Tank, 10 A Blackbaud Production!
  5. 5. Resonate with your Audiences Focus on your audience needs •  Who are your audience groups and who is most important? •  What do they care about – need, goals and aspirations? •  How do they interact with you on and off your website? A Blackbaud Production!
  6. 6. Resonate with your Audiences Speak the right language •  Discuss, decide and use your key messages consistently •  Listen for feedback on what’s working and what’s not through social media, blogs and surveys •  Know that writing is an art…AND a science •  Avoid jargon, too little or too much content •  Test! A Blackbaud Production!
  7. 7. Resonate with your AudiencesMeet users where they are •  In less than three years mobile will be the #1 way your audience will access your website … Are you ready? A Blackbaud Production!
  8. 8. Have a Focused Homepage “The Web is a world of first impressions, and quick ones at that. Users form an opinion of a website within the first few seconds of loading it.” - Jason Gross “The Role of Design in The Kingdome of Content, A Blackbaud Production!
  9. 9. Have a Focused HomepagePrioritize Content •  Wireframes are key for visual hierarchy •  Remember YOUR goals •  Remember your AUDIENCE’S goals A Blackbaud Production!
  10. 10. Have a Focused HomepagePass the 3-second test •  Is your homepage scannable, understandable, intuitive in 3 seconds? A Blackbaud Production!
  11. 11. “Design your website around your school’s actions and purpose. Make the mission statement clear as day.” - Blake McCreary “Non-Profit Web Design.” A Blackbaud Production!
  12. 12. Share Your MissionTell your story clearly & succinctly and make it actionable •  Most prospectives check out your website before they engage •  60% of all donors view an organization’s website before donating - tell them why they should give… A Blackbaud Production!
  13. 13. Share Your MissionShow your story … visually •  Infographics, typography, links, video, imagery, photography •  The style should fit your voice and brand •  Prospective families want to be “wowed”! A Blackbaud Production!
  14. 14. Use Compelling Imagery“Regardless of what your content actuallysays, the design around it controls whatthe users see first and how their eyesmove across the sections of the page.” - Jason Gross “The Role of Design in The Kingdome of Content, A Blackbaud Production!
  15. 15. Use Compelling ImageryEngage with eye contact … Make a personal connectionShow real stories of impact to gain credibility A Blackbaud Production!
  16. 16. Use Compelling ImageryMatch Imagery with your brand, mood and voice - Does quality, composition and candor of your imagery jive with your user experience? A Blackbaud Production!
  17. 17. Ensure Ease in Navigation “User-centric design has become a standard approach for successful and web design. After all, if users can’t use a feature, it might as well not exist.” - Vitaly Friedman “10 Principles of Effective Web Design”, A Blackbaud Production!
  18. 18. Ensure Ease in Navigation Navigation Systems should be intuitive and precise • Provide multiple interaction paths • Ensure context for users who come in through search or links • Does it take two-click or less for key tasks? A Blackbaud Production!
  19. 19. Include Clear, Bold Calls-to-Action “Assuming that you’ve written a brilliantly persuasive page, it’s still next to worthless without a strong call to action…” - Brad Shorr “Five Copywriting Errors That Can Ruin a Company’s Website,” A Blackbaud Production!
  20. 20. Include Clear, Bold Calls-to-Action Remove all obstacles to action from anywhere “Apply Now” should take them directly to application. A Blackbaud Production!
  21. 21. Include Clear, Bold Calls-to-Action Calls to action should be clear and compelling Don’t Say: “Click Here” Instead Say: Visit Us Apply Donate Learn More A Blackbaud Production!
  22. 22. Showcase Your Stewardship “Stewardship comes down to being able to show donors how their dollars were used and what impact their contributions had…” - Cynthia Gomez “What Is Stewardship for a Non-Profit?” A Blackbaud Production!
  23. 23. Showcase Your StewardshipMany will visit your websitebefore engaging. •  Show the impact (eg. stats, infographics) •  Be transparent (eg. share your annual report) •  Say “Thank you” A Blackbaud Production!
  24. 24. Showcase Your Stewardship A Blackbaud Production!
  25. 25. Keep Content Fresh“…You need to remember that the Internetis a dynamic place, and make sure yoursite is constantly changing as well.” - Randall Mains “Good Non Profit Website Design Principles #5 of 5,” May 21, 2009 A Blackbaud Production!
  26. 26. Keep Content FreshAlways have something new to offer to your students, parents, alumni - Utilize automatic feeds - Add dates to content posted to the homepage A Blackbaud Production!
  27. 27. Keep Content FreshGather user-generated content A Blackbaud Production!
  28. 28. Be Social “Integrating the social experience into yourorganization’s web site will help promotethe channel, engage supporters, andprovide a constant source of dynamiccontent …” - Melanie Mathos & Chad Norman“101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits: A Field Guide.” John Wiley & Sons, Inc. A Blackbaud Production!
  29. 29. Be SocialSocial media is a valuable tool incontributing to site traffic andbrand exposure - Make it easy to connect, interact and contribute A Blackbaud Production!
  30. 30. Be SocialShowcase all social activities everywhere - Encourage viral sharing - Integrate social activities everywhere A Blackbaud Production!
  31. 31. Provide a Personal TouchThrough Multimedia“Many of today’s most successful websites are interactive, meaning they allow people to participate in the content in some way. - Randall MainsRandall Mains, Strategic Web Communication Principle #4: Interactivity” A Blackbaud Production!
  32. 32. Provide a Personal TouchThrough MultimediaAllow users to consume information in multiple ways - Users want to consume information in various media channels and formats. A Blackbaud Production!
  33. 33. Provide a Personal TouchThrough Multimedia A Blackbaud Production!
  34. 34. Ten Best Practices1.  Resonate with Your Audiences2.  Have a Focused Homepage3.  Share Your Mission4.  Use Compelling Imagery5.  Ensure Ease in Navigation6.  Include Clear, Bold Calls to Action7.  Showcase Your Stewardship8.  Keep Your Content Fresh9.  Be Social10.  Provide a Personal Touch Through Interactive A Blackbaud Production!
  35. 35. Questions? Test Your Own Site! A Blackbaud Production!