Keeping Your Back to School Website Resolutions

Via kaleb@pathfive.ca

With the first day of school fast approaching it’s time to start thinking about dusting off the routine and getting back into the swing of things. 


“Thinking about” being the key words here. It's still summer break, the doing can wait a little longer! 


Back to school can be a lot like New Years. Resolutions are made, goals are set and we prepare for the potential of the year ahead. However, once the initial excitement wears off and we get hit with the daily grind our old habits can often have a tendency to settle back in.


When it comes to updating your websites this back to school season we’d like to share a few pointers to make sure they don’t turn out like that gym pass you signed up for back in February. 



Have a game plan - Our pal Ben Franklin had it right with the line “Fail to plan. Plan to fail.” You might be thinking “well, that’s a little heavy handed!” -- but hear us out. Over the years the number one reason we’ve observed for empty and underutilized websites is a lack of planning. Great design, an easy-to-use CMS and the best intentions can only carry your content so far.


Here are some easy ways to get started: 


  • Schedule some dedicated time each week for news posts and updates. Being intentional about as little as 10 minutes every couple of days can really do a lot!

  • Understand the big picture. Taking a step back and looking at the many goals, initiatives and special programs your team is undertaking can give you a surprising amount of website worthy content. Be sure to record these items and refer to them whenever you need a content boost.

  • Get proactive by keeping and checking a “to post” calendar of important and newsworthy items. Doing this will give you a clear line of sight on what’s coming and help you keep the website in mind between and leading up to events.

    Pro Tip: If you don’t want to start another calendar consider colour coding certain events and dates on your existing calendar with your favourite post inducing hue.

  • Get focussed! Try picking a program, classroom or department to highlight. Running  specials for a few weeks can help you break things down into more manageable and interesting pieces.

  • Make it a team effort - Keeping up with your sites can be a tall order -- especially when doing it alone. Allowing those around you to lend a hand can go a long way.

You might consider delegating posting duty by department or to ask for regular updates on programs and classroom activities from those on the front-lines. No matter how you choose to do this be sure to remember all of the great things your team is doing and how their input could benefit your sites.


Celebrate the small things - A website should help tell your story. It should give visitors an exciting glimpse into life at your district and the daily successes at your schools. Thinking like this can open the door to a surprising amount of content.


Full and successful sites are ones that take time to showcase the little victories, recent achievements and new ideas in every corner of your schools and offices.


Taking time for this sort of content is also great for engaging your audience. Friends and family enjoy seeing what their loved ones are up to. This means they are more likely to visit your sites, share your content via social media and spread the word.


Look to the community - Schools and their surrounding communities go together like maple and bacon. Far too often though we’ve seen this important relationship go unnoticed and under represented. 


Staying connected with the community is a great way to add compelling content to your web sites. Upcoming events at the local rec centre, student volunteers at the food bank, 4H medal winners and host of others are the perfect opportunity for website worthy news, photo albums and featured stories. 

 

Have the right tools for the job - If you’ve ever used a butter knife on pretty well anything but butter you know what we’re talking about.


Without the right software or CMS platform staying on top of your sites can be a frustrating or nearly impossible task. This ultimately leads to you not taking the time to keep things up-to-date and your web presence slowly fades into the lonely realm cold and meaningless obscurity. 


Yeah … it’s pretty bleak. 


To have a fighting chance this year do yourself a favour and get rid of any slow, outdated or generic solutions that are holding you down. Life's too short and your staff, parents and students deserve better!



For more tips, training or to learn how your division team can get connected with the right tools for the job -- be sure to drop us lineIn the meantime, enjoy these next few weeks and have a great first day back!