Tuesday, January 26, 2016

LUTHERAN SCHOOLS: Websites and First Impressions

These days, when people start checking schools out the first place they visit is your website. When I was teaching at a Lutheran school the first thing I noticed was that it was obvious their website wasn't a priority. Pages were incomplete, information that people look for wasn't easy to find or was out of date, and while there was lots of stuff on it, there were too many words. I volunteered to take it over and tweaked it a bit and soon people who visited were making positive comments about the website.

As I have said MANY times before, we are in a place in our country where Lutheran schools need to be out there promoting their strengths. It's important to make your website a priority, keep it simple, and well organized. Here are a few tips.

  • Make sure your header/tag line tells the visitor what/who you are as a school. 
  • Have a useful homepage. People don't want to scroll around and search through a lot of words to find what they want. 
  • All your information does NOT need to be on the home page. Bullet points, NOT paragraphs. Nobody has time to search through a bunch of paragraphs for the main point. 
  • Make sure your information is well organized so people don't have to search through tabs wondering where the information they're looking for is found. QUICK LINKS, my friends, quick links. 
  • Have a PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS or NEW STUDENTS tab/page that has all the info and links to the forms necessary to make sign up easy. 
  • Photos are good. They make the site feel warm, but too many photos are not so good. Put them in a slideshow.
  • Have a CURRICULUM page that shows what you teach and highlights how your school is different from the local public schools.
  • If your school has a great choir or band, put a video of them singing/playing on the site.
  • If you're going to have teacher websites, make sure they're kept up to date.
  • Have an up-to-date calendar that's easy to update. Make sure all forms are downloadable.
  • Don't forget a donation page.
  • Visit your website as if you are a perspective parent. Ask what you would want to know if you were looking for a school for your child and check the links.

To get you started, here are some top reasons a child should attend a Lutheran school.
  1. Christ-centered education and environment.
  2. Committed and qualified teachers.
  3. Strong curriculum with proven results.
  4. Small class sizes.
  5. Diverse population.
  6. All season sports.
  7. Strong,but loving discipline.
  8. Before and after school program.
  9. Active parent, teacher, and friends association (PT&FA).
  10. Supportive association church(es).
  11. Strong family values and environment
Parents who aren't Lutheran don't choose schools because they're Lutheran. Many don't choose them because they are Christian. They choose them because they're good schools. They know their children will get an excellent education and will be safe and nurtured. What a mission!! 

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