Read These Two White Papers Before You Redesign Your Website

A website redesign is a daunting project. Not only are you about to spend a considerable amount of time and treasure on a multi-month project, but you also have tons of questions about look and feel, layout, navigation and content. Perhaps you aren't ready to redesign but you feel like you should refresh your site content. Where do you begin?

I've recently come across two remarkably useful resources that help schools navigate these very questions. Below you'll find a few key takeaways along with links to download the complete white papers.

Private School Digital Insight: Enhancing Web Navigation And the Rise of Responsive Design is the snappy title of Whipplehill / Blackbaud's latest effort that surveyed 2925 private school websites. This gem is a must-read if you are considering a redesign. Although some of the data is fairly non-surprising there are several key items every school should pay attention to including:

  • 96% of sites surveyed have a homepage link called 'login'
  • 77% have a news feed on the homepage
  • Only 22% are currently responsive
  • Only 60% have a call to action on the home page
  • The top three most popular navigation items are admission, academics, and athletics

I particularly appreciated that the white paper was neutral in tone and leaves schools the freedom to follow the trends or buck them as they each see fit. Download the full report here.

The Ride to Independent Schools: 2300 Families Tell Us About Their Journey was produced by SSATB. This document is focused on the overall admission process but does contain good information for a website redesign. Some of my favorite information was the section on what families want to see more of. Parents report they want to see more information about:

  • Academic programs
  • Current teachers
  • School life
  • Current parents
  • Current students

In particular parents asked for more emails about school activities and more videos about school life. Also check out the section in the report about speaking to moms about boarding school. Download the full report over here.

Redesigning your website is tricky but we think these resources can help. What do you think? Did you check out these downloads? What information are you still looking for? Let us know in the comments!