Five Attributes of Attractive, User-Friendly School Websites
Educational institutions need websites that are secure, flexible, robust, and attractive to users. Best-in-class sites are no longer a luxury; they’re a necessity. While not an exhaustive list, we’ve compiled five essential features of modern school websites. See how your school’s site compares to industry best practices.
Reliable, Up-to-Date Security Measures
Unfortunately, schools have become a major target of cybercrime, including data breaches, online meeting invasions, ransomware, and other types of cyberattacks. In addition to maintaining security in online classrooms, schools are responsible for managing vast amounts of personal identifiable information (PII). Colleges and universities must also safeguard the intellectual property of their researchers.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined in 2022 that cyberattacks had affected two million K–12 students, often resulting in weeks of lost learning as well as significant financial losses for the educational institutions. Additionally, the FBI has warned colleges and universities that users’ login credentials are appearing for sale on the dark web. As cybercrime against educational institutions rises, schools must become more vigilant. To protect themselves and the communities they serve, the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) advises schools to prioritize the following steps:
- Implementing a cybersecurity training program to educate staff and students about best practices
- Develop and regularly practice an incident response plan to cyberattacks
- Mitigate known vulnerabilities
- Enable multi-factor authentication for internal systems
- Implement and regularly test data backup
Easy-to-Use, Multi-Tenant Options
As students access more communications, resources, and learning materials online, multi-tenant systems have become critical. School websites should allow teachers, departments, and other groups to easily manage their own sites to serve their specific audiences. Staff should be able to easily upload new content, update information, and receive assistance with technical issues. Making effective use of multi-tenant architecture creates a streamlined, cost-effective online environment that’s capable of delivering personalized user experiences.
Fully Tested Plugins
Plugins add flexibility and functionality to websites, but they also introduce dangers. Plugins can create vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit, and some even contain malware. To protect site security and avoid unnecessary maintenance issues, only download plugins from trusted sources and update them regularly. Institutions running WordPress sites should ensure all plugins are fully tested, vetted, and approved by WordPress. This step will help ensure all plugins are as safe and reliable as possible.
Able to Handle Your Biggest Traffic Spikes
Events like the beginning of a term or admissions season can bring floods of new users to your school’s site. Slow site speed and frequent crashes can result in downtime for staff, make a negative impression on potential students, and frustrate users across the board. Scalable, cloud-based platforms provide a cost effective and effective solution for seasonal or occasional increased traffic.
Attractive, User-Friendly Design
Your website is the first place prospective students and their families are likely to look when they begin researching your school. To attract and engage their attention, you need a site that’s easy to use and highlights your school’s most compelling features. A well designed website has intuitive navigation that creates clear paths to the information your diverse users seek and encourages them to connect with your school. With carefully chosen graphics, a fully-featured CMS, and well researched search engine optimization, your website can attract students, engage their interest, create community, and build lasting relationships.
An official WordPress VIP partner, we can help your school leverage the power of this enterprise-grade, cloud-based version of the world’s most trusted content management system. Get proactive with your site, reach out today.