Top 5 apps for managing your school website

Ian Richardson

Ian is Product Director at Schudio who specialise in developing unified online technology to help schools and colleges communicate and engage their community effectively, and who are currently working with over 200 schools in the UK. He spends a lot of time working with school leaders to establish products and strategy which dramatically improve the way schools communicate with the outside world.

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Schools are all under a significant obligation to provide certain information on their school websites these days. This is a bit of a problem for lots of schools in itself. The reality is that schools have to compete more and more on every level and having a website that is fresh, modern and regularly updated is key to your success.

Here are some of our most favourite online apps to use to manage your website. There are lots and lots more but these are really great, and (mostly) free.

Google Analytics

I know I’ve banged on about this before but, if you want to get an idea of whether your website is hitting the mark and not turning away users in droves then GA is the way to go. It is from Google, so it’s good. Very good. It is free which makes it better, and while it is huge it is also incredibly easy to use which makes it marvellous.

You can quickly see how people find your site, what pages they look at when they are there, how many visitors you have and lots, lots more. You can even see real-time activity so that you can pass the hours following people around your site. Not that any of us would want to stalk like that. Ahem.

Pixlr

Pixlr is also pretty cool. There are lots of image editor options around, but Pixlr gives you quite a bit of flexibility while still being reasonably easy to use.

With Pixlr Express you can upload school photos and create beautifully styled banners to bring your content to life. Text and buttons be can quickly added, and staff can download images to use online or offline. Pixlr Express calls itself “A fun and powerful photo editor for making quick fixes or adding your personal style.” Can’t argue with that, really.

Want to go a bit deeper? “Our most robust browser photo editor, for all your editing needs,” Pixlr Editor gives you a wide array of powerful features that is similar to using products like Adobe Fireworks or Photoshop. Not as good but it’s online and it’s free and that makes it very cool indeed.

YouTube for Schools

Gone are the days when schools have NO CHANCE of un-blocking something as nightmarishly inappropriate as YouTube. That is thanks entirely to YouTube for Schools. There are some seriously cool things you can do with this, and it means you can fully integrate YouTube not only into your website and get at the content in school, you can access thousands of fantastic, inspirational videos to bring into the classroom.

YouTube link

Adobe Color

This is one of my personal favourites. If you are struggling to know how to brand yourselves online and don’t have access to a five-or-six-figure marketing budget (not many schools do these days!) then Adobe Color (previously Adobe Kula) provides an online tool and iOS app to let you create colour palettes to use on all your branding.

The app is especially good - point your phone or tablet at, for example, your school tie, and it will create an instant colour palette of complementary colours to use on your logo, website, printing, uniform etc etc.

Really nice to just play with too.

Photodune / GraphicRiver

This is going to cost you a little bit of money to use, but if you are looking for stunning stock photos or any kind of graphic elements to help bring your school or college’s web presence to life, this is for you.

Photodune is a rich resource of photos on any topic that are incredibly cheap (a lot cheaper than the likes of iStockPhoto) but the quality is very high indeed.

GraphicRiver includes logo templates, flyer templates, graphic elements for web, infographics and countless other stunningly designed files that you can buy for minimal cost.

There isn’t a better place to go to bring your web, or indeed print, content to life. Both sites are part of the same system so adding credits will enable you spend them across the sites.

What apps do you use on your school’s website? Let us know in the comments.

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