Christian schools are having a moment.
Thanks to ongoing pandemic restrictions in many areas, a growing conversation around CRT, and a rapidly developing moral revolution, more and more parents are strongly considering a Christian education for their children.
You’ve likely seen significant growth in your website visits starting in 2020 and continuing through today. In this article, we’ll look at a few ways to ensure your homepage is optimized to convert those anonymous visitors into qualified leads.
With our ever-shortening attention spans and ever-growing competition, you have a small window in which to convince a prospective parent to stick around and take action. They’ve come to your website with questions they want answered. Answering these questions quickly and effectively multiplies the likelihood of getting future families in your door.
With that in mind, here are six questions your homepage should answer… (Please don’t miss #5)
1. What grades do you offer?
One of the first and most obvious questions a prospective parent or student has when visiting your website is what grades your school serves. Are you a primary school, a high school, or do you serve K-12? It’s a frustrating for users if they devote a lot of time to exploring your website only to find that your school doesn’t even serve their kids’ grades. Or on the flip side, they may leave your website because it appears that you don’t offer their kid’s grade when you actually do!
Put this info in a prominent place, such as…
- Under or near your logo
- In your mission statement
- As a headline or part of a featured question above the fold
Additionally, including details like this on your homepage will help to optimize your website so you’ll rank higher in search results. And that’s a win/win!
Note: This naturally applies to gender also if your school is all boys or all girls.
2. Where are you located?
I know this may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be shocked how many school websites miss this. While proximity isn’t the main reason why families attend your school, it is a significant factor.
The data has spoken: Dan Krause (GraceWorks’ President) recently completed a massive analysis of tens of thousands of parent satisfaction survey results. He found one group that really appreciates a short drive are parents who have been at a school for less than two years. In other words, new families care about the commute!
Make it easy to find your city and address. This will help you generate quality leads, serve prospective parents, and improve your search visibility.
3. How can I talk to someone?
Your website is not your school’s best salesperson. That title always has and always will belong to real people. Your website can “sell” a conversation or a visit. But only your principal or admissions team can sell enrollment.
So, help your website do its job! Make contact info easily accessible. Make it unmistakably obvious how to schedule a face-to-face meeting. Make it unquestionably clear that human interaction is the most important next step.
NOTE: This is a job for every page of your website.
4. How do I learn more?
While a call or visit is arguably the best next step for prospective families, you can be certain that not every parent will want to take that step the first time they visit your website. Provide secondary (or “transitional”) calls-to-action that encourage parents to move beyond the home page and dive deeper into the info they need to know.
One way to know if your website is succeeding at this is to look at your homepage’s “bounce rate” in Google Analytics. A high bounce rate may be an indicator that prospective families are landing on your home page and “bouncing” back to search results or another website without taking any further actions.
Ideally, one of your secondary calls-to-action will offer a lead magnet that allows you to gather some information about prospects without requiring them to talk to anyone. It’s not ideal, but my generation (millennials) is famous for avoiding phone calls like the plague.
5. Are you serious about Jesus?
This is a BIG one. While there are countless reasons someone could be exploring the possibility of a private-school education, one of the most important and resounding ones is the desire to have their children in a place that prioritizes Christian values.
Your emphasis on Christian character and Bible-related teaching is one of your most vital assets, and it can easily outshine anything a public or non-sectarian school has to offer in the same arena. This is something you need to capitalize on! It’s vital that you use some of your homepage’s real estate to let your reader know clearly how serious your school is about teaching and modeling Christian values.
The data has spoken: Our research shows definitively that the families who care the most about the uniquely Christian elements of a school are those who have been at that school for 3+ years. On the flip side, “not re-enrolling” families are among those who care the least.
One obvious interpretation of these insights is that Christian schools that want to improve retention should focus more on attracting families that care deeply about Christian character development. Right-fit families stay longer.
6. What makes you unique?
In the same vein as the point above, it’s important to point out what else makes your school unique compared to others in the area. Competition is high. You may be up against public schools, charter schools, non-religious private schools, other Christian schools, and even homeschooling.
Let your visitors know why they should consider you, and do it in various ways. Here are some ideas:
- Use infographics and other visual aids that help your reader easily digest the information you’re presenting.
- Incorporate student and parent testimonials to establish a sense of trust and credibility.
- Feature videos and photos of your students, your school, and your programs.
One of the main things I hope you take away from all this is that your home page is key to engaging future families. Don’t take it lightly! A strategically-crafted home page will help visitors explore the best parts of your school while answering their most critical questions.
FREE Website Review
Would you like an outsider’s perspective on your homepage? How about the rest of your website? Our Christian School Web Audit analyzes about 40 elements of an effective, lead-generating Christian school website. The report is conducted personally by me — a StoryBrand Certified Guide, long-time web designer, and K-12 Christian school graduate.
If you’d like a custom report on your school’s website (at no cost), please fill out the short form on this page.