1. Make sure you have an effective content management system (CMS) that you can use yourself – it is far more efficient than emailing content to an external agency or IT expert. If possible, make sure that several staff are trained on this.
2. Make the approval process as simple as possible. While you should always get a second opinion before posting anything (to check spelling and grammar as well as content), you don’t need the Head and/or the Chairman of Governors to do this!
3. Make the website the centre of your marketing activity – put all news stories and events on the site first so that you’re not having to duplicate content from elswehere.
4. Divide the site into different areas with different deadlines. Some parts may need updating on a weekly basis (e.g. news, job vacancies); some on a termly basis (e.g. list of teaching staff,calendar of events); and others should be checked on an annual basis, ideally in the summer holidays (e.g. exam results, admissions arrangements, pupil premium information).
5. Assign clear responsibility for each section with deadlines. If you need updates from other members of staff, makes sure they know when and how to put them on the website (or who to send them to).
6. Involve other staff and hold regular editorial meetings. Not only is this a great way of generating new story ideas, it gives you a regular check on progress.
7. Remove out of date material as soon as possible. Some CMSs allow you to automatically archive material – very useful for blog posts and event warnings.
8. Encourage feedback and contributions. Ask people (students, parents, governors) to let you know if there is anything out of date – and to contribute stories, photographs of their activities. Don’t see feedback like this as a criticism!
9. Resist the temptation to add many more pages to your website. Try to always fit new content into the existing structure – new pages can be forgotten about and give an out-of-date impression of the school.
10. Try new ideas to keep you interested. Set up a blog, create a video diary for an expedition, set up a Twitter feed using your news content – something that will keep you (and others) coming back to the website.