The old website was carelessly strung together.
Copy was shovelled in, pictures dumped. It was a mindless potpourri, that was awfully difficult to navigate. Parents complained and rightfully so.
Visits to the school to learn about the offerings increased, because the website said so little anyway. Word of mouth was the biggest puller of parents. The site was embarrassment for the school during international visits by the management.
The old website had to go. The new professionally designed one had to improve NES International’s status, as well as boost admissions.
Pigtail Pundits landed the account for the revamp.
To Wordpress, or to ProcessWire?
Every once in a while at Pigtail Pundits, we experiment on projects. What if we can do this another way? With another system?
This has its salutary effects. It gets the team out of their comfort zones. It enables new synaptic connections in our heads. It helps us improve ourselves and the output we deliver to our clients. It’s a win, win for all.
So a new team which was WordPress savvy, got tasked with this project in ProcessWire CMS. ProcessWire is a blazing fast, modern CMS for developers.
Wordpress would have suited fine for this project. But then we have done 100s of sites on WordPress and the thought of doing another one seemed to kill all joy. For programming, the joy is in the challenge of doing something new, not more of the old.
Rustling together 70 odd pages with design, development and modest functionality was not mountain climbing, after all.
Any number of CMSs out there would have sufficed. The key thing in this site was not the technology as much as the persuasion. Technology would be the scaffolding for the persuasion. The more elegant the scaffolding is, the greater is the stability and flexibility of the system.
The key determinant was whether we could style Processwire faster and better than we could WordPress. It turned out to be just that. The project was completed sooner.
Processwire is remarkable in that it does not come in the way of what you wish to do. Some 8 different templates were designed to give the site a non-cookie cutter feel.
The new models for school websites.
Most International School websites in India were poorly constructed.
Most websites in this category belong to an era where programmers did the design. At least, they looked like that. We already knew this because we did the Ecole Mondiale website prior to NES International.
Even internationally, school websites don’t show great maturity in communications or architecture.
College websites in the US, perhaps in a bid to grab students who were scarce, displayed some of the best models to emulate, for websites in this category.
Crafting uniqueness for NES International.
The key was to do something different from any school, or college website out there.
Yet, carefully craft within that uniqueness, the singular characteristics of NES International School - a focus on academics and sports.
In academics specifically, give as much information on the IB Curriculum and its differences with traditional education, to swing the decision of the parent.
The initial images we received from the school did not cut it. We implored the school to re-shoot and also capture a few videos.
They listened and happily obliged.
We built an 80-page, unique website for NES International with a singular visual feel.
The rewritten copy addresses parents and what they want to hear, rather than just a laundry list of what the school offers. FAQs address parental concerns.
Social proof in the form of school accreditations, student recognition, awards and accolades, student achievements, parent testimonials, and media cuttings were woven together elegantly into the persuasion.
Check out Punditam, the School Marketing CMS
Based on the insights from working with international schools, and from 18 years online, we have developed a modern, scalable, school marketing CMS.
Punditam, is a customised CMS for Schools that packs all the marketing goodness for school administrators to build a community, engage with key stakeholders of the school, plus manage and promote the school online.
International Baccalaureate schools in Mumbai have a tough time with new admissions.
IB schools with their different teaching regimen, offer more or less the same curricula as the National and State Level Boards in India do.
The key difference is the way subjects are taught and the international emphasis. IB Schools cater to the growing, booming richer class of parents in India, children of non-resident Indians, and those of foreign expats who work in India.
Over the years, many schools have begun to offer the IB Curriculum in schools. A few are in expansion mode. Competition has mushroomed. Marketing is a must.