Islamic School Websites’ Top 7 Mistakes
by Mohammed Faris Qais, 10th grade Islamic school student, central Texas
H/S Intern for the ISLA
If you want to sell a product or service these days, you have to have a website. However, it’s not enough to just have any website. To gain traffic, the website must be attractive and easy-to-navigate. In addition, it must contain essential elements, such as attention-grabbing headings, easy-to-access information, and a welcoming friendly display.
In this article, we will list the top 7 mistakes Islamic Schools seem to be making on their websites and suggest how they can correct them.
Typos and Miscommunication
The first mistake I noticed was bad grammar. These mistakes occur very easily but make the school look less professional. Most of the mistakes I noticed on these websites include forgotten spaces, capitalization errors, missing punctuation and misspelled words. Since these are easy mistakes to make, they are also very easy to fix. I highly encourage Islamic schools to have at least two people work on their website; one person who writes the content and another who reviews it for grammatical errors.
Upcoming Events are Outdated/Empty
When scanning these websites, I noticed most of these websites follow a similar format of displaying upcoming events and/or recent events. However, several of these either had no content or were not updated. When these sections are empty, it makes the viewer believe that the school is bland and doesn’t have events. Again, this is a very easy fix and should not take much time.
Enrollment Instructions Difficult to Find
Another mistake I noticed was some of these websites make it difficult to find enrollment details such as the cost of tuition, time for open enrollment, or the process for enrollment. If I were a parent, I would prefer to see the enrollment information easily accessible on the website, rather than having to contact the school to find out. This might not be the easiest mistake to fix, but I would say it is worth the work. After all, additional enrollment means more money for the school.
Grade Levels Missing
I noticed that most of the websites did not list the grades they teach until you attempt to sign up or contact the school. I would not want any parent to have to risk wondering if the school will teach their child or not. This is very easy information to display and I think it would help plenty of parents.
Contact Information Hidden
I also noticed that it is often difficult to locate how to contact the school. Only half of the websites I scanned had a contact number listed, while some had an email address to contact. I recommend having both of these items displayed, as people have different communication styles.
Bland Home Pages
The sixth mistake I detected was empty sections on the homepage on many Islamic school websites. For example, I noticed that that the website would feature a calendar widget, but there was no event information on the calendar. These empty sections on websites make the site less attractive to the human eye. If some more time would be taken to add the needed information, then it might help make the website more attractive.
Generic or Poorly Written Mission Statement
The last major mistake I found is poor writing when reading the schools’ mission statements. In fact, most of the websites I scanned had small two to three sentence missions that were similar to all of the other schools. Check out these three examples (identifying information has been removed):
Example #1: To promote educational excellence and meaningful faith in a diverse, caring Islamic environment to students who are secure in their identity, critical and creative thinkers, effective communicators and responsible citizens dedicated to peace.
Example #2: Our mission is to endeavor to produce the finest graduates, who strike a balance between academic achievement and Islamic values and morals.
Example #3: In partnership with students, staff, families and our community, we aim to educate, empower, and challenge our students to realize their full potential as individuals and citizens of the world who develop a life-long thirst for knowledge.
The similarity in the statements makes the competition fall deeply when competing against other public and private schools. It would benefit the school to take a little more extra time when writing their school mission to allow it to stand apart from the rest by having something unique to their school’s philosophy and approach to education.
In conclusion, there are plenty of mistakes schools can make when creating and updating their websites. This article listed some of the most common amongst them. Most of these can be easily fixed with just a little bit diligence and effort. And the effort is worth it since websites are often the first place a prospective parent, student, or professional looks when considering a relationship with the school.
Mohammed Qais is an entering sophomore in a full-time Islamic school in Central Texas. He enjoys researching, writing, drawing and many more things. He is working as a summer intern with ISLA.