The Advantages of a Trust-Wide Website Project

Multi-academy trusts (MATs) benefit from unified website providers, avoiding issues like outdated content and disparate support. Centralising with one provider offers streamlined communication and design consistency. Switching demands planning, but the benefits span simplified management and shared content across schools.

In this blog, we delve into the advantages and challenges of implementing one sole website provider for MATs. 

Many multi-academy trusts (MATs) benefit from using a single website provider, saving time and money and ensuring consistent branding. We've partnered with numerous MATs over the years and created a guide for successful trust-wide website projects. 

Challenges arise when schools use multiple providers 

Diverse website designs, managing multiple contracts, and conflicting systems often result in problems such as outdated content, inconsistent support, and fragmented communication. Opting for a unified provider brings benefits like streamlined communication and flexible design options.  

Transitioning requires careful planning and engagement with schools to ensure a seamless changeover. In our experience, trusts face several challenges when working with multiple suppliers for their school and trust websites, which we’ve outlined below:  

Outdated content 

When schools use different website providers, keeping information up-to-date becomes challenging. Timely updates, especially during emergencies, vary among providers, with some offering immediate content management system access. In contrast, others operate a ticket-raising system, causing delays in news updates or content edits. 

Different systems 

When schools use different ways to manage content, administrators have to learn many systems. This can cause problems like mistakes in maintenance, conflicts when joining things together, and websites that don't work the same. 

Design inconsistencies 

If school websites have a different look and feel, people might not know they're in the same trust. Some trusts are okay with this, but others want all schools to look similar to show they’re connected. 

Support differences 

Providers offer different levels of help. This means some issues get fixed quickly in one school but take longer in another, making things inconsistent. 

Contract and pricing disparities  

Providers have different contract lengths, payment plans, and prices. Managing these differences takes time and can lead to redesigning websites based on different contract end dates. 

Not sharing content easily 

When using different systems for websites, administrators must use different places to update content. This takes a lot of time and makes updating everything at once difficult. 

No single contact 

With different providers, there are many people to talk to. This takes a lot of time and effort, especially when making website changes. 

Benefits of using one provider across your trust   

Working with a single website provider for all school designs has many advantages. They can help with branding, photography, design, payments, and more, making things easier and putting everything in one place.  

Customers who've used our website services for their MAT have highlighted these key benefits: 

One partnership  

Simplify matters by collaborating with a single provider, granting you a sole point of contact for all your inquiries and assistance needs. At Juniper Education, you'll be assigned a dedicated website expert who specialises in multi-academy trusts. They'll support you in addressing issues, creating new websites for newly joined schools, and offering guidance on optimising your investment for maximum effectiveness. 

Choose a single or varied design!  

Trusts may opt for a uniform appearance or give each school the freedom to design its own website. Whether it involves diverse custom designs or a unified approach, Juniper Education can adapt to your preferences. To minimise expenses, once a school receives its custom website design, it can be replicated for other schools in your trust. This allows each school to personalise its site with unique logos, brand colours, and content, reflecting its individual identity. 

A sole agreement  

Consolidating agreements simplifies administration for your teams, establishing a clear payment schedule and a sole annual fee invoice. Employing a unified content management system enables resource sharing, seamless knowledge transfer, and continuous website updates even during absences. Single Sign On ensures users only need to recall one set of login credentials, which is particularly beneficial for administrators overseeing multiple sites within the trust. 

A single information hub  

Partnering with a sole provider allows for the utilisation of content-sharing features. When content updates occur on the main site (like the trust), it seamlessly reflects across all schools. For instance, if there's a policy update, it's added to the master version on the trust’s site and automatically updated on school websites. Easy and efficient! 

One pricing framework 

Partnering with one provider enables the development of a clear and customised pricing model tailored to the trust's needs. This structure aids in budget planning and guarantees clarity regarding the cost of new school websites upon joining the trust. This assurance provides peace of mind and fosters a lasting, reliable relationship, maximising the returns on your investment. 

Three tips for switching to a new provider smoothly 

Here are some of the numerous lasting advantages of starting a trust-wide website project. Given the trust's size, simultaneously transitioning all schools to a new provider might seem daunting. But fret not! Here are three key tips for a smooth transition: 

Check current providers 

List all schools and who they're currently working with. See when their contracts end—switching after their agreements finish might be cheaper. 

Get support from key stakeholders  

Some schools might resist if they're used to controlling their websites. Involve a few school reps in the project team and show them demos and designs to get them excited about the change. 

Share info and policies 

Put all policies and important info in one place for all school websites. Share content like job openings and news. It saves time and keeps everything consistent. Plan this shared info early on and update it for when it goes live. 

Are you considering exploring the potential of a trust-wide website project? 

Book a free consultant or demo with one of our website experts, and we can help your trust and the schools within it shine online.