Top 13 Custom Web Design Agencies Specializing in Education

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For educational institutions to remain relevant and visible, they have to extend their presence to beyond halls and courts. A solid website is one of the most versatile tools that schools can use to grow their digital presence.

Here’s the thing: prospective students are willing to travel miles for a good education. The United States alone has over 3,900 postsecondary institutions. However, it would be impossible to visit each and every institution in person so that you can make an informed choice.

Add to that the option of studying abroad and it becomes even more of a logistical nightmare.

What’s more, with the help of a website, it also becomes a lot easier for educational institutions and programs to attract funding. Sure, charity begins at home, but it doesn’t have to end at the local community.

Whether you need to get a custom website designed from scratch or you need to overhaul your current design, here are 13 agencies that know how to create attractive website design. Most also offer a wide variety of other marketing solutions to help you breathe new life into your brand too.


Leading Custom Website Design Agencies:

Top
custom web design agencies education
2024

1. SmartSites

SmartSites

Regarded as one of the best website design agencies in the US by yours truly, BestFirms, and G2, SmartSites has created hundreds of websites. What’s more, they’ve worked with the likes of Harvard University which alone is proof of their capabilities.

Their award-winning, dedicated team of experts creates responsive, custom website designs that are truly representative of your brand. From the start, their process will be shaped by detailed keyword and competitor research. They’ll also pay attention to make-or-break features like calls to action and page speed and will optimize your Google Page Speed score. As for safety, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that their specialists will also implement the latest security measures and that they’ll package up website backups.

After your website is up and running, they’ll also show you how to edit and maintain it. Plus, you’ll own everything — all the site contents, contact details, and domain.

For example, when Harvard University’s Mathematics Department needed to share upcoming events and news, SmartSites used an informative, customized WordPress design. The result — a clean, grid layout helping visitors to distinguish between news and upcoming events at a glance. 

Examples of other educational brands for which they’ve designed or redesigned a website include Alexander Tutoring, ISI Florence, JEI Learning Center, and Italian Grammar School.

Other Services:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Email marketing
  • SMS marketing
  • Social media marketing
Smartsites logo

SmartSites

Outsmart the competition with best-in-class digital marketing services. With over 1,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reviews online, SmartSites ? is America's #1 r...

Company
Channels
Services
Company
team size

50+

region

New Jersey

Best for:

Small and Medium Size Businesses

Minimum Campaign Size: $1.000+
Channels
Amazon
Facebook
Google
Google Ads
Instagram
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Reddit
Snapchat
TikTok
Twitter (X)
YouTube Advertising
Services
Website Design & Development
PPC Management
Paid Search (Google Ads, Microsoft Ads)
Paid Social (FB/Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, etc.)
Organic SEO
Email Marketing
Social Media Management
Minimum Campaign Size: $1.000+
Smartsites logo

SmartSites

Outsmart the competition with best-in-class digital marketing services. With over 1,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reviews online, SmartSites ? is America's #1 r...


2. Thrive Internet Marketing Agency

Thrive Internet Marketing Agency

Included in Thrive’s long list of services is custom website design. Aside from offering a wide array of popular marketing services, they also serve several industries, including education, specifically online certifications and eLearning.

Their team of experienced web design experts know how to make websites more immersive and personalized, key for eLearning. They’ll remove stock visuals, include call-to-action buttons, streamline form fields, and implement intuitive navigation.

Other Services:

  • SEO
  • Social media marketing
  • PPC marketing
  • Online reputation management
  • Conversion rate optimization (CRO)
  • Email marketing 
Thrive-Logo

Thrive Internet Marketing Agency

Thrive Internet Marketing Agency is a full service agency specializing in UI/UX, Web Design, Branding, SEO, PPC, Social Media Management, Link Building, and more.

Company
Industry Focus
Services
Company
team size

50+

region

Arlington, Texas

Best for:

Enterprises, Large and Small brands

Minimum Campaign Size: $1.000+
Industry Focus
Education
Finance
Health
Medical
Home Services
Manufacturing
eCommerce
Services
Web Design
SEO
PPC
Franchise Marketing
Link Building
Social Media Management
Minimum Campaign Size: $1.000+
Thrive-Logo

Thrive Internet Marketing Agency

Thrive Internet Marketing Agency is a full service agency specializing in UI/UX, Web Design, Branding, SEO, PPC, Social Media Management, Link Building, and more.


3. Online Optimism

Online Optimism

Online Optimism is a leading full-service digital marketing and design company with more than 10 years of experience behind their name. From their offices in New Orleans and Washington D.C., their team of designers, creatives, marketers, and strategists can revamp your institution’s image.

They’ll make the transition from offline to online as smooth as possible and work together with the single mission of growing your online presence. Whether your goal is to grow your student intake or simply communicate with past students and current families, they can help. Their team has designed marketing campaigns for a wide range of institutions as well as educational programs.

As for your website specifically, they’ll see to it that it’s engaging and organized, giving your community a reason to browse your site for longer. In addition to designing and building a website, they can also take care of website maintenance.

Other Services:

  • Content marketing
  • SEO
  • Digital ads
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
Online Optimism

Online Optimism

Online Optimism is a creative digital agency that makes you feel a bit more Optimistic about your online marketing & design. Their organization works ...

Company
Industry Focus
Services
Company
team size

10 - 50

region

Our offices are located in New Orleans, LA, and Washington, D.C.

Best for:

Medium and Small Business

Minimum Campaign Size: $1.000+
Industry Focus
Automotive
Business services
Financial services
Hospitality & leisure
Medical
Services
Web Design
Branding
Social media management
SEO management
Digital advertisements
WordPress
video production
Content marketing
Minimum Campaign Size: $1.000+
Online Optimism

Online Optimism

Online Optimism is a creative digital agency that makes you feel a bit more Optimistic about your online marketing & design. Their organization works ...


4. Lounge Lizard

Lounge Lizard

Lounge Lizard has made a number of yours truly’s listicles. Along with SmartSites and Online Optimism, they’re also rated as one of the top web development agencies and have expertise in Magento development, WordPress development, Shopify, and Drupal. They can also custom develop web sites and apps.

They affectionately refer to their team as “brandtenders” and “mixologisits” that know how to find the right combination of design trends. In addition to their creative flair, they also have the technical expertise to deliver mobile-responsive websites designed around user experience. They use an eight-step process that covers everything from brand development to wireframing to testing.

Clients have praised them for their attention to detail, proactive communication, and ability to manage their clients’ expectations. Some of their notable clients in the education field that they’ve helped with website design and development include J3 Foundation, Summit Professional Education, and Sachem Public Library.

For example, when Summit Professional Education, an accredited continuing education provider, wanted to revamp their outdated website, Lounge Lizard came up with a new clean, interactive site. The challenge was to find a way to let their target market search their selection of 2,000+ courses easily. Not only did they manage to create a digital catalog for all these courses, but they also found a way to position their subscription services more prominently.

Other Services:

  • Branding
  • UX/UI design
  • SEO
  • Social media marketing
  • Digital public relations (PR)

5. Jives Media

Jives Media

Jives Media is rated as one of the top SEO agencies in the USA and the most-reviewed marketing company for educational institutions on Clutch, making them a great choice for educational website design. During the past 10+ years that they’ve been in business, they’ve worked on hundreds of projects for clients like West Valley College.

Their award-winning website designs are characterized by enhanced user experience. They prioritize design and can also help with graphic design services. That said, design isn’t at the expense of function and your website will be responsive, easy-to-use, and optimized.

After they’ve completed the project, you’ll have full access to your website. If you need any changes, you can log in and make them yourself as Jives Media also offers basic guidance about how to make website edits. Alternatively, you can simply reach out to Jives Media with your requested changes and they’ll be happy to assist.

Other Services:

  • Google Ads
  • Social media
  • Video marketing and production
  • SEO

6. PBJ Marketing

PBJ Marketing

PBJ Marketing is a leading digital marketing agency with offices in New York City and Washington D.C. Whether you need help with a full website or simply a landing page for a specific course, their team can help.

They take a holistic approach to creating websites for their clients and follow a five-stage process. They’ll research your market to identify your position and get to know your target audience and competitors better. By collaborating with you, they’ll then help you to take your brand where you envision it. Then, after they’ve launched your new website, they’ll evaluate its real-time performance using data and analytics to see if they’ve landed on the mark.

Some of the names in the education sector that they’ve worked with include the National Education Association (NEA), The Beekman School and the University of Maryland.

Other Services:

  • CRO
  • Paid media
  • Social media management
  • SEO

7. Straight North

Straight North

Straight North is one of the top digital marketing agencies in the USA with offices across several cities. They work with educational institutions of all sizes and types, including individual tutors, online schools, and colleges. Some of the educational names that they’ve created websites for include Storm Educational Enterprises and the Chicago Institute of Advanced Surgery.

Their team can create a custom website in five weeks. All projects will start with an introductory call and a questionnaire. The next step will be to create a sitemap, defining the foundation of your site, before they introduce brand elements like color scheme. In addition to getting the technical matters and design elements right, they can also help with text and you’ll have a designated copywriter and professional editors at hand.

Other Services:

  • SEO
  • Paid advertising
  • Brand development
  • Creative services

8. OHO Interactive

OHO Interactive

OHO Interactive is an award-winning, digital marketing agency that was founded in the late 1990s. In addition to website design, they offer digital marketing services to the higher education and healthcare industries.

They recognize that your website is your number one marketing tool and use a proven process to create one that’s intuitive, beautiful, and simple to maintain. Their in-house team takes a collaborative approach. All campaigns start with discovery and research. They’ll then design a roadmap and refine their approach to match your budget.

They’ve used this process to create more than 135 websites for the likes of Yale University, Hardin-Simmons University, and Columbia Law School. For instance, when Columbia Law School needed to redesign their website, OHO Interactive conducted in-depth user research and executed a content strategy to place users first and elevate the experience of website visitors.

They also helped to overhaul the website of Hardin-Simmons University. This included clarifying calls to action, and simplifying the navigation. The result — student applications increased by 30% in a year.

Other Services:

  • Digital marketing
  • Social media advertising 
  • UX design

9. Carnegie

Carnegie

Founded in the 1980s, Carnegie is one of the oldest marketing agencies on this list. What’s more, they work solely with the educational industry, making them a great choice for colleges and universities in need of a website. They’ve successfully launched and optimized hundreds of websites using dozens of platforms for the likes of The University of LaVerne’s College of Law.

Their website design and development services will ensure that your brand and its story remain a focal point. Taking a user-centric approach to content, they’ll ensure that all the relevant stakeholders can find the info they need within a few clicks.

Aside from using navigation and page layouts, they’ll also ensure that the content is persuasive. This is made possible by the fact that empathy drives their decision-making regarding content and other digital assets. They combine qualitative with quantitative data to ensure that they see and understand your target market as a whole.

For example, when the University of La Verne’s College of Law needed to increase their visibility in the search engine rankings, Carnegie completed a technical site audit that identified page errors and thousands of technical issues which they fixed. In addition to fixing these mistakes, they also turned their attention to web copywriting and optimized the website content as well as their Google Business Profile.

Some of their other key clients are Cleveland State University, Loyola Marymount University, and the University of Central Oklahoma.

Other Services:

  • Brand strategy
  • Digital marketing
  • Lead generation
  • Enrollment strategy
  • Financial aid optimization 
  • Personality assessments

10. Social Driver

Social Driver

Social Driver is a digital agency that’s headquartered in Washington, D.C. They’ve worked with a handful of industries, of which education is one. Unlike many of the other agencies on this list that mainly work with formal institutions, Social Driver takes a broader approach and has worked with online learning brands and nonprofit scholar societies.

For example, when Coursello needed to upgrade their brand, they looked to Social Driver to give their brand a lift. Aside from helping with brand development and branding, they also decided to evolve their website. The goal was to create an online space that students would find exciting, yet educators could still trust. The website was built and launched with Webflow and highlighted their live courses and key classes while also incorporating testimonials.

Aside from creating full-on websites, they’ve also created websites to help with educational advocacy campaigns. For example, when The American Council of Education needed to garner more support for affordable higher education, Social Driver created a range of assets including a website with downloadable briefs on a tight deadline. The results — thousands of constituents clicked on the “Take Action” CTA.

Other Services:

  • Video and animation
  • Social media advertising
  • Advocacy

11. Digital Silk

Digital Silk

Rated as one of the best branding agencies, Digital Silk’s work has landed them recognition from leading publications like Bloomberg, Reuters, and Adweek. Add to that their list of awards and your website will be in good hands.

In addition to branding, their expertise also include custom web design, mobile app development, and creative copywriting. Their global team of leading web designers can help you to create a custom website from scratch or redesign a current one. If you prefer a more creative design, they’re also experienced at using various creative design elements like video, color, and animation strategically.

Their work includes creating a website for Miami Country Day School (MCDS), one of the top private schools in Miami. The challenge was to create an engaging website that communicated the community’s spirit and presented all the key information in just three months. To do this, Digital Silk’s team redesigned more than 60 pages and worked with thousands of images. They used Blackbaud, a customer relationship and school management software designed specifically for K-12 schools. Not only did they manage to boost organic traffic by 15%, but they also managed to reduce their bounce rate by about a third.

Other Services:

  • Brand strategy and identity
  • Logo design
  • Digital marketing strategy
  • Paid media
  • Content marketing
  • HR management
  • Sales pipeline optimization
  • Influencer marketing
  • Affiliate marketing

12. Up&Up

Up&Up

Higher education institutions can check out Up&Up. Based in Greenville, South Carolina, they “uplift brands that uplift others” by helping them to improve enrollment.

Aside from focusing on branding to attract more students, they can also use website development experiences that communicate your brand’s story. All the websites that they design are mobile-friendly, responsive, and easy to navigate. To improve the user experience further, they’ll also see to it that  WCAG accessibility standards are met and accessibility testing is included in their four-step process.

When Gardner-Webb University had to replace their content management system (CMS) for a more modern platform, they turned to Up&Up. From strategy to content migration, Up&Up worked with them over the course of 12 months. This also included building more than 1,600 pages. Not only did their new WordPress website help them to grow applications by over 20%, but they also attracted the most geographically diverse, first-year group ever.

Some of the other key clients that they’ve worked with include Athens State University, the University of South Carolina, and McPherson College.

Other Services:

  • Content strategy
  • Brand strategy
  • Marketing campaigns

13. WebFX

WebFX

Similarly to Lounge Lizard, WebFX has also been featured in a handful of our listicles. Along with Thrive Internet Marketing Agency, they’re one of the leading web development agencies in New York, but also have locations in multiple other US cities as well as regional hubs in South Africa and Guatemala.

From daycares to technical schools to universities, they work with various types of educational institutions. Using a combination of strategies, they can help your website to appear on the first page of the search results. And, if you’re still in need of a website, they can use award-winning strategies and proprietary software to design pages from scratch. To date, they’ve created over a 1,000 websites. In addition to SEO and website page creation, they can also help with an array of other website-related services including website copywriting, eCommerce development, and database integration.

Other Services:

  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • CRO
  • Marketing automation

Wrapping Things Up

There’s a growing expectation, fast-tracked by the pandemic, that educational institutions should offer digital experiences too. Luckily, most stakeholders have come to learn that digital experiences can enhance the learning experience. It doesn’t have to distract students from their books.

Even if you’re at this stage not interested in offering online learning, your school should have a website, a role that can be performed by most web design agencies. It will be the first place where prospective students will search for available courses and extracurricular activities and get a taste for the campus life that you can offer.

Aside from targeting students, it can also attract the attention of donors. There are many business owners looking to give back to education specifically and eye-catching websites can help you to pitch to their pockets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which are some of the best education marketing agencies?

There are several great agencies that specialize in education marketing. You can, for example, check out:

  • PBJ Marketing
  • Straight North
  • Ologie
  • Chair 10 Marketing
  • OHO Interactive
  • HEM
  • Up&Up

What does an education marketing agency do?

In addition to website design and development and SEO, education marketing agencies can also help with a wide range of other services that typically include:

  • Branding
  • Content strategy
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Paid search and social
  • Reputation management
  • Enrollment marketing
  • CMS services

What are essential features of an educational website?

Here are some of the most important features to include when you’re designing a website for an educational institution:

  • A modern, responsive design
  • A variety of clear, calls to action
  • Contact details of staff
  • A resource library with downloadable resources
  • A calendar
  • A search feature
  • An embedded social media feed
  • Testimonials
  • A payment gateway (optional)
About the Author
Koba Molenaar brings nearly a decade of rich experience in content writing, specializing in digital marketing, branding, SaaS, and eCommerce. Her passion for helping brands, from solopreneurs to established companies, connect with their audiences shines through her work. As a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, Koba’s commitment to excellence is evident in her work, showcasing her as a relatable and knowledgeable voice in the industry.