I recently worked with a school administrator to set up a school website. Upon outlining all the needs of the site, I recommended that they choose WordPress because I believe that it would be the best choice for setting up and managing the site. WordPress is easy to understand and learn, and it has thousands of free and paid plugins to customize the site to each school’s needs. Below is an outline of what a complete school website would require, and explanations of how WordPress meets those needs.
Outline of a School Website’s Needs
1. User Groups
One thing that is unique about a school’s website is that it will have different user groups. While an online store, for example, targets one user group (clients), a school has numerous ones. There are parents, students, teachers, and administrators. You want all of them to be able to access the site. However, not all of them can have equal access to all of the information. WordPress can take care of all of this for you. WordPress has a great plugin named Groups, which provides management for an unlimited number of groups. The plugin claims to provide “group-based user membership management, group-based capabilities and access control for content, built on solid principles.”
A good school website will have a functioning calendar which will encompass school holidays, vacations, field trips, short days, fundraisers, school activities, etc. I wrote another blog about the best WordPress calendar plugins, which can be viewed here. There are four options which you can read about, and pick one that is best for you. We have had good success using the All in One Calendar plugin as it has many integrations and premium features as well.
School website administrators will surely want to share photos and videos of students during school field trips, athletic events, etc. on the site. Furthermore, uploading files with report cards, letters to parents and school requirements will be necessary. WordPress is great at allowing users to upload and share media. There is a media uploader, which makes it easy to show off files in a post or page. Once uploaded, the Media Library “allows you to edit, view, and delete Media previously uploaded to your blog. Multiple Media objects can be selected for deletion. Search and filtering ability is also provided to allow you to find the desired Media,” according to WordPress’ Codex.
It’s necessary to create a directory of students, parents, volunteers, etc. to run a school. WordPress has several plugins for you to do so. The Connections Business Directory plugin lets you create an address book, a staff directory, or any other directory that you need. It has an integrated dashboard, which keeps you up-to-date with school holidays, student birthdays, and any other pertinent contact news. The plugin gives control to what individual or group sees what entries.
Newsletters to students’ families are a must to keep them caught up with school news. WordPress has tons of newsletter plugins, such as MailPoet Newsletters, Newsletter, and E-mail Newsletter. These plugins lets you create a customized newsletter with your school’s colors, photos, and unlimited subscribers.
6. Social Media
Nowadays, everything is about social media. WordPress integrates automatically with Facebook and Twitter, updating these sites with the latest blogs and posts from your school’s website. You can also configure other social media platforms to connect to your school sites.
The team at Behla Design is dedicated to creating visual experiences that effectively tell our clients’ stories while engaging, exciting, and enticing the customers. Our firm consists of the top web design and development, WordPress, search engine optimization (SEO), and copy writing professionals. Our founder, Andrew Behla, has worked in the graphic, print and web design industry for over twenty years.
If you’d like to discuss setting up a website for your school, contact Behla Design.
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