School websites getting started

Why you might want a school website:

  • Keep parents and others up to date
  • Raise the profile of your school.
  • Celebrate achievements of pupils and school.
  • Advertise and document events and activities.
  • Get feedback/communication from children and parents.
  • Distribute newsletters and other documents.

WordPress background

  • WordPress is a free and open-source blogging tool and a content management system.
  • WordPress was used by more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites as of January 2015.
  • WordPress is the most popular blogging system on the web.
  • Glow Blogs currently consists of 33 instances of WordPress multisite. Which allows pupils and teachers across Scotland to create sites.
  • Glow Blogs are used for many different types of site, e-portfolios, class blogs, resource sharing sites and school websites.

Traditionally creating websites required knowledge of code or specialized software. It often involves creating content off line and uploading it to a server. Blogs change this dynamic by proving a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) environment in a web browser. No specialised software is needed.

Before You Start

It is a good idea to do some planning. Some of this will be influenced by how WordPress works but most by thinking about what you want or need on your site and who will produce it.

School websites can simple static portal for information or dynamic sites that are updated frequently. A simple static site could be maintained by one person as it will be infrequently updated. More complex sites may need a range of information to be published from a variety of sources, some of this may be relatively static other pages more dynamic being updated frequently. You may want different departments or classes to produce different section of the website.

WordPress Features

Traditionally a blog consists of a series of posts presented in reverse chronological order. In addition to pages of posts WordPress allows you to create static pages

Pages are for content such as “About,” “Contact,” etc. Pages live outside of the normal blog chronology, and are often used to present timeless information about yourself or your site – information that is always applicable. You can use Pages to organize and manage any content… Pages « WordPress Codex

For School Websites these pages can include pages for contact, departments and other information.

Initial Questions

Site Structure

Do you want the front page of your website to be a ‘news’ page showing a stream of posts? Or would you like it to have a static front page giving a basic introduction to your school?

If you are having department/class pages do you want these to be static or ‘a series of posts presented in reverse chronological order’? You could have both, some classes having static pages and some more blog like streams.

If you are using the series of posts approach make sure you have people who will keep producing new posts. It gives a poor impression of the latest news on a department page is very old. In these cases it is best to use static pages for classes/departments.

Make a list of pages that you want or need on your website. Decide if they will be static or series of posts.

An understanding of the structure of the site will hep you decide how you want the navigation to Work. We would strongly recommend using a modern WordPress theme and the built in WordPress menu system.

The way menus are used will vary from theme to theme.
You can create any number of menus, menus can link to pages, categories or any link, inside out outside your site.
In, for example, TwentyFourteen you can have a top menu across the site and a menu in the sidebar or as a widget in any side bar.

Gather Resources

Before you start work on your site it may be a good idea to gather some of the resources you need:

A list of pages and categories
Text for some the pages and initial post.

Depending on how you are populating the site you may need to gather these from others or have them reviewed. Alternatively you can create empty pages that will be edited by others at a later date. It is worth thinking if you want these empty pages to appear in the navigation.

Another approach might be to have a very simple site to start with and review and augment the organisation from time to time.

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