Upgrade your website skills with this one feature

When creating a school website, there are several tools and low cost options to consider.  I personally recommend WordPress because I use and love it, and because it is easy to set up several pages, add contact forms, and upload files and images pretty seamlessly.  If you are adventurous, and have advanced tech skills, you can also look into your own hosting using WordPress as well as the many plugins available.Additionally, there are several others including: Wix, SquareSpace, and Weebly that also offer paid and free versions, as well as website “builders” that step you through the process.  With WordPress, after choosing a site name, you can sign up for a .com or .org address and pay around $20/year to have your own URL that doesn’t include .wordpress.com –which looks much more professional.

As mentioned in the previous post, there are several key pieces of information that should be included on a school website.

In this series of posts, I will be demonstrating how to create and add these simple features to a standard WordPress website.  Many of these features overlap in how to add them to your site, for example:

  • Adding and editing a page
    • Add and edit your About page to give information about your school
    • Add a page telling about school faculty and staff, and include photos
    • Grades and subjects taught
    • Adding a contact form
  • Adding widgets
    • Embedding a calendar to list upcoming school events
    • Adding a follow button, so parents and others can be notified of updates
  • Adding an external link as a menu item
    • Providing access to school email or grades

 

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Adding widgets is pretty simple.  Start again in the “My Sites” page, but this time you will want to select “Customize” next to the “Themes” option.  From there, the left hand menu should show a Widgets option, so click there, and then choose the placement for your Widget.  Placement options will depend on your chosen theme, though mine for example gives the option of sidebar, as well as three different footer placements.  Once you choose placement, you should click “Add widget” which will show you a list of drop-down options.  Among these are a few that may be particularly useful:

  • Upcoming events – this can be used to integrate an existing iCalendar to display upcoming school events
  • Follow button – to allow for email sign up for users to receive website updates
  • Contact info and map – great for adding to your About page

By clicking any of the available widgets, you can easily add them to your page.

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