Did you know that WordPress powers 455 million websites worldwide? Given its popularity, it’s no secret that we think WordPress is the best school website design option!
There area number of website platforms available for schools, including proprietary CMS platforms like Finalsite. Since WordPress is Open Source software, this means with WordPress, you own your data and can customize it or add functionality to do whatever you need. A plethora of WordPress plugins exist to make your life (and your web designer’s job!) easier when building a website for your small school. What are plugins, anyways? Plugins are software products that extend the basic functionality of your website. Think of them like apps on your smartphone!
Plugins are great for small schools to keep track of events, plug your social media channels, implement imagery on your site, collect inquiry forms, etc, WordPress offers over 54,000 plugins to “aid in content management,” and we’ve narrowed down our six favorites to help you build the best small school website.
Beaver Builder is a WordPress page builder that produces high-quality and user-friendly websites. We love using Beaver Builder for our clients, because we can design creative websites that are still within a small business budget. Beaver Builder also gives clients the opportunity to easily edit their websites and see their edits live as they make them.
There are plenty of benefits of using Beaver Builder, including:
- No shortcodes
- Many tutorials and lots of support
- Enhanced design features
- Customizing your website without coding templates
Elementor is another page builder that is comparable to Beaver Builder. Elementor boasts a “drag and drop” editing style, over 90 available widgets, and pixel-perfect design. The platform gained popularity back in 2016 for offering a strong front-end visual editing experience whilst providing an abundance of premade templates. It’s a great all-inclusive platform to create, manage, and host your website without having to install multiple applications.
A bonus is that any WordPress widget can be used with Elementor. There is a free version of Elementor (which covers the basics), and a Pro version which unlocks even more dynamic content designs and features.
A multitude of forms are a crucial part of onboarding a student or keeping your school organized. For the best school website, it’s necessary to include a plugin in your WordPress website theat helps create forms and manage entries. Gravity Forms is an option we recommend to our clients. With Gravity Forms, you can build custom forms to help you expand your connection to your audiences. Forms can include contact forms, inquiry forms, applications, event sign up sheets, etc. The list can go on and on, so it’s important you have an easy to use, high-quality forms plugin to keep the process simple for you.
Pods is a plugin for WordPress that creates Custom Post Types and custom fields. What even is a custom post type? The core WordPress post types are Pages, Posts, Attachments, Revisions and Navigation Menus. Custom post types are built in addition to those core post types, including taxonomies, comments, media, content types, etc. The framework of the Pods plugin allows the user to quickly and easily create custom post types to keep the website content organized and the wheels of your project rolling faster.
At Design TLC, we recommend several plugins to help you manage your school events on your website. It’s important to note that events are a specific type of content, in which they are created to be temporary on your website, instead of other content like blogs and news which are archived forever online. It’s important you use a plugin that balances this type of content by keeping up with your events and removing them from your school calendar after they have occurred. Nothing is more frustrating than a cluttered calendar full of events that have already taken place— or worse, canceled but not removed from the school website calendar. To make it less confusing for parents to navigate the calendar and keep up with events, our plugin recommendation is The Events Calendar (TEC). It’s one of the most popular plugins on the WordPress market, with over 700,000 installs.
Once you understand this plugin, it is very customizable for setting up school events. There are paid extensions; however, the free plugin with basic benefits works just fine.
We enjoy using this calendar plugin because it integrates well with Beaver Builder, making it highly-customizable and easy to use. In addition to that, the platform is straightforward and creating an event in the plugin is as simple as creating a regular blog post for your website.
If you didn’t know already, Yoast SEO is one of the most popular in the WordPress Plugin Repository, and for good reason! This is a great plugin option to prioritize optimizing your content for SEO before you hit “publish.”
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again— good SEO is absolutely crucial for a stable, strong small school website. Yoast SEO is a plugin with software that will ensure each piece of content you publish is optimized for SEO, which in turn boosts the SEO rankings of your website and can improve your marketing funnels. It’s a win-win! In addition to it just being an overall helpful addition to your school website, the plugin will also teach you some basic SEO keywords like key phrases, meta descriptions, social media integration, the list goes on.
WordPress, while user-friendly and popular for millions of websites worldwide, can be overwhelming when you already have a tight schedule. Are you ready to take the next step for your website but don’t know where to start? Contact us TODAY and we’ll take the heavy lifting off your plate to upgrade your small school website with plugins that make your job easier. Reach out to us for a FREE 15-minute consultation!