At DesignTLC, we proudly use WordPress to design websites for our clients. There are plenty of other platforms available, like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace, and Finalsite is a big name in school websites. WordPress is our favorite for four reasons:
- Ease of Use
It’s no secret that good quality website development is not cheap. Schools can spend anywhere from $10,000-$100,000 on a single website, after calculating the costs of the software with the fees from the web developer. After that, with some providers, annual fees can top $10,000. With WordPress, you can build a website yourself for free, and pay only for hosting, as you would with Wix or SquareSpace. You can also invest in having a professional design and build it for you, and then hand it over to you or offer ongoing support when you need it. Whether you work with a large or small agency or freelancer, a WordPress website will rarely cost more than $15,000 to set up (small sites may even be closer to $5,000), and the ongoing maintenance and support is usually between $1,000-$2,000 per year. This can be a significant savings for a small school!
2. Ease of Use & Performance
WordPress can be installed to build your school website in a single click, and it doesn’t take a genius to manage. A busy school marketer doesn’t have all the time in the day to finagle with a difficult website interface when making small changes. After installation, the easy-to-navigate user interface makes it just as simple to update whenever you need to make a change. Functionality is a strength of WordPress; the platform is designed for beginners who may not know where to start when it comes to designing a website.
The interface is incredibly interactive and allows users to easily update their menus, content, multimedia elements, and more.
Security and reliability
Another strength of WordPress is its tight security. Software options include security-focused plugins and most WordPress hosting companies provide extra security to keep hackers away from your site. To ensure the safety of your website, WordPress releases news frequently and provides prompt notifications about your website’s security to prioritize the WordPress environment for you.
3. Extendability and flexibility
Did you know that WordPress currently runs 35% of websites on the internet? WordPress is open source software, meaning you can build and install your own code and data into WordPress without limits of a corporate structure like Finalsite, Wix or Squarespace. With open source software like WordPress, you decide which features need to be built out, you build (and own) your own data and contribute it to WordPress. If you search “Is there a WordPress plugin for…” the answer you’re probably going to receive is “yes!” Check out the WordPress plugin directory to add more functionality to your school website.
A benefit of open source software is web designers can solve their own design problems without seeking much help. Using WordPress, you have many choices for themes, widgets, plugins, page builders and more. Creators are able to build content and design features on your website without having to ask WordPress for permission, making WordPress a stronger option than other DIY website building platforms.
WordPress was originally built and designed for bloggers. Though WordPress is known for its blogging platform, it has evolved into software so extensive that it is used to run the New York Times, among other large enterprises. We love that it can be as simple or complex as it is needed to be. It’s one of the cleanest, fastest platforms for publishing blog posts, making that an advantage for the entire platform at its root.
Even if you are setting up an e-learning section or a calendar page for your school, you will find that WordPress is designed to help you meet your needs and solve your problems on your website.
WordPress sites are also created to allow their design to be highly customizable to your brand and style preferences. Off-the-shelf themes may work for you, or can be adjusted or expanded through widgets and plugins (another benefit of open source software). You can also create a custom theme for full control over the design and layout. The platform is flexible in nature because it gives web designers and developers a starting point with a theme, but then gives them full freedom to create the site they want through their own coding and design.
On top of all this, you own your data with WordPress. You can move your website to a different server if you are unhappy, you can easily change your theme or add or remove functionality. With proprietary platforms, they have control over your data and your website. If they decide to remove some functionality or raise their prices, you are stuck.
4. Strong WordPress community
Another advantage of WordPress is its strong and vast community. WordPress has an incredible network of support based on sharing and collaboration with each other. There are hundreds of WordPress communities on social media, and there are WordPress meetups and larger conferences all around the world called WordCamps (we attend and speak at these events regularly – well, before COVID we did!). These events bring together WordPress users, developers, designers, entrepreneurs and more to meet to learn, engage, and discuss new technologies. It’s a great benefit of WordPress to have a group of people happy to help and support you in the design and development of your school website, and it’s even better when you are seeking knowledge or you have knowledge to share with the community. Additionally, there are many YouTube videos, and free and paid websites full of tutorials to help beginners get on their feet – another aspect of the web creator community supporting one another.
Questions about WordPress? We will be offering a series of FREE WordPress Workshops for schools starting in April. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter or sign up for our mailing list to be notified when the workshops begin!