Author: Louïne van der Vyver
It is imperative – your school needs a website. The internet has become the modern mom’s compass. To have an online presence is indispensible: firstly it alerts prospective parents of your school’s existence, and secondly it can be used sucessfully as a marketing platform to attract new learners. It is easy to create a school website. Use a template with step-by-step prompts.
Here’s an examples of a template where several photo options are being tested and downloaded:
First things first: three steps to get online
- Find a web host
- Purchase a domain and register a domain name
- Find a ready-made template you like on which to build your new school website
What?? I don’t know this lingo: host, domain? Where do I even begin?
A web host will provide your school with the magic you need (aka technologies and services) to post your school website to the Internet so that anyone who does an Internet search can find and view your school online.
Do your own Internet search for “web hosting service provider” and you will find several local companies who will be able to host your website at a minimal cost per month. They will give you step-by-step online instructions to register with them.
Next comes your website’s name. In order for the service provider to host your website, you will need a registered domain name. The hosting company can help you to buy a domain (a space on the internet) and register a domain name. Your host will also be able to provide you with e-mail addresses in order for your school community to be able to contact you online.
Get ready to build your website – you will need:
- A DOMAIN NAME – Choosing a name for your school website is the most important part of your preparation. Let’s say I search the word “florist” online. The first search results that come up all have the word florist in their name: www.netflorist.co.za, www.johannesburgflorist.co.za, www.saflorist.co.za, teleflorist.co.za and so forth. Should your school be called Princess High, a domain name should reflect it, for example: www.princesshighschool.co.za. Keep your domain name as direct, short and clear as possible – your domain name is the first thing that will direct new parents to your school.
- CONTACT DETAILS – This includes an e-mail address (your web host will provide at least one) as well as all relevant telephone numbers.
- PHOTOGRAPHS – of your school buildings, the children attending your school, the facilities at school and any visual images that will convince your online audience to take notice of your school.
- CONTENT – a concise write-up about your school and what your school has to offer their learners.
Start building your website!
The good news is: there are many affordable and often free templates available online to be used as a platform on which you can create your website. You don’t have to have any computer coding skills. Just follow the prompts online. Some of the easiest and best template options can be found at WordPress.
Click on one of the following:
- Scroll down the pages to see what the template options are.
- Choose those you like best and click on the DEMO buttons to see what the full template looks like and how it flows.
- Once you’ve decided what template you like best, click on that template’s DOWNLOAD button and start making it your own by using the photographs and text you’ve prepared for your website.
A few more tips:
- Keep your website as simple as possible. Rather short, sweet and correct than complex and riddled with mistakes.
- All buttons on your website should work. If they don’t, remove them.
- All important information should be on your landing page (your first page). Keep to one page where possible and keep information to the point.
- Most important: before you go live, please have a professional proofreader check your website first to find any mistakes you might have missed.
Last word of advice: Create a child-centred website
The aim of your school website is to give parents a window into your school and what it has to offer. Parents want to see a place where their children can be happy, where they enjoy learning and where they feel safe. If the photos on your website portray safe, happy children, parents will further investigate your school as an option.
For free website building tools, google: