When you are going through a website redesign or starting fresh with a new website concept for your small school, your first step is choosing which of the many website development platforms to work with. There are a multitude of options, which can seem overwhelming, but we’re here to tell you why we proudly use and support WordPress websites.
Why Do We Use WordPress?
There are plenty of fish in the sea— popular website designing platforms like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, or even Finalsite, are common options for those creating a site for their small school. However, in our eyes, WordPress is the best option, especially for small independent schools.
The laundry list of why we prefer to use WordPress when designing websites for small schools is long. In short, we use it for its affordability, ease of use, ownership, extendability and community. In this blog post, we’ll give you our top reasons why we recommend using WordPress to design the school website of your dreams.
A strong reason why we recommend using WordPress for your small school website is the strength of the WordPress community. WordPress has a fantastic network of support from web designers, WordPress experts, and folks just figuring out the WordPress platform themselves. There are hundreds of WordPress communities online, and WordPress hosts global meetups and conferences called WordCamps. These WordCamps provide WordPress developers, users, designers, and entrepreneurs with opportunities to engage collaboratively and gain insight on new WordPress features and technologies. It’s a great benefit of WordPress to have a network of people who are ready to help and happy to support you in the design and development of your school website, and the sentiment is exchanged when you have your own knowledge to share with the community!
There are also series of YouTube videos, and free and paid websites full of tutorials to help beginners get on their feet – another awesome aspect of the WordPress community supporting each other.
Flexibility & Extendability – Open Source vs. Proprietary
WordPress has a leg up on other platforms like Finalsite, Wix, and Squarespace because it is open-source software. What is open-source? This means web developers and designers can upload their own original code into WordPress to create highly customizable websites. A web designer can decide which features need to be built out, and they can contribute their own code to WordPress websites.
A great benefit of open-source software is the ability to customize your website to fit your exact need without seeking much help. If your website doesn’t currently hold a certain feature, don’t worry— you can build it yourself. Also, because of open-source software, a plethora of helpful plugins exist to make life easier for you and your web designer. Need a new feature for your site? There’s most likely a plugin for that.
WordPress boasts hundreds of off-the-shelf website themes, but also allows web designers to create websites from scratch. Its built-in flexibility allows you, the school marketer, to create a highly customizable website either from a pre-built theme, or a unique one of your own. The choice is yours!
In addition to being a flexible platform, it was also built to be extendable. With the data and code you build into WordPress, it can be easily transferred to another platform if you change your mind down the line. You own 100% of the data you enter into your WordPress website— this isn’t the case with proprietary platforms, who may remove some functionality of the code or raise their prices, putting you in a tough spot.
A high-functioning school website designed to max its potential and reach your goals doesn’t have to drain your wallet. Schools can spend anywhere from $10,000-$100,000 on a single website, including the website developer costs and software fees. On top of that cost, some providers will ongoing maintenance fees that can run into the thousands of dollars per month!
WordPress is a more cost-effective solution to build an effective website for your school. If you are using the DIY approach, you can use WordPress to build and host the website yourself for free. Or, a professional website designer can build it for you in WordPress then support your site with maintenance and upkeep. No matter which option you choose, either with a large website design agency or a smaller agency, a WordPress website for a small school will rarely cost more than $15,000 to create (our custom school websites start at $8,000). Ongoing maintenance can be predicted at $1,000-$2,000 a year.
A website is a large, impactful investment for your school. Such a project needs to be protected. Luckily, WordPress is known for its attention to security. The platform’s software options include security-focused plugins; also, many WordPress hosting organizations will provide additional security measures to protect your website from hacking attempts. To add another layer of protection, WordPress frequently updates you on the security of your website, and provides timely updates if your website’s security has been compromised.
Ease of Use
To get started with a WordPress website, it takes no more than one click. A strong feature of WordPress is how easy it is to use for website design beginners. You don’t have to be a website design expert to create a functional website on WordPress. We do recommend the help and support of a professional, but the platform itself is user-friendly enough for getting yourself started and building a foundation, as well as general small maintenance tasks or updates. The interface is incredibly interactive and allows users to easily update their menus, content, multimedia elements, and more.
WordPress is structured to respond with the algorithms set by search engines like Google. There are many off-the-shelf themes that are already pre-optimized for SEO. All you need to do is make adjustments over time as the algorithm requisites shift— and WordPress can guide you through Google algorithm requirements and their changes!
There are plenty of WordPress plugins available to assist you with SEO— our favorite is Yoast SEO. This plugin is equipped with software that ensures each piece of content is optimized for SEO before you hit “publish.” This in turn boosts the SEO rankings for your school website and can strengthen your marketing funnels.
Interested in learning how WordPress can best serve your school website and help your small school reach its goals? Look no further – contact us TODAY for a FREE 15-minute consultation.