Websites

Websites for Schools

Teachers often ask me a number of questions about school websites, and the best way to go about getting one. In this article I’m going to present some information about why Schools might want to make the shift from a static website to a dynamic website

Keeping your website upto date is a task. However, it is an important task that someone should be doing every week, maybe even daily.

Keeping your website updated is a massive task. It’s usually something no one wants to do. However, keeping your audience up to date with all your recent developments is incredibly important if you want to engage with them.

For years now many schools have had a static website, that is to say that someone designed and built it, uploaded it to the server and then it just sat there. Every time the school wants an update, some external person has to be phoned to add new photos or stories.

More recently though, database driven (Dynamic) websites that allow teachers the ability to log in and write their own articles, add photos and events have come along. Blogs or weblogs, where the whole website management is taken care of by a 3rd party company are also popular and you don’t have to worry about costs or technical issues.

So, which is the best solution? No option is absolutely foolproof unless you have a member of staff who is specifically dedicated to maintaining the website.

What are the pro’s and cons of blogs and Dynamic sites?

If faced with the choice of a static and a dynamic website, the dynamic one would win hands down every time for me. The reason is mostly workload based. With static pages each and every new article written for the page needs a new page creating. It needs naming properly and linking to from all the other pages.

Dynamic Sites
A dynamic site on the other hand, whilst being more complex and time consuming to put together, creates multiple pages without users needing any knowledge of computer programing. You can add pages easily by simply logging into the site and entering data into a series of text fields. Images and files can be uploaded easily to accompany the articles.

Providing you back up your server regularly, every article ever written for the website is retrievable for other purposes, making it an excellent repository of your successful work.

Downsides of dynamic websites are that they can cost more to develop . You also need the full participation of your staff to make them work effectively. A dynamic website that is never updated will lose visitors  and can then become as impotent as a static website that is never updated.

Blogs and dynamic websites
Blogs and dynamic websites are essentially the same thing. However, a blog tends to me more of a diary site, with snippets of useful information as opposed to a full blown corporate website. One of the main benefits of using a blog is the use of RSS feeds. RSS feeds are really just a text file which is updated each time new articles are added to a website. Users can subscribe to a websites content via the RSS feed. Whenever new content is added to the website users can see this via the feed and are often emailed a notification as well. RSS feeds are also great for improving your search engine rankings

The downsides of using free blogs are that you are reliant on third party servers. If the server goes down , so does your site and given that you use a free blogging service, you cannot really complain. There are paid services out there though, but this is where you will need technical help as you will need access to a server to host the site, and some knowledge of programming to get your site up and running.

Phil Gregory
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Phil Gregory

Phil Gregory is a Web Marketing Consultant. Specialising in SEO, PPC and Social Media.

Previously he worked in Education as an ICT Trainer delivering I.C.T / Audio/Visual solutions for Education and Business. Connect with Phil on Social
Phil Gregory
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2 Responses to Choosing a School Website

  1. Steve says:

    You could always download wordpress and install it on your own servers/website.

  2. Jacko says:

    Steve, what you say is true, but I am trying to reach out to the non techie teacher type here. It isn’t satisfactory to always have to rely on technicians to sort everything out for you.

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