Refreshing your website

Refreshing your website

Time To Refresh Your Web Site

What can you do to breathe some life back into the Web site? Here are some tips from Edugeek's Russal Dyas:

Install A Content Management System (CMS): Most CMS allow you to create content for your site without the need for programming skills. A large number of systems are available for free as they are released as open source. You can compare a number of these systems on the CMS Matrix Web site. Also there is a special customized version for education of the popular Joomla package.

Think about the stakeholders using your Web site: Look into who will be using your Web site. Is it for

staff, students, parents, community, or for all of these categories? Make sure the content on your site is helpful for each type of visitor to find the relevant information. You could survey your stakeholders about what they want from the school Web site.

Setup an email for school staff: An important part of a school Web site, and an area that is often overlooked, is keeping the site current. All too often a Web site is redesigned and then left to go out of date. Make life easier for your staff to give you updated information and news by having a generic email that they can access to email you any information.

Become a reporter: Even with a generic email, you might still find it difficult to get staff to email you information. This means going on the hunt for news that you can add to site. If your students are attending a field trip, find someone to write a report on it. Got a school event? Get the camera out and get some pictures for a news article about it.

Have a number of approved stock photographs: To put photographs of students on the Web site, get approval from the parents or guardian first, which can save time and complications later. Create a stock of approved photographs if you have a news article that hasn’t got an approved photograph with it.

Delegate some of the content writing: If you have access to an administration team, see if you can delegate some of the content writing and preparation to them. You could even give them limited access to your CMS backend so they can write and publish content themselves, freeing your time to work on some the larger projects within the Web site.

Hire student reporters: As staff in schools can be very busy, the student newspaper idea could be restarted, using an afterschool club. The students would be able to write articles and take photographs on topics suitable for their interests and age groups.

Start a Principal blog: Ask the principal to write a regular blog post for the site. She doesn’t have to post it on the Web site, just provide it in an office document that you can then post it on the Web site for her.

Offer a virtual tour of the school: Create a panoramic photographic view of the school and let visitors look around. There are a number of software packages available, both paid for and open source, that will help you create
a tour.

Get students to produce audio and video content: As with photographs, if you are going to have audio and video featuring the students on the Web site, you will need to get permission. Buy one of new handheld cameras that are currently on the market and get your students to create videos about the school.