Why Operating A College Web site Utilizing WordPress Is Not Up For Educational Dialogue

Why Operating A College Web site Utilizing WordPress Is Not Up For Educational Dialogue

An introduction to WordPress in Greater Ed.

Faculty and college web sites are about as difficult of an online design and growth venture as you would ever tackle. A college web site not solely has to draw and recruit new college students, it additionally must serve the person wants of present college students, facilitate the distribution and change of data for school and workers, and promote fundraising and donation campaigns to alumni and the group at giant.

As you may think about, creating, managing, monitoring and offering up-to-date content material about programs, job openings, occasions, admissions, lodging, analysis and growth, social actions, discussions, and a lot extra throughout totally different segments of what finally should function as a unified digital presence, can turn out to be very advanced and very time-consuming.

Luckily, universities and schools, giant and small, can handle all this fairly simply if their net presence is constructed utilizing the WordPress open-source platform.

WordPress powers over 30% of all web sites worldwide. In actual fact, extra web sites right this moment run on WordPress than some other platform. In response to WordPress.org, nearly three.5 million faculties, universities, schools, and academic or studying establishment websites worldwide are powered by WordPress. This contains websites at many prestigious universities like Harvard Legislation Faculty, Cornell College, MIT, Duke, Vanderbilt College, the College of Berlin, Georgetown College, the College of Texas, and nearly 50,000 different establishments for greater training worldwide.

(Similar to Harvard Legislation Faculty, many college web sites at the moment are powered by WordPress!)

To be taught extra about among the high universities that use WordPress for his or her web sites, see this text:

WordPress offers many options that make it the perfect platform for operating a big college or school web site, together with a built-in content material administration system (CMS) and the flexibility to permit school and college students to run separate web sites for distinctive functions corresponding to dialogue boards, school information, journal web sites, and studying administration options to ship programs on-line on their very own servers utilizing a multisite community.

As we are going to see in a second, WordPress is just not solely a perfect platform for net builders to construct amazing-looking, useful and complex enterprise-scale web sites, WordPress additionally makes it extremely straightforward for college directors, school members, and college students so as to add media-rich content material, collaborate on initiatives and assignments, and maintain their data up to date.

It’s no surprise, then, that extra academic, tutorial and studying establishments are turning to WordPress to energy web sites for faculties, schools, and universities.

Having mentioned all this, nonetheless, there are a selection of challenges that every one giant universities, schools, and academic or greater studying institutes face relating to establishing and operating an efficient net presence. We tackle these challenges beneath and supply cost-effective options and hyperlinks to helpful sources and extra data that can allow you to perceive and navigate by means of these challenges, and even give you a sound blueprint and technique for constructing, rising, and managing an online presence for a big college, school, or academic group.

And when you want, watch a video overview of this submit right here!

Problem #1: Flexibility & Price

One of many fundamental challenges of selecting a platform and planning an internet site for a big college is flexibility.

(A college web site is a posh digital ecosystem.)

A college web site is a posh digital ecosystem. It’s an interconnected amalgamation of various platforms that want to speak and share data organically with totally different consumer teams (e.g. workers, school, alumni, and college students), with totally different sections serving totally different functions and performing totally different features. And every of those sections and features wants administration, administration, and particular entry privileges.

For instance, a college web site could comprise of the next subsections:

Mounted Content material vs. Dynamic Content material Sections

Sections like an ‘About Us’ web page are inclined to principally comprise ‘mounted’ data that’s unlikely to vary – maybe with updates solely every now and then. In distinction, most college departments must recurrently publish and replace ‘dynamic’ content material in areas like information, analysis findings, program deadlines, and so on.

Usually, conventional ‘web sites’ are used to ship data by way of mounted content material pages, whereas ‘blogs’ are used to ship dynamic or altering content material. WordPress permits you to arrange sections underneath the identical set up and area identify that may carry out as an internet site, or as a weblog.

Utilizing the Harvard Legislation Faculty web site for example, the location’s ‘About Us’ web page contains of an online web page that has principally mounted content material…

(A lot of the data on this web page is just not going to vary that always!)

As compared, the ‘Harvard Legislation Right this moment’ part shows dynamic information articles, that are revealed frequently and administered individually by totally different college colleges, departments, or particular person lecturers, functioning, subsequently, extra like a ‘weblog’ …

(This part of the college web site shows dynamic content material, like a weblog!)

Data Supply vs Consumer Engagement Websites

Though hottest content material publishing platforms can help you arrange each mounted web sites and dynamic blogs underneath the identical area, no different platform will help you create an internet site that’s as versatile and cost-effective as WordPress relating to delivering several types of data and permitting customers to have interaction and work together immediately with this data.

For instance, think about what it could take to code and add a ‘Calendar of Occasions’ part to an present college web site …

(https://hls.harvard.edu/calendar)

Or develop and incorporate a separate program so as to add, replace, and show present details about a curriculum or a catalog of programs and tutorial packages…

(Supply: https://hls.harvard.edu/teachers/curriculum)

Now, multiply the time and growth prices to construct and combine extra sections like:

  • School or pupil directories
  • Scholar dialogue boards and information bulletins
  • Non-public entry to types, companies, and members
  • On-line programs and on-line course content material supply platform
  • Content material importing/supply/messaging/assist
  • Profession and job boards,
  • Handbooks and documentation sections for college insurance policies, admissions, submissions,
  • and so on.

Growing every of the above sections after which integrating these seamlessly with an present web site can be a really advanced and costly endeavor…except you begin with a platform designed to be modular and dynamic from the outset.

(Establishing a community of modular and customizable sections = the good, efficient & dynamic strategy to construct and handle a college web site!)

WordPress is that platform. WordPress is constructed to be modular, dynamic, and utterly customizable. As a result of WordPress is an open-source software program platform, it permits builders like WPMU DEV to create new useful extensions and ‘plug and play’ add-ons (known as ‘plugins’) that behave like apps on a cell phone, making your complete WordPress ecosystem versatile, versatile, scalable, and cost-effective.

The pliability and cost-effectiveness of WordPress additionally prolong to areas like template design and web site navigation.

WordPress makes use of a novel ‘theme-based’ strategy to net design, which permits customers to vary your complete feel and appear of an internet site with out affecting the underlying content material and whereas preserving all of its performance, like enhancements, menus, navigation sections, inside and exterior hyperlinks, and so on.

Planning and designing an internet site for a college utilizing WordPress, then, is sort of like having shapeshifting skills. WordPress offers you the liberty to begin wherever you might be and construct no matter you want inside your finances, add new sections everytime you want these as issues develop and evolve, after which modify and customise something and every thing, anytime it is advisable, with out dropping any of the interior content material, linking, or navigational structure.

One of the simplest ways to know what a WordPress theme is and the way it behaves is to think about a ‘pores and skin’ overlaying each factor of the web site that’s seen to customers. You possibly can change a WordPress theme in a few clicks and your complete web site’s look and structure will likely be utterly reworked with out affecting the organs, muscle groups, and bones of the organism inside.

WordPress, nonetheless, permits you to take issues even additional by permitting you to completely configure and customise each the outside (net design) and the inside (performance) of your net presence.

This flexibility and flexibility makes WordPress probably the most highly effective and cost-effective net platform accessible for constructing a big college web site. You can begin with ‘off-the-shelf’ themes and plugins after which add, take away, modify, improve, and develop any and each side of the location as your group’s wants develop and evolve.

For instance, if we evaluate totally different college web sites constructed utilizing WordPress, you’ll shortly notice after taking a look at just some websites how versatile and cost-effective the WordPress platform actually is.

We’ve seemed briefly on the Harvard Legislation Faculty web site. Let’s distinction the HLS web site with another college web sites, like Boston College’s admissions web site

Or the Nicholls State College web site

Or, the College of Manitoba Information web site




As you may see, no two web sites powered by WordPress must look alike utilizing the identical template, or behave in the identical means utilizing the identical restricted purposes or useful components.

One of many advantages of being an open-source program is that hundreds of extremely expert skilled builders (just like the group right here at WPMU DEV) have helped to construct WordPress into what it’s right this moment.

However the energy and adaptability of WordPress doesn’t even finish right here!

In the event you return and research the above websites in additional element, you will note that among the sections of those college web sites weren’t constructed utilizing WordPress. WordPress is so versatile that it may be put in individually underneath the identical area after which custom-made to show a seamlessly built-in net design that can match an present part constructed utilizing a distinct net platform (e.g. Drupal), whereas retaining its distinctive performance.

To be taught extra about why WordPress is the apparent platform of selection relating to web site flexibility and price concerns, see the articles beneath:

Problem #2: Internet hosting And Web site Administration

As we’ve simply seen, a college web site is a posh digital ecosystem. WordPress makes it simpler to plan, construct, host, handle and preserve an internet site for a big college, school or college of upper training.

Listed below are simply among the the explanation why:

Planning A College Web site

Ideally, you need to absolutely plan out your web site earlier than you start to construct it. This contains all the web site sections, net pages, net design (together with colour schemes, web page structure, web site navigation, typography, and so on.) and different vital areas corresponding to digital administration (i.e. who’s finally liable for taking care of all elements of the net presence, together with domains, software program licenses, and so on.), digital administration (webhosting, web site and content material administration), and digital advertising (content material, promotion, search engine optimization, site visitors, and so on.).

(WordPress permits you to change something in your web site … at any time!)

The open nature and scalability of WordPress signifies that you don’t need to be so rigorous and meticulous together with your web site planning, as you may simply add, change and reconfigure absolutely anything and every thing in your net presence at any time. This lets you construct an efficient net presence that’s conscious of the wants of your customers, as an alternative of constructing a set web site that can require spending extra money and time later to revamp, repair, or enhance.

Constructing A College Web site

Constructing an internet site for a big college with WordPress may also be a versatile, scalable, and modular expertise. WordPress permits for a number of installations of the platform underneath your area utilizing subfolders or addon domains (corresponding to “yourdomain.com/site1”, “yourdomain.com/site2”, or “library.yourdomain.com”, and so on. ), a ‘multisite’ set up (one set up with a number of self-administered websites and an excellent administrator to rule all of them!), or a mixture of each.

For instance, the illustration beneath reveals how 4 separate installations of WordPress underneath the identical area (YourUniversity.com) will be arrange for various makes use of (e.g. fundamental web site, information web site, non-public entry/membership web site, and a multisite set up for separate school web sites):

(A college web site can comprise of a number of WordPress installations for various functions)

Every of the WordPress installations proven within the instance above can assist websites that may develop with limitless subsections, together with WordPress Multisite.

What’s WordPress Multisite?

Multisite is a core WordPress function that permits you to create and run a community of websites on a single WordPress set up. With Multisite put in and activated, every web site can have its personal separate customers and content material editors and will be run for their very own function (e.g. as an internet site or weblog for every college school, college, or division), and every thing is managed by a ‘Tremendous Admin,’ who can create new websites and arrange accounts for particular person customers, and set up, handle, and management which themes and plugins are made accessible to all different websites on the community (word: web site directors can’t set up or make modifications to themes or plugins on their websites, solely the ‘Tremendous Admin’ can do that).

Operating a WordPress Multisite set up, nonetheless, has particular necessities, which is why we advocate utilizing our Enterprise Internet hosting companies if you’re pondering of establishing a college web site with WordPress Multisite.

To be taught extra about WordPress Multisite and why no one does multisite higher than WPMU DEV, see the articles beneath:

Internet hosting A College Web site

Relating to planning, constructing, and operating a big college web site, internet hosting is among the most vital technical concerns, particularly if a community of websites and a number of WordPress installations will likely be utilized in your configuration.

Along with quick, dependable, and safe internet hosting, giant enterprises like universities, schools and faculties of upper training or different giant studying establishments want to have a look at cost-effective enterprise-level devoted servers and 24/7 technical assist.

As WordPress is the world’s hottest and broadly used platform for operating CMS (Content material Administration System) web sites and blogs, many internet hosting firms now provide enterprise-level devoted WordPress internet hosting assist and companies.

Along with having technical WordPress internet hosting experience, the devoted WordPress internet hosting group you select to take care of your web site or community of websites additionally must have experience in areas like WordPress safety, growth, and design.

Site visitors can spike across the first day of lessons or particular occasions, and your web site will likely be crucial on your group ought to the unexpected emergency or pure catastrophe happen. For these causes, wherever you host your web sites, it would be best to guarantee load balancing, auto-scaling, redundancy and extra. It would be best to be sure that at the least a few of your net presence is hosted ‘within the cloud’ or off-campus as effectively.

Right here at WPMU DEV, for instance, we offer absolutely devoted WordPress internet hosting to hundreds of universities, schools, and faculties by means of our distinctive CampusPress resolution.

(CampusPress – An entire internet hosting resolution for universities, schools, and faculties!)

CampusPress has been used since 2005 to energy WordPress Multisite networks, web sites, studying platforms, course blogs, ePortfolios, pupil initiatives and extra for academic establishments, colleges, departments, faculties, districts, and pupil group websites world wide.


To be taught extra about the advantages of internet hosting your college web site with our skilled WordPress internet hosting companies and options, go to the sections beneath:

  • WordPress For Training (CampusPress)– Uncover why hundreds of districts, faculties and universities use CampusPress and why it is best to too!
  • Devoted WordPress Internet hosting – Find out about our distinctive WordPress internet hosting companies, together with assist, options, plans & pricing, enterprise-level internet hosting, safety, optimization and backup automation options, web site migration, entry to our all-inclusive membership plugins, and extra!

Managing & Sustaining A College Web site

Managing a big college web site can appear to be a posh and overwhelming endeavor, however with WordPress, it doesn’t need to be.

WordPress comes with many built-in options that permit even non-technical customers to simply handle and preserve a community of websites. A few of these options embody:

  • A central administration space (known as the ‘WordPress Dashboard’) with easy-to-navigate menus, admin toolbar, and assist sections.
  • One-click and/or automated software program, plugin, and theme set up and updates.
  • Consumer roles and privileges (see subsequent part) with particular person consumer logins.
  • Customizable and configurable menus.
  • Customizable and configurable sidebar, header, and footer layouts.
  • A brand new modular structure known as ‘blocks’.
  • And lots of different automation options.

Talking of automation, relating to managing WordPress websites, we advocate utilizing The Hub, our streamlined web site administration resolution.

(The Hub – Full WordPress Web site Administration Resolution)

The Hub makes managing each side of operating a number of (limitless, really!) WordPress websites extremely straightforward, together with 24/7 entry to assist and unique members-only group, plus entry to a central dashboard the place you may generate reviews, replace core software program, plugins, and themes, monitor web site uptime and efficiency, run safety scans and audits, carry out backups and even enhance your websites…all from one place!

To be taught extra, go to The Hub part.

Problem #three: Web site Administration, Content material Administration & Consumer Coaching

Think about your college web site is all arrange. Your community of websites is now up and operating on a dependable, quick, safe, and optimized internet hosting surroundings and you’ve got the peace of thoughts of realizing that, ought to something go incorrect, a whole devoted group of WordPress specialists is offered 24/7 to assist issues maintain operating easily.


All that might be left to do now’s:

  • Administer your websites,
  • Handle your content material, and
  • Practice customers liable for taking care of the above areas in the best way to use WordPress successfully.

WordPress Web site Administration

Within the earlier part, we touched on among the necessities and built-in options of WordPress for managing only one or a community of websites.

To manage a WordPress web site, nonetheless, additionally requires getting access to particular privileges and permissions that different customers shouldn’t have, like the flexibility to vary login passwords, set up or delete software program, make world modifications that have an effect on web page layouts, navigation menus, net design, and so on.

WordPress addresses this problem with a built-in system of Consumer Roles & Permissions. Each WordPress set up features a basic set of ‘out-of-the-box’ consumer roles with particular privileges and permissions. These embody:

  • Administrator – These customers have entry to all administration options and privileges on the location and might carry out all the mandatory features related to operating the location.
  • Editor – Customers assigned this function can evaluate, edit, approve, schedule, publish, and handle their very own and different customers’ posts and pages.
  • Creator – Authors can publish and handle their very own posts and pages.
  • Contributor – Can write and handle their very own posts, however not publish them.
  • Subscriber – Subscribers can solely handle their profile and entry particular areas of the location (assigned by an administrator) when logged in, that’s not accessible to basic web site guests and non-registered customers. Usually, this function is used for purchasers or registered members of a membership or listing web site. Within the case of a college or school web site, this function can be assigned to customers like college students, workers, or alumni for accessing or modifying non-public/private particulars, however not contributing content material to the location.

Notice that in WordPress multisite installations, the extra consumer function of ‘Tremendous Admin’ is created. Tremendous Admins have entry to all websites on the community (directors can solely entry their very own web site), together with entry to all backend options and might carry out all features.

WordPress Content material Administration

A number of the challenges of managing content material on a WordPress web site will be simply solved utilizing the Roles & Permissions function described above.

Each function beneath ‘Admin’ apart from ‘Subscriber’ is basically concerned in managing content material revealed on a WordPress web site. This makes it straightforward to run a digital publishing division of any measurement, together with an enterprise-level community of websites, such because the one that might be required by a big college or school.

For instance, websites set as much as publish data particularly associated to all the varied colleges, faculties, departments and even pupil organizations, can assign roles and privileges to particular person workers members, lecturers, college students, alumni, and even third-party customers like outsourced publishing departments, digital advertising service suppliers, skilled or freelance content material writers, and so on.

This not solely permits topic specialists to writer or contribute content material to a number of websites offering college websites and blogs with user-generated content material, it additionally permits teams of customers like editors to edit, format and elegance the content material, add hyperlinks to different associated articles, inside pages, or exterior websites, and different sections of the college’s digital ecosystem.

WordPress is made for creating, modifying, and publishing media-rich content material. Customers can kind or paste in textual content and compose, edit, or format content material of any size, insert headings, photos, movies, audio information, tables and different content material components utilizing a visible editor or ‘blocks’, retrieve older auto-saved revisions, arrange the content material into nested pages, assign classes and tags, add excerpts, permit or disallow feedback and replies, password-protect posts or pages or make these non-public, save the content material as a draft or schedule to publish these at a later date, and a lot extra.

Moreover, WordPress makes accessible many plugins which are particularly made for advanced-level content material publishing, together with plugins that permit publishing departments, content material calendars, content material schedules, and content material collaboration to be arrange and run remotely, third-party integrations with numerous content material companies and repair suppliers, and plugins that permit directors to change or customise consumer roles and permissions.

Relating to creating, publishing, and managing content material, subsequently, WordPress offers universities, schools, and enormous academic establishments with limitless prospects and configurations at each degree of the content material creation and publishing course of.

WordPress Consumer Coaching

The final problem of operating a big college web site is coaching customers to successfully handle and use the location. Luckily, WordPress is straightforward to make use of and, due to a big group of enthusiastic WordPress builders and end-users, there’s a entire lot of data accessible on-line on the best way to use WordPress and all its options, together with detailed step-by-step written and video tutorials, podcasts, coaching manuals, guides, suggestions, and documentation.

Get Your College Web site Operating On WordPress

When you’ve got been tasked with establishing an internet site for a college, school, college, studying establishment, and even a big group with a community of websites and a seemingly advanced content material publishing construction, then hopefully this text could have helped you perceive simply among the many the explanation why your web site(s) must be operating on the WordPress platform.

To recap:

  • Over one-third of all web sites world wide are constructed with and powered by WordPress. This contains tens of millions of internet sites and blogs worldwide, and over three.5 million faculties, prestigious universities, schools, and academic or studying establishment websites. Prime universities host their websites on WordPress and we host hundreds of CMS web sites and blogs and studying platforms for faculties, districts, and universities on CampusPress.
  • WordPress is constructed utilizing open supply software program, which makes it utterly scalable, versatile, and customizable. You possibly can construct absolutely anything you may think about with WordPress, and after you have constructed it, you may then simply add new performance, or change something and every thing at any time. We offer many award-winning premium plugins which are presently enhancing the performance of lots of of hundreds of WordPress websites world wide.
  • A number of the fundamental challenges of operating a college web site embody flexibility and price, webhosting and web site administration, web site administration, content material administration, and consumer coaching. Luckily, WordPress comes with many built-in options that may allow you to tackle these challenges. Moreover, lots of of hundreds of WordPress web site house owners select our companies and options (like devoted WordPress internet hosting, web site administration, optimization, safety, advertising, plugins, and assist) to handle and develop their WordPress websites extra successfully.

We hope that you’ve got discovered this data helpful. In case you are new to WordPress and don’t know the place to begin, we advocate establishing a WPMU DEV account and attempting all our companies for FREE for the following 30 days, 100% risk-free! Click on right here to get began now…

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