An introduction to WordPress in Greater Ed.

Faculty and college web sites are about as difficult of an internet design and growth mission as you can 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 alternate of data for school and workers, and promote fundraising and donation campaigns to alumni and the group at massive.

As you’ll be able to 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 completely different segments of what finally should function as a unified digital presence, can change into very advanced and intensely time-consuming.

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

WordPress powers over 30% of all web sites worldwide. In truth, extra web sites in the present day run on WordPress than some other platform. In response to WordPress.org, virtually 3.5 million faculties, universities, schools, and academic or studying establishment websites worldwide are powered by WordPress. This contains websites at many prestigious universities like Harvard Regulation Faculty, Cornell College, MIT, Duke, Vanderbilt College, the College of Berlin, Georgetown College, the College of Texas, and virtually 50,000 different establishments for larger schooling worldwide.

Harvard Law School website - powered by WordPress!
(Similar to Harvard Regulation Faculty, many college web sites are actually powered by WordPress!)

To study extra about a few of the high universities that use WordPress for his or her web sites, see this text:

  • How The Prime 50 Universities In The World Are All Utilizing WordPress

WordPress supplies many options that make it the perfect platform for working 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 resembling 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 isn’t solely a super platform for internet builders to construct amazing-looking, purposeful 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 info up to date.

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

Having stated all this, nevertheless, there are a selection of challenges that each one massive universities, schools, and academic or larger studying institutes face in the case of establishing and working an efficient internet presence. We tackle these challenges under and supply cost-effective options and hyperlinks to helpful assets and extra info that can assist you perceive and navigate via these challenges, and even give you a sound blueprint and technique for constructing, rising, and managing an internet presence for a big college, school, or instructional group.

And if you happen to favor, watch a video overview of this submit right here!

Problem #1: Flexibility & Price

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

A university website is a complex digital ecosystem.
(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 info organically with completely different consumer teams (e.g. workers, school, alumni, and college students), with completely different sections serving completely different functions and performing completely different features. And every of those sections and features wants administration, administration, and particular entry privileges.

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

Fastened Content material vs. Dynamic Content material Sections

Sections like an ‘About Us’ web page are inclined to largely comprise ‘mounted’ info that’s unlikely to alter – maybe with updates solely now and again. In distinction, most college departments have to often publish and replace ‘dynamic’ content material in areas like information, analysis findings, program deadlines, and so forth.

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

Utilizing the Harvard Regulation Faculty web site for instance, the location’s ‘About Us’ web page includes of an internet web page that has largely mounted content material…

Harvard Law School website - About Us page
(Many of the info on this web page isn’t going to alter that usually!)

As compared, the ‘Harvard Regulation Right now’ part shows dynamic information articles, that are printed regularly and administered individually by completely different college colleges, departments, or particular person lecturers, functioning, subsequently, extra like a ‘weblog’ …

Harvard Law Today - Featured news WordPress blog
(This part of the college web site shows dynamic content material, like a weblog!)

Info Supply vs Consumer Engagement Websites

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

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

Harvard Law School website - events 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…

Harvard Law School Curriculum Page
(Supply: https://hls.harvard.edu/teachers/curriculum)

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

  • College or pupil directories
  • Scholar dialogue boards and information bulletins
  • Personal entry to varieties, 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 forth.

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

Setting up a network of modular and customizable sections = the smart, effective & dynamic way to build and manage a university website!
(Establishing a community of modular and customizable sections = the sensible, 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 purposeful 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 flexibleness and cost-effectiveness of WordPress additionally lengthen to areas like template design and web site navigation.

WordPress makes use of a singular ‘theme-based’ method to internet design, which permits customers to alter your complete feel and look of an internet site with out affecting the underlying content material and whereas preserving all of its performance, like enhancements, menus, navigation sections, inner and exterior hyperlinks, and so forth.

Planning and designing an internet site for a college utilizing WordPress, then, is form of like having shapeshifting talents. WordPress provides you the liberty to start out wherever you’re and construct no matter you want inside your funds, add new sections everytime you want these as issues develop and evolve, after which modify and customise something and the whole lot, anytime it is advisable to, with out shedding any of the inner content material, linking, or navigational structure.

One of the best ways to know what a WordPress theme is and the way it behaves is to think about a ‘pores and skin’ masking each factor of the web site that’s seen to customers. You may change a WordPress theme in a few clicks and your complete web site’s look and format might be utterly remodeled with out affecting the organs, muscle tissue, and bones of the organism inside.

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

This flexibility and flexibility makes WordPress probably the most highly effective and cost-effective internet 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 increase any and each facet of the location as your group’s wants develop and evolve.

For instance, if we evaluate completely different college web sites constructed utilizing WordPress, you’ll rapidly understand after only a few websites how versatile and cost-effective the WordPress platform actually is.

We’ve regarded briefly on the Harvard Regulation Faculty web site. Let’s distinction the HLS website with another college web sites, like Boston College’s admissions web site…
Boston University Admissions website - powered by WordPress!

Or the Nicholls State College web site…
Nicholls State University website - powered by WordPress!

Or, the College of Manitoba Information website…

University of Manitoba News site - powered by WordPress!
As you’ll be able to see, no two web sites powered by WordPress have to look alike utilizing the identical template, or behave in the identical manner utilizing the identical restricted purposes or purposeful parts.

One of many advantages of being an open-source program is that 1000’s of extremely expert skilled builders (just like the crew right here at WPMU DEV) have helped to construct WordPress into what it’s in the present day.

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

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

To study extra about why WordPress is the plain platform of selection in the case of web site flexibility and price concerns, see the articles under:

  • Democratizing Schooling With WordPress
  • 29 Methods WordPress Is Taking Over Universities and Greater Ed
  • WordPress For Universities And Greater Ed

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 keep an internet site for a big college, school or faculty of upper schooling.

Listed below are simply a few of the the reason why:

Planning A College Web site

Ideally, you wish to totally plan out your web site earlier than you start to construct it. This contains all the web site sections, internet pages, internet design (together with colour schemes, web page format, website navigation, typography, and so forth.) and different necessary areas resembling digital administration (i.e. who’s finally accountable for taking care of all features of the online presence, together with domains, software program licenses, and so forth.), digital administration (webhosting, web site and content material administration), and digital advertising and marketing (content material, promotion, search engine optimization, site visitors, and so forth.).

WordPress lets you change anything on your website ... at any time!)
(WordPress allows you to change something in your web site … at any time!)

The open nature and scalability of WordPress signifies that you don’t should be so rigorous and meticulous along with your web site planning, as you’ll be able to simply add, change and reconfigure absolutely anything and the whole lot in your internet presence at any time. This lets you construct an efficient internet presence that’s aware of the wants of your customers, as a substitute of constructing a set web site that can require spending further money and time later to revamp, repair, or enhance.

Constructing A College Web site

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

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

A university website can comprise of multiple WordPress installations for different purposes
(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 increase 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 website can have its personal separate customers and content material editors and could be run for their very own objective (e.g. as an internet site or weblog for every college school, faculty, or division), and the whole lot 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 (notice: website directors can’t set up or make adjustments to themes or plugins on their websites, solely the ‘Tremendous Admin’ can do that).

Working a WordPress Multisite set up, nevertheless, has particular necessities, which is why we suggest utilizing our Enterprise Internet hosting companies in case you are considering of establishing a college web site with WordPress Multisite.

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

  • The Final Information To WordPress Multisite
  • WPMU DEV WordPress Multisite

Internet hosting A College Web site

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

Along with quick, dependable, and safe internet hosting, massive enterprises like universities, schools and faculties of upper schooling or different massive studying establishments want to take 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 working CMS (Content material Administration System) web sites and blogs, many internet hosting corporations now supply enterprise-level devoted WordPress internet hosting assist and companies.

Along with having technical WordPress internet hosting experience, the devoted WordPress internet hosting crew you select to take care of your website 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 might be essential in 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. You’ll want to make sure that not less than a few of your internet presence is hosted ‘within the cloud’ or off-campus as properly.

Right here at WPMU DEV, for instance, we offer totally devoted WordPress internet hosting to 1000’s of universities, schools, and faculties via our distinctive CampusPress answer.

CampusPress - A complete hosting solution for universities, colleges, and schools!
(CampusPress – A whole internet hosting answer 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 instructional establishments, colleges, departments, faculties, districts, and pupil group websites around the globe.
To study extra about the advantages of internet hosting your college website with our professional WordPress internet hosting companies and options, go to the sections under:

  • WordPress For Schooling (CampusPress)– Uncover why 1000’s of districts, faculties and universities use CampusPress and why you must 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, website 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 enterprise, however with WordPress, it doesn’t should be.

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

  • 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, in the case of managing WordPress websites, we suggest utilizing The Hub, our streamlined website administration answer.

The Hub - Complete WordPress Site Management Solution
(The Hub – Full WordPress Web site Administration Answer)

The Hub makes managing each facet of working 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’ll be able to generate reviews, replace core software program, plugins, and themes, monitor website uptime and efficiency, run safety scans and audits, carry out backups and even enhance your websites…all from one place!

To study extra, go to The Hub part.

Problem #3: 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 working 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 improper, a complete devoted crew of WordPress consultants is obtainable 24/7 to assist issues maintain working easily.
All that may be left to do now could be:

  • Administer your websites,
  • Handle your content material, and
  • Prepare customers accountable for taking care of the above areas in how one can use WordPress successfully.

WordPress Site Administration, Content Management & User Training

WordPress Web site Administration

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

To manage a WordPress web site, nevertheless, additionally requires accessing particular privileges and permissions that different customers shouldn’t have, like the flexibility to alter login passwords, set up or delete software program, make international adjustments that have an effect on web page layouts, navigation menus, internet design, and so forth.

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

  • Administrator – These customers have entry to all administration options and privileges on the location and might carry out all the mandatory features related to working the location.
  • Editor – Customers assigned this position can evaluation, 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 isn’t accessible to common website guests and non-registered customers. Sometimes, this position is used for patrons or registered members of a membership or listing website. Within the case of a college or school web site, this position could be assigned to customers like college students, workers, or alumni for accessing or enhancing non-public/private particulars, however not contributing content material to the location.

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

WordPress Content material Administration

Among the challenges of managing content material on a WordPress website could be simply solved utilizing the Roles & Permissions function described above.

Each position under ‘Admin’ apart from ‘Subscriber’ is basically concerned in managing content material printed on a WordPress website. 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 may be required by a big college or school.

For instance, websites set as much as publish info 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 and marketing service suppliers, skilled or freelance content material writers, and so forth.

This not solely permits topic consultants 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, inner pages, or exterior websites, and different sections of the college’s digital ecosystem.

WordPress is made for creating, enhancing, 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 parts utilizing a visible editor or ‘blocks’, retrieve older auto-saved revisions, set up 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 might be 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 supplies universities, schools, and enormous instructional establishments with limitless prospects and configurations at each stage of the content material creation and publishing course of.

WordPress Consumer Coaching

The final problem of working a big college web site is coaching customers to successfully handle and use the location. Fortuitously, 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 how one can 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 Working On WordPress

When you’ve got been tasked with establishing an internet site for a college, school, faculty, studying establishment, and even a big group with a community of websites and a seemingly advanced content material publishing construction, then hopefully this text can have helped you perceive simply a few of the many the reason why your website(s) ought to be working on the WordPress platform.

To recap:

  • Over one-third of all web sites around the globe are constructed with and powered by WordPress. This contains thousands and thousands of internet sites and blogs worldwide, and over 3.5 million faculties, prestigious universities, schools, and academic or studying establishment websites. Prime universities host their websites on WordPress and we host 1000’s 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 may construct absolutely anything you’ll be able to think about with WordPress, and after you have constructed it, you’ll be able to then simply add new performance, or change something and the whole lot at any time. We offer many award-winning premium plugins which might be presently enhancing the performance of lots of of 1000’s of WordPress websites around the globe.
  • Among the important challenges of working a college web site embrace flexibility and price, webhosting and website administration, website administration, content material administration, and consumer coaching. Fortuitously, WordPress comes with many built-in options that may assist you tackle these challenges. Moreover, lots of of 1000’s of WordPress website house owners select our companies and options (like devoted WordPress internet hosting, website administration, optimization, safety, advertising and marketing, plugins, and assist) to handle and develop their WordPress websites extra successfully.

We hope that you’ve discovered this info helpful. In case you are new to WordPress and don’t know the place to start out, we suggest 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…