This is a lengthy practical tutorial on how to build and create a website for creche, schools, colleges and universities using WordPress. The websites will be mobile responsive ( adaptive on mobile phone gadgets with full options), retina built with solid SEO features.
The following are the brief steps and requirements:
- Purchase of a mobile responsive WordPress themes built solely for this niche
- Acquisition of a unique domain name that reflects your brand name and recognition
- A cost effective webhosting shared server from a reputable company ( Bluehost)
- An approximate start up/set up cost USD150-350
- Your due diligence to implement the teachings in this tutorial
The purpose of this tutorial is to teach you so that you will not be dependent on web designers and programmers; you will be able to build sites, manage and run it perfectly. Ready?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Get your acts together
- Use WordPress – Design Concepts and Templates/Themes
- Getting the domain name
- Web hosting – importance and choice of webhosting company
- Installing WordPress software and its total configuration
- Set up instructions- Videos and Pictures ( Real and Main Practice)
- Getting indexed on Google- Search console
- Leveraging on social media
- How to maintain and updates the site ( Tips)
Get your acts together
Web development is not rocket science; but by simple obedience to guidelines and instructions, you will be able to achieve success and get the design right.
Whether you are building or creating the school website by yourself or collecting an outsource task/job to do for the college or university, you should know that it involves lots of hard work and you should be prepared.
Part of your preparations includes but not limited to:
- Getting detailed information about what is needed on the website
- Getting relevant pictures and videos that will be uploaded on the website
- Drawing out your scheduled plans on notepad and drafting them out one by one
- Check whether the pictures you are going to use/upload is good enough, check the pixel; if the pictures are low quality, you need to take good pictures or request for another high resolution pictures. The best option is using the soft copies of the obtained pictures.
- The approximate cost of building and creating a school website for college and universities is about USD300 (excluding your time etc.); with this mindset, know your cost and prepare how to make adequate plans.
- And because we are making use of ready-made WordPress themes/templates, it is important you print out copies of these templates and present it for acceptance before embarking on the site construction.
Use WordPress – Design Concepts and Templates/Themes
WordPress is our solution, WordPress is the easiest and most reliable way to build a site. WordPress is an open source software respected globally for its security and ease of use for non-coders and non-programmers.
I am recommending the use of WordPress themes to use; these themes are mobile responsive and are professionally designed templates. While there are lots of them online, I only recommend that you get premium (yes premium, you pay for it) from the following reputable and respected companies;
The following are specialized and recommended WordPress themes for a Kindergarten, creche and nursery design:
The following are mobile responsive themes for a college or school design:
The following are special themes for a university website design concept or if you are considering an online tutorial website design:
It is advisable to check and view different themes demo to be really sure of the specific one you want, the specific one should meet all the required necessities. when you visit the listed companies above, just search using education keywords e.t.c. and various templates will be displayed to you.
Once you get the perfect one, buy it immediately and download the ZIP file (keep it safe on your computer, I will give you further instructions on the upload, installation and configuration settings as we progress).
Getting the domain name
Now, you need to get the name of that school on the World Wide Web. I am talking about registering that name as a domain name for it to be recognized by all internet protocols (IP).
The domain name is an essential element, symbol and identity of your site online; practical examples of what a domain name means is listed below:
- For Facebook, the domain name is ‘Facebook.com
- For Google, the domain name is ‘google.com’
- For Instagram, the domain name is ‘instagram.com’
- For cnn, the domain name is ‘cnn.com’
In effect, you will need to get a domain name for your school; in some other instances, you may want to get a country specific name extension e.g.
Whatever your preferred option, it is always a good thing to use the name of the school, college, kindergarten, creche or university as the domain name for branding purposes.
However, you need to check if the name is available to use or whether someone else has registered it or using it. To do that, I recommend the use of bluehost domain search form below.
Once you discover that the name has not been registered by someone else, I honestly advise that you register and get it immediately before it is too late.
Once you get the domain name, the next step is to host the domain; webhosting!!
Web hosting – importance and choice of webhosting company
One of the most important aspect of website development is called web hosting. The reason is because many so called web hosts are not reliable and most of the time, you will discover that your site is not online, not loading or is loading very slow; aside from this, most of them have poor customer service.
This makes it important for you to go with a reputable company to host the contents of your site and the domain name.
During the domain name registration, Bluehost hosting company gives you the option of also hosting the domain name with them; I subscribe to this option and also recommend that you host your domain name and site with them because of so many reasons which I highlight below:
- Bluehost hosting company is a reputable, highly recognized company who has been in the business for more than 15 years.
- They have 99.9% uptime record for keeping sites online, they are dependable, reliable and very much secure
- Their hosting packages are affordable and economically friend.
- They have 24 hours customer support service and also offer a refund policy ( should in case you decide to cancel your hosting with them, they refund your money back to you)
- Once you buy the hosting package, they give you the domain name free ( it becomes free and you are able to save and pocket about USD18)
All these options and some that I cannot remember right now makes me to use them, I use them for this blog you are reading, my other websites and all my client’s likewise.
The true test of your seriousness is getting the domain name and webhosting; once you get this, we can then move to the next level of actual practical guidelines!!
Installing WordPress software and its total configuration
Now, that the hosting has been purchased, the process of setting up and activating your website has just begin.
As earlier explained, we are making use of WordPress software to power the site and as such, we are going to install this great software.
To get started, Bluehost hosting company handles all these things without you lifting your finger. You will be asked for your permission to proceed with the installation of WordPress software, easily noticed with their logo (W).
Accept the option and everything starts running in the background for you. The following images below is a brief guideline to help you with the whole process.
The following are brief overview of the steps involved, what you must do, observe and the records to keep:
- New Password Account creation
- Theme selection (ignore the default options presented to you have and move on)
- Select and chose W (the WordPress logo) to start building (this means the software will be installed)
- Schools, colleges, crèche and university fall under the category of a business niche, chose ‘business;
- Select launch and proceed
- At this point, full and complete WordPress installation is achieved; the next page will now be the dashboard
The following points are essential things you need to write down and keep (for future reference, especially anytime you want to login to your WordPress Website account and upload or do anything on the site):
- Note the URL of the site , it is usually in this format: www.nameofsite.com
- WordPress Login address: nameofsite.com/wp-admin/ (do not forget this format because this is what you will be using to access your site and carry out any task e.g. maintenance, publishing contents etc.). Your username for your WordPress login is your email address and sometimes it is just the word ‘admin’, whereas your password will be created by you during the WordPress software installation. Do not forget these two information, they are important. To access your site, just open the browser and type the above login address, then the image below will be displayed to you.
- Bluehost address:
It is important I explain the difference between the login details for Bluehost and also for your WordPress account. They are not the same, I have explained the one for WordPress above, now for the Bluehost. Immediately you purchase the hosting and acquire the domain registration, the username for your Bluehost login becomes your new domain name (for example, yourdomainname.com), the password you created after the hosting payment becomes successful is your password for the login.
So, whenever you want to reach out to Bluehost customer service, you can login to your account at www.bluehost.com and access the entire features.
Now, that you are now inside your WordPress dashboard, we are going to start the full fundamental practical training on the set up processes.
Set up instructions- Videos and Pictures ( Real and Main Practice)
To make and build a website for schools, colleges, crèche and universities; the fundamental step is to get a WordPress themes ( which I earlier explained), get domain name and hosting for it; I will be using the sample of the themes recommended to carry out the set up instructions for your easy understanding:
The following are the set up instructions, explained one after the other;
- Upload and installation of purchased WordPress themes
- Adjusting the header, Footer and Logo ( editing their settings)
- Understanding the Menu and its set up
- FrontPage or Homepage Editing
- Widget Settings and total configurations
- Pages, category set up and creation
- Uploading pictures, videos etc.
- Permalinks Settings
- Understanding WordPress plugins, its installation and configuration
Step 6 (1)
Upload and installation of purchased WordPress themes
We are just beginning, we are going to upload, install and activate the purchased themes you bought specifically for that creche, school, and college or university design.
Watch the video below on how to get this done:
Follow these instructions to do that:
- Login to the admin of your website (remember, it will be something like this; http or https://www.nameofdomain.com/wp-admin/); you will type this on your web browser i.e. safari, internet explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Chrome etc.
- However, if you already logged, it is better, we can still proceed
- Go to appearance (seen by the left hand side), from appearance, locate ‘themes’; from there, click on ‘add new themes’
- On the themes page, just click on the upload box, select the source of where you have kept the ZIP file you downloaded (WordPress file), click on it and upload it
- After 2-10 minutes, it will be uploaded, click on activate. Click save
- Go to your homepage or FrontPage i.e. www.nameofdomain.com, refresh the page and you will see that the new design is reflecting/showing.
However, it will be empty or blank somehow, now is the time for you to start adding necessary elements to build it up.
Demo upload and installation
A faster approach is to upload the demo of the purchased WordPress themes so that your site will look exactly like it. If you want this option, then the instructions below will guide you on how to upload the demos and make it look like the purchased templates.
- You will need to still upload and install the themes normally as explained above.
- Now, go to the purchased downloaded ZIP file, you will unzip it and bring out the contents, what you are looking for is a file called the demo, it usually has a file extension called the .XML. On some themes or templates, it may not be called demo, it may just be .xml; basically, if you see anything like .XML, that is the demo we are interested in.
- On the original demo of the templates, right click and save the pictures ( it is because some pictures may not be imported).
- What we are going to do is to import the demo contents; first step is to install and activate the import plugin.
- To do that, go to left hand side of your dashboard, scroll down till you see tools or settings; you will locate ‘import’, click on it and you will be taken to the import page.
- On that page, scroll down and click on the last option (the import plugin); the plugin will be installed and activated. During the installation, ignore any warning because after the whole exercise, you are going to remove and uninstall this plugin because by that time, we do not need it again.
- After activating the plugin, the plugin will ask for what you want to import; just direct it to import the demo file i.e. the .XML; follow the screen instructions and the entire demo contents will be uploaded within 2-10 minutes.
- However, if the pictures and photos are not imported/uploaded, you will do it by yourself manually. How to upload videos, photos and pictures is discussed further below as you continue with this tutorial.
I recommend you watch the video below on how to upload and install demo.
Step 6 (2)
Adjusting the header, Footer and Logo (editing their settings)
After uploading either the demo or the themes, you will need to adjust and edit the header and the footer to reflect the school elements.
The header is the uppermost part of the website as shown below:
You can remove some elements you do not want from the header by making use of:
- Instructions from the WordPress dashboard ( theme options)
- The widget page ( explanation on use of widgets is below)
Depending on the type of themes you bought, some of them may have the instructions to do anything right on the dashboard. If that is the case, just look thoroughly at the dashboard and look out for any link that will show you the settings instructions ( i.e. theme options).
However, most of them keep all editing details inside the widget settings page. Just check the widgets (under appearance) and you can carry out the needed task.
The most important element of the header is the Menu, and the explanation on the Menu is discussed below. The image below is what a menu looks like.
The same concept applies to the footer; the footer is the bottom part of the site and in most cases, it contains brief information and details about the site, mostly notable pages, categories and other details.
To edit the footer, just follow the same guidelines I mention about the header.
The logo is an important element in the header. It is of necessity to have your own brand logo. To remove the default logo or replace with yours, you will need to know where to get the logo settings.
It is quite simple: check the same dashboard settings and/or the widget settings. Full details about the size and dimension will be specifically mentioned and from there, you can upload your own logo.
Step 6 (3)
Understanding the Menu and its set up
The menu is a very important element of the header as earlier mentioned. It is important because it is on the Menu you place all the navigation links and placement.
A visit to a professionally designed website shows a matured, high converting menu contents. Show me the menu of any site and I can easily predict whether the site is a successful one or not!!
Your menu contains important links/navigation of pages present on the site; examples of known pages includes:
- About page (contains information about the school, crèche, college etc.)
- About Proprietor/Owner (this is optional)
- Faculties / Classrooms (etc.)
- Our Facilities page
- Events Calendar
- Contact us
To have an idea of what you need to put on the menu, I suggest you spy on your competitor and check out their own menu!! Again, if you uploaded the demo, some of these pages would have been published, so check carefully.
The menu has two parts:
The image below is the menu settings page:
To set up a menu, I recommend you watch the video below;
If you need help and assistance, kindly reach out to me.
Step 6 (4)
FrontPage or Homepage Editing
This is the FrontPage (Home) of the sample design we are using for this tutorial:
Have a poorly designed FrontPage and you will have the highest bounce rate and zero success!!
Your FrontPage/home is the gateway to your website; a false or poor impression either kills the moral of the visitors and your expected positive conversion because first impression matters a lot.
To change the contents or edit the contents of the FrontPage is possible, just pay attention to the guidelines below;
- Most themes have a dedicated homepage/FrontPage settings link on the dashboard I it is mostly called theme options or panel), just look and search very well for it.
- On some, the FrontPage can be edited directly from the homepage itself; you will see the edit icon link on the FrontPage, click on it and you will be able to edit or even delete.
- However, most of them packages the entire setting and editing guidelines inside the widget settings ( explained below). For example, this theme I am using for this blog you are reading packages all editing guidelines inside the widgets.
- Your task should be to check all these places and look for the editing link.
- If you want to change the pictures or photographs on the FrontPage, you should know that you will first of all upload the pictures in the media settings and from there, you can then insert it wherever you want. To upload pictures and videos, you will see the guidelines as you continue reading.
Step 6 (5)
Widget Settings and total configurations
The widget enables you to carry out multifunctional editing and adjustment task; virtually everything under the practical set up guidelines have one thing or the other to do with the widget settings.
With the widgets, you can;
- Set up the sidebars of the site
- You can set up the social media sharing buttons
- You can set up the social media network joining links/icon
- Edit the header, footer and the logo
- Adjust and set up the homepage
- The list is endless (it depends on your creativity)
The widget is important because some plugins (WordPress plugins) you are going to install can only be used unless you come to the widgets!!
Step 6 (6)
Pages, category set up and creation
All elements on the site are as a result of the pages. You will need to create page(s); for example, the earlier mentioned important pages needs to be created.
To create a page is very easy, follow the instructions below:
- From your WordPress dashboard, locate ‘pages’; and from there, click on ‘Add new page’
- On the new page, give it a title and then publish it.
However, caution must be taken into consideration; if you have imported and uploaded the demo from the original WordPress themes, it means some pages have been automatically created and published for you.
What you will do is to check and verify the pages you have so that you are not going to publish the same type of page (avoiding duplicate contents problem).
To check, view the page settings list, as seen in the image above.
In that case, for example, if the ‘About’ page has already being published, just click on the page, click on the edit link and replace the contents inside with your own contents, then publish it again.
Step 6 (7)
Category Set up
The category is important to publish because of hierarchy and order of arrangement of pages and posts on the site.
It is much more important to set up because of news updates, blog post publications etc. For example, you can create a category and call it news; you can create another category and call it events ( for the school calendar).
So whenever you want to publish any posts on news or events, you will publish them under that particular category.
To create a category, the following steps should be followed:
- From your dashboard, locate category and click on it; create new one, give it a title e.g. news and click on save.
Follow the above step for all types of category you want to create.
Step 6 (8)
Uploading pictures, videos etc.
To upload pictures, photographs and videos is not difficult, follow the steps below:
- Click on media i.e from the dashboard ( left hand side of the dashboard)
- Click on add new media
- Click on upload, locate the source of the file e.g. video or image’
- Upload it and within 4 minutes, the file will have been uploaded
This is the basic fundamental approach; however, imagine that you are in a page or post, and you want to upload a video or picture inside that page or post; to do that, follow the guidelines below.
- Make sure you are already inside a page or post you want to publish or have already published (in that case, it should be in edited mode)
Follow the image below to get an understanding on how to get this done perfectly.
Step 6 (9)
This is technical to define, however, what you should know is that the permalinks structure is of high importance when it comes to search engine optimization issues.
The standard best practice for such niche website we are building i.e. the school or education site is to change the default settings to a name based settings.
The guidelines and images below will be of help.
- From your dashboard, locate ‘settings’
- Under settings, you will see Permalink link, click on it
- On the permalinks setting page, just chose ‘name based permalink URL structure’
- Save and exit the page
Step 6 (10)
Understanding WordPress plugins, its installation and configuration
Please, it is a good thing I remind you that we are making use of WordPress software in building this particular crèche or school website.
One of the most fundamental and building block of what makes WordPress so powerful, versatile, efficient and reliable is what is called WordPress plugins.
WordPress plugins enables a WordPress powered website to run and function efficiently; WordPress plugins turns a non-programing fellow to a super human because you do not have to learn and know about codes. WordPress plugins does super functions of what a programming codes is supposed to do.
The following basic plugins are important to be installed and activated on your new website immediately.
- Yoast SEO plugin
- W3 Total Cache
- Akismet Plugin
- Jetpack plugin- helps you on social media and contact form (needed for your contact page).
- Sumo plugin etc.
If you want students to register on the site, make purchase of items, make payment for school fees; there are plugins for all these task. The following plugins are the few ones I can remember right now:
- Contact Form 7 ( dont worry about this, the JetPack plugin handles that)
- Plugins to help people register : https://wordpress.org/plugins/custom-registration-form-builder-with-submission-manager/
- Easy Digital Download Plugin: (helps you to sell eCopies of items including eBook, etc.); helps you in collection of school fees and even you issue receipts etc.
Basically, if you need any function on your site, there are plugins that will handle the task. You just have to search for such a plugin. To do that, go to www.wordpress.org/ , under plugins, search for the particular plugin using a keyword e.g. school fees payment, registration etc.
Now, the next step is on how to install and activate a plugin, I recommend you study the image above and video below:
Getting indexed on Google- Search console
If you follow all the above guidelines, your website should be complete by now, but if not, you can reach out to me, I will be glad to be of help.
Now, one of the most important step is to reach out to the search engines because without them, nobody will know about your new college or university website.
The first and most powerful search engine we are going to focus on is Google, and you will need to get on board, the Google search console, let us proceed.
The portal to get access to Google’s index machine and crawl bot is the Google search console. To get on it and have your new site indexed, follow the steps below:
- Get a brand new Gmail account (it is free, so go and get one at www.gmail.com)
- Once you have it, go to Google search console at ( https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home)
- Login with the new Gmail email address
- Once there, follow the instructions, submit your site and get the site verified
The process and act of getting your site verified in the search console is a little bit long to explain here, I however recommend you watch the video below to understand the process.
- Once your site is verified, you will need to submit the sitemap of your site on it. You will create your sitemap from the Yoast SEO plugin you earlier installed.
- Go to the Yoast SEO (present on the left hand side of the board); inside it, you will see the sitemap link, click on it and just add or activate the sitemap.
- Submit the sitemap on Google search console and also make use of the fetch as features to quickly get your site indexed.
Leveraging on social media
You need to get the site on social media networks. If the creche, school, college or university already has a social media account, then just have their presence on the site with people to follow and like them. The Sumo plugin I earlier mentioned will help you achieve this task (you will adjust it from the settings on the widget and also from the sumo settings on the dashboard itself).
These are some of the details you need to know about this project from the beginning. If they don’t have any, follow the steps below:
- Go to Facebook, twitter and Instagram and open a free account for them one by one
- Upload relevant profile picture and background photographs ( of the school and college etc.)
- Get them to make the account active
How to maintain and updates the site ( Tips)
Once you set up a WordPress powered website, you do not have to worry yourself again. The only thing you will be doing (maybe once or twice every month) is to check and update the following:
- WordPress plugins
- WordPress themes
So, once or twice per month, try and be login in and checking on the site; once you login, you will see notification to update relevant plugins and themes, just click and approve the updates.
This tutorial on how to build and create a education website for kindergarten, schools, college or university is very much detailed. I hope you are able to find this resource and guidelines helpful.
If you need help or support, do reach out to me. Thanks.