If you are an educator or web designer, chances are that you have seen some awful school websites out there. Unfortunately it is relatively common to see a school site that looks like it has not been updated since the early 2000’s; cluttered with information and needing Adobe Flash Player to show some outdated video or graphic. Fortunately it is not too hard to design a new website on your own; there are many platforms that allow you to do a quick drag and drop style web page for relatively cheap. Unfortunately these drag and drop platforms are not the best to use if you want an interactive and customizable site; these websites tend to be slow loading and in the end you do not even end up owning your own website. As luck would have it, there is a theme for WordPress that can help you with all of your problems; Divi by Elegant Themes! Divi lets you customize your webpage with a wide variety of modules and even has a large selection of premade layouts you can choose from if you’re finding yourself in a creative roadblock. Here are a few quick tips on building your schools new WordPress homepage with Divi.
First things first, be mindful of clutter, especially if you are redesigning an existing web page. Nothing screams unprofessional on a website more than a homepage that is cluttered and disorganized with random and unuseful information. No matter how much you may have personally enjoyed the graduating eighth grade class of 2003, you need to remove their pictures from your homepage; it is time to move on. You need to think of your layout, and who your audience is; more than likely the vast majority of your visitors are going to be parents of existing students, and hopefully parents of prospective students. What do parents want to see? Your homepage does not need to have all of this information right up front, but it should feature several important topics with links leading to information on the rest.
Next you should turn your attention to the images on your homepage, especially your welcoming image. The welcoming image should be something that lets your visitor know they have reached the correct page. Typically images used here are pictures of the school building itself, or perhaps a picture of some of the students. You need to think of the quality of all the images on your website, but this is especially true of your welcoming image as it is a large image, and a low quality image will show up pixelated and blurry. If your school does not have the budget to hire a professional photographer use the High Definition Resolution (HDR) setting on your smartphone, nearly all modern iPhones and Androids have this setting or something similar.
Keep your menu bar simple. We cannot stress this enough, a menu item does not need to be created for every event that goes on at your school. If your website currently has a section dedicated to navigating the menu bar, you are doing it wrong. The menu, like the homepage, should be simple; 5 to 10 menu items is more than enough for almost any website. Of course every menu item can have several submenus, but the primary menu bar should be short and succinct.
Divi is a great tool to use when designing your school’s website whether you use it for one of it’s hundreds of premade layouts, or use it to design a web page on your own. Making updates is very simple, which is lucky as a school should be updating their website fairly often. Anyone with even minimal web design skills should be able to handle regular updates using Divi.