A school website has many functions: it serves as the online portal to your school, it provides for school accountability and it acts as a venue for student and teacher achievement. If you work at a private school, the school website can assist you in recruiting new students. If you work at a public school, the website is one form of communication with parents and the community. Due to the number of online, free and commercial tools for website creation, it is now relatively easy to create a school website.
Ask yourself what the purpose of the school website will be. Talk to the school administration, form a website committee, and ask for suggestions in a faculty meeting. The more members of the school community that are involved in the initial stage, the easier and more rewarding your work will be in the long run. Decide who will be ultimately responsible for the creation and maintenance of the website.
Look at other school websites to get an idea as to what information is generally available on a school website. Look at design choices. Will you have drop-down menus? Will you use Flash to animate some parts of your site? Will you have video or podcasts on the site? Use the school color scheme. List all of the design elements that you want to add to the site.
Decide on the content: school documents, staff photos, student work, homework schedules, school calendar, the student/parent handbook, the curriculum and examples of student work are just a few of the many aspects of your school that you can put on the website. Make a list of content items for easy reference later.
Find a Web host. Your district may provide this service; if not, there are many inexpensive, commercial Web hosts available. Check on the technical services provided by the host. Find out about: bandwidth, storage size, special features like Apache, support services, and uploading protocols. Create a domain name and lock it. Many unscrupulous companies hijack school websites. If you lock your domain name, you'll be protected. Web hosts generally offer free domain names to new clients.
Choose the software you will use to create and maintain your site. You will need Web editing software to create the Web page and image editing software to process the images that you will put on the page. Some Web hosts offer free software for creating a website, as well as website templates for use in quickly getting your site started. If your Web host does not provide software, find an easy to use Web editor; you can get more sophisticated later, right now you just want to get started. Once you have created your site, you will probably need to upload it with FTP (File Transfer Protocol). You can find free FTP programs on the Internet.
Create your home page with the web editor. A WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor works just like a word processing program. Write the text: keep your writing simple and direct. Place images interspersed with the text. Save the document as a web page.
Build other pages. If you have links on the home page to every grade and class in your school, create pages for those classes. Upload your site to the Web and send out those happy birth announcements to friends and colleagues.