The Importance of a Specialized K-12 School Website Provider
When exploring school website providers, it’s easy to be tempted by elaborate designs or - on the other end of the spectrum - free services. However, website providers that don’t specialize in education may be missing a lot of the tools that really make a difference on the back end. Your school or district deserves a site that’s tailored to your unique needs and considerations.
So, what’re the benefits of selecting a website provider that specializes in K-12 education?
One of the main reasons to choose a specialized K-12 website provider is simple: schools need multiple users to be able to access and make changes to the website at the same time. Whether you’re an athletic director looking to add a new game to the events calendar or you’re a teacher looking to upload an assignment to your class page, your staff needs to be able to log on to the site at the same time.
This may sound like common sense, but many free website providers only offer one login credential for your entire staff to use. This means users will be kicked offline when other users attempt to log in. In other words, it makes it incredibly difficult to share responsibilities because you can’t have more than one person update the website at the same time.
With almost every specialized K-12 website provider, your users can make edits and updates at the same time as other users!
|Another reason to choose a niche school provider is teacher pages. Your standard website provider will most likely let you create specific pages, but they won’t be tailored to your teachers. A specialized provider will let users manage their own pages - with features designed with teachers in mind.
Teacher pages take your normal pages a step further by allowing visitors to subscribe to a specific page - or in this case, a specific class. That way, parents can stay up-to-date on what assignments their children need to complete and other class-specific information. Additionally, teacher pages often have the teacher’s contact information and an email portal for contacting.
Secure, Cloud-Based Hosting with Open Source Platform
One of the main reasons to avoid free providers in general is that many do not provide a secure platform. A secure site encrypts communications between the server and the person visiting the website. In other words, a secure site helps protect your passwords and keep important information confidential.
Having a secure helps the most with search placement and SEO, increasing website traffic. A secure site is also necessary if you plan on accepting payments and transactions through the platform. This way, the encryption helps keep credit information safe.
Mater Dei High School is a great example of how a school website provider can really bring a school’s vision and spirit to life on the website. We love how their logo is faded in the background of the header and how all of their quick links are red to match school colors!
Google, Microsoft, and SIS Integration
While free or non-niche providers, you may still get a fresh design, however navigation on the backend can be intricate and complex. A specialized K-12 provider understands the features and tools that schools need to save time and money.
The best niche providers take ease of use one step further by offering integrations with Google Classroom, Office 365, and student information systems (SIS). These integrations make updating calendars and sending personalized notifications a whole lot easier. By consolidating tools and removing the need for entering data you already have manually, a K-12 website provider knows which integrations will save schools the most time.
Regardless of what industry you work in, you’ve probably heard of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA was created to address accessibility concerns offline, with additional guidelines added to address digital concerns as well.
As a school, one of the last things you want is to receive a complaint from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) that your school or district’s website isn’t accessible to everyone. For schools that receive any type of government funding, this is especially important and a niche provider understands that.
A specialized K-12 website provider can offer built-in tools for alternative text, color contrast, closed captions, and even a “skip to main content” option. With over 41 million Americans having some sort of impairment, it’s crucial that your school or district’s website can be accessed by your entire education community.
As an added bonus, many niche providers have partnered with accessibility audit companies that help providers take a more proactive approach to removing access barriers.
Tech Support, Training, & Consultations
Possibly the biggest reason to consider a niche K-12 provider is the consultative training and support you’ll get. Although many website providers may offer technical support, the support specialists may not be familiar with offering advice that pertains to schools and districts.
With a specialized provider, you will almost always receive some type of onboard training or consultation from experts who understand the type of features that education communities need to succeed. Whether it’s advice or best practices, these experts have most likely spoken with other educators in the past and can offer some great suggestions.
Ready to upgrade your school or district’s website? Our K-12 experts here at Edlio are happy to give you a tour of our niche tools!