If you’re running an educational institution, you need to meet your potential students where they’re active. And in most cases – that means you need an Internet presence. No matter if you’re part of a college, trade school, or any other educational entity, it’s important to know that creating a WordPress educational website is critical to your school’s growth.
And we know…setting up an entire educational website may sound complicated, but WordPress enables you to do it with relative ease. And the short time spent setting up your WordPress educational website will pay dividends when you’re able to attract more students and provide them with convenient learning opportunities.
In this article, we’ll discuss what makes an awesome WordPress educational website, why you need one, and how to set one up in just a couple of steps. Let’s get our learning caps on!
What makes an outstanding educational website (and why you need one)
Pretty much every educational institution needs a website of its own. An excellent educational site will enable you to promote your organization’s education offerings to potential students, make sure critical information on courses and schedules is available, provide information on the qualifications of your faculty, and even open up alternative learning opportunities such as online courses.
That last point is where things get tricky, though. Setting up a platform for online learning is a little bit more complicated than creating a regular old website. But here’s why it’s still worth the effort:
- Added publicity. Plenty of top schools offer online courses, and they’re often a hit with the public.
- Increased learning opportunities. Some people simply don’t have the time to attend regular classes, or they live too far away. Online courses enable you to target these individuals and help them further their education on their own terms.
With that in mind, let’s check out how WordPress can help you set up an educational website that hits all the above targets. If you’re not planning to create online courses, you might not need every tool we feature. That’s totally fine! Pick and choose as needed to get the functionality that’s perfect for your site.
How to set up a WordPress educational website
When it comes to hosting, the solution that we always recommend is SiteGround. It’s the top-rated hosting company according to our survey, and you can get a sensible hosting solution for $3.95 / month. Plus, if you don’t want to have to install WordPress yourself, they can take care of that for you as well.
Once that’s done, you’re ready to customize your site as you see fit. In this case, we’ll focus on finding the right theme for your educational website and locating plugins that will enable you to build online courses.
Step 1: Find the perfect educational theme
The right educational WordPress theme should have key features that enable you to set up complex websites with relative ease. When creating an educational site on WordPress, we recommend going with a theme designed with learning in mind, since it’ll be more likely to include the options your site requires.
Take a look at Education, for example. This theme offers you a powerful framework for building an educational website. It includes templates for all the pages you might need, and even has some advanced features:
This aptly-named WordPress theme is a newcomer, but it packs a ton of useful features for educational sites that are focused on online courses, such as:
- Individual pages for each teacher and course
- Support for custom events
- Integration with WooCommerce for easier course and payment management
- Testimonial and gallery sections
- Fully-functional contact forms
- Contact information featured in your footer and a secondary navigation bar
Naturally, Education isn’t the only top-notch theme in the field of online learning, but it’s one of our favorite options. If you’re not sold on its features or design, however, check out a few more WordPress educational themes and learn how to spot the best ones yourself.
Step 2: Pick the right plugin to set up online courses
As we mentioned earlier, you may want to offer online courses on your WordPress educational website. If that’s the case, any roundup of educational plugins can provide you with inspiration. However, in this article, we want to focus down on two of the best plugin options – one free, and one premium.
1. CoursePress Pro (Premium)
CoursePress Pro is part of the suite of plugins that comes with a WPMU DEV membership. This powerful tool enables you to set up courses for your WordPress educational website and even charge for admission.
In a nutshell, with CoursePress Pro you can:
- Set up online courses
- Charge for your courses using up to 17 different payment processors
- Add interactive learning features, including quizzes
- Enable students to submit coursework for review
- Integrate WooCommerce
To put it simply, CoursePress Pro is one of the best options around if you’re looking to set up paid online courses. Furthermore, you get access to WPMU DEV’s reliable support team, which is well worth the price of admission.
2. LearnPress (Free)
If you’re looking for a budget option that still delivers, LearnPress is the way to go. This plugin enables you to set up a robust system that supports online courses and student management.
Let’s check out some of its principal features and see how it compares to our previous pick. With LearnPress you can:
- Create and manage multiple online courses
- Charge for admission through multiple billing methods
- Communicate with and manage your student body
- Add more features through add-ons (mostly premium options)
- Integrate WooCommerce
It’s clear that either of these plugins offers more than enough to get the job done. So, if you’re happy with this tool’s default set of features, then by all means go for it! The nice thing about LearnPress is that it enables you to set up a WordPress educational website on a budget, then extend the plugin’s capabilities through extensions down the line.
If you’re part of an educational institution that doesn’t yet have an online presence, taking that first step can be daunting. However, there are plenty of platforms and tools that can make the process simpler. And as you might’ve figured out, we think WordPress is the best one for smaller institutions.
The first thing you need to do is find the right educational theme for your WordPress site. Then it’s just a matter of choosing the best tool to add the features you need. There are plenty of options out there, but we’d suggest starting with either CoursePress Pro or LearnPress if you want to set up online courses.
Do you have any questions about how to set up a WordPress educational website? Ask away in the comments section below!
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