Why is WordPress an excellent CMS for schools?

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Why we use WordPress

We use technology to communicate ideas but we also believe that the software we use should not dictate the outcome of a project. Our approach is to mix the best of a mature, stable platform – WordPress – with our own layer of personalisation on top on a project-by-project basis. We’ve trialled many systems over the years and found WordPress gives us the freedom to fully control the front-end of the website we produce whilst offering a highly usable back-end system.

Open source software

Although the idea of a bespoke CMS can seem like a great option, there are several considerations to make and drawbacks to weigh up. What if the relationship with the agency breaks down? How quickly will a security issue be patched? How much will it cost to add new features that are not part of the CMS? How would you migrate content to a new platform if you are not happy with the current CMS? Will you be tied into a contract or licence?

Only the developers who created a proprietary piece of software can work on that project. Conversely, by choosing open source software, a website becomes transferable. Benefits to going open source include:

  • Thousands of developers contributing to core codebase – vastly increasing security and stability
  • Updates are frequent and free
  • Other developers can easily take over a project, you are not tied to your original provider
  • Once the data is in an open source CMS, it can be easily manipulated or migrated to another platform
  • Not tied to a licence fee or contract
  • New features are added on a regular basis
  • Multiple options for software for any given task, you are not constrained to a single set of features that have been built into proprietary platform
  • Open source software is much better at adhering to open standards than proprietary software

Case study: Kingswood House School

During the discovery process, it was noted that the existing calendar
that Kingswood House had in place on their website did not offer
parents much flexibility. A key requirement was that parents could
add events from the website to their personal calendars and search
the calendar by date or by using key words.

A requirement of the new home page was to display a collection
of the latest news and the latest social media post. The key was
to not overwhelm the whole home page with tens of post but to
show only the very most recent and pertinent postings to ensure
the overall impact was not lost.

Another requirement of the new website was to maximise the use of space on the home page. One way in which this was achieved was by using analytics to define which pages were frequently accessed within the website and making this content available in a tabbed section.

Wrap up

We’ve worked with a wide range of content management systems, from open source solutions right through to bespoke software and our go-to CMS of choice is WordPress.

If you’d like to learn more about some of the powerful features WordPress offers for managing and maintaining a website, you can read my post 10 Benefits of Our Content Management System of Choice: WordPress.