In the modern world of social media, having an online presence is essential if you want to spread the word about anything. That includes making prospective students and parents aware of your school or university.
If you want to get people interested in attending your organization, as well as letting parents know about what is going on, starting a blog is a great way to do it. Here’s how to begin.
Choose a host
The first thing that you need to know is who will host your blog. While WordPress provides the building blocks for the design of your site, you will need to pay if you want to have it visible on the web.
Hosting is usually paid either monthly or annually. While you may be tempted to go for the cheapest package, consider what your site will need now and in the future. Does it need to have a lot of images on it? Will you be expecting a lot of visitors? Do you want it to rank high in search engines? If the answer to any of these is yes, you might want to pay a little more to get dedicated hosting on your own server with unlimited or very large storage.
Grab a domain name
The next thing you need is a domain name. If you don’t choose one, you will have to keep the default web address that WordPress provides you with – something like yourschoolnameblog.wordpress.com. If you already have a website for your school or university, you might be able to host it under a subpage of that domain. For example, it could be found at yourschoolname.com/blog. Otherwise, you will need to buy a domain name.
These can be purchased fairly cheaply for bulk time periods, so think about getting it for 3, 5, or even 10 years rather than just 1. It will make it a more expensive purchase in one but will reduce future costs and remove the need to manually renew it each year.
Come up with a name for your blog
Even if it sounds simple, coming up with a great name for a blog can be challenging. Popular names might be already taken. Additionally, the name of your blog might need to somehow relate to the name you chose for your domain.
If you’re setting up the blog for your school community, pick a name that means something within your school (for example, the name of a class or of the school). But if you’re looking to engage a wider readership, you need a name that will attract more people – for instance, you can focus on the core topic of your blog.
Design your site
You can stick with the basic WordPress layouts which are available, but these can look amateurish – especially to other WordPress users, who have seen all of the templates. If you don’t have any particular design skills yourself, you can easily post a job listing for a web designer who will help you out. They can work to your specifications to create something that suits the mood and reputation of your school as well as fulfilling the practical needs that you require.
Make sure that your designer makes it easy for people to share your blog posts on social media, as this will help to get the word out there. Remember to link to your school as well so that people can easily find out more information and perhaps enroll.
Develop a blogging strategy
Decide what you’ll write about first. Are you going to cover topics you’re teaching to support classroom work? Or do you plan to blog about school life or education in general? You need to decide what will serve as your core topic.
The next question is: Who will blog? Are you going the be the only person who writes blog posts, or will students be allowed to contribute to the platform? If so, you might need to moderate posts and comments before they’re published.
How often will you update your blog? Keeping a blog takes time and effort, so it’s a smart idea to decide at the onset how much time you’ll devote to blogging per week. Be sure to set a minimum number of posts you want to publish every week or month too.
Once your site is ready, you will want to fill it with a couple of blog posts as quickly as possible. This will show people what to expect if they follow or bookmark your blog, as well as giving them a little more to look at on that first visit.
You don’t want people to be visiting an empty blog and going away thinking that it is not in use, so get those posts up as soon as the site goes live. You will then be ready to share it and to start building up followers and getting those views.
Once your blog is set up and ready, you can start using it to really pull in interest about your school or university for the coming students and parents.