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If you have got all the money you want: Employ the best company and enjoy their full service. Great! If you do not, you have to use the help of school website design companies wisely. Here are 8 great tipps to get the best value for money for your school.

Most schools have only got some money

school-website-design-companies

Having a stunning school website, which looks superb and is very easy to use is the dream of every school and their teachers. However, to create and maintain it, is a lot of work and it needs special technical skills which normal teachers do not have.

There are awesome school website design companies who can create a brilliant school website for you. They do all the designing, coding and technical support for you. All you have to do is tell them your wishes for your school goals and contents and they will create it.

However, in these school website design companies work very talented people, who deserve to earn a lot of money. That is only fair. But this makes your school website expensive. If your school has got all the money the agency wants from you for making your school website: Go for it. Nothing can be greater, since you will get a CMS which is specialised for school. With one system you do not only get the school website but also special tools like real time alerts, a substitution plan or a student information system.

But let us be realistic. There are just some schools in the world who have got enough money for this. Most schools are funded by the government, so they do not have as much money as private schools for which parents pay a lot of tuition fees per year.

This is why most schools have only got some money for their school website. So you have to use this wisely. In the following are some ideas how to do this.

Find out what you really need

Every idea for your school website is possible to realise. However, you always have to think about what is reasonable.

So before putting a feature on your must have list of your school website, you should check it out for the following questions:

  • Who and how many people will benefit from it?
  • Is there an easier way to reach your aim?
  • How much will it cost within five years?
  • How much time does it take to create and maintain it?
  • Who can create and maintain it?

Only if your idea has passed these questions you should add the new feature. If you are in doubt, do not have this component. Only realise those ideas, that you absolutely need.

Choosing the best system (CMS) is essential

Spend very much time on choosing the right system for your new school website. The time and efforts you spend on selecting the right system will pay back ten times at least if you finally make the right choice.

This is absolutely necessary for several reasons:

  1. Time: Nearly every school has already got a school website. Changing to a new system means a lot of efforts because you cannot simply transfer your contents into a new system. You always need to do this by copy and past, which is not difficult, but takes hours and hours, since most school websites for about 1,000 students have got 100-200 pages with texts and pictures.

  2. Money: Most free content Management Systems like Typo3, Wordpress or Joomla! are easy to set up. Thus website building for free seems very simple and comfortable. Indeed, if you only use the core software of one of these Content Management Systems (CMS), upgrades will be easy. But the more functionality and add-ons you use to make your website work better and look greater, the more difficult will it be to make an upgrade.
    And yes, you will have to make upgrades, because otherwise your school website will finally stop working and become insecure. So if you cannot do the upgrade yourself, you will have to pay a specialist. Example: Typo3 needs an Upgrade every 1.5 years. An upgrade with only a few add-ons costs on average 2,000 Euro.

  3. Security and stress: If you are responsible for your school website, this is a great thing. If your school website works well and is secure, you have an easy life. But if it does not work or is insecure, you will have a very hard time, since you have to spend a lot of time and possibly nights to fix everything.

Builders like Jimdo make your life easy

Website builders like Jimdo or Wix can make it very easy for you to create and manage your school website, because you do not have to maintain the CMS Software or deal with web hosting. All this is done by the website builder company in the background, so that you can entirely focus on your contents. The builder will also provide you with many free school website templates which you can choose to design your school website. These templates are completely mobile friendly and work on all mobile devices as good as on a personal computer. The bad thing is that there is always a limit to the creation of individual wishes - at least with regard to the included templates.

The article website building for free is a free and detailed tutorial how you can easily create your free and easy Jimdo website within only a few minutes.

A new Jimdo website for only 1,500 Euro

Maerkisches Gymnasium Iserlohn with Jimdo

In 2018, Märkisches Gymnasium Iserlohn (MGI), a secondary school in Germany which prepares its about 1,000 students for higher education at a university, needed a new school website.

What we wanted was a mobile ready school website with responsive images and templates and a great design. Since the budget was low with only 5,000 Euro for ten years, and all they needed was just pages with text, pictures and downloads, they decided to ask the professional school website design company Fruits & Harvest in Germany to create it with Jimdo.

Fruits & Harvest in a first step built the new website with an individual template and the front page. For this they needed 16 hours, 90 Euro each, so altogether 1440 Euro.

For the second step, the school had updated all its contents, so that they finally wanted to migrate 150 pages from Typo3 to Jimdo. For this the company wanted 1,800 Euro. The time needed for this was about 35 hours.

Moreover, the school now has to pay 180 Euro a year for the Jimdo Business plan.

As for email addresses it is my recommendation to keep your domain, e.g. myschool.com with an external web host like godaddy.com or bluehost.com. Here the costs for 50 Email addresses with 1 GB storage each are about 60 Euro a year, whereas it is a lot more expensive if you use so many emails in Jimdo. So you keep your domain with an external web host but let Jimdo use your domain with the help of A-record.

All in all, these are the ten years costs:

  • school website design and set up of front page: 1440 Euro
  • migration of 150 pages from Typo3 to new Jimdo website: 1800 Euro
  • annual Jimdo Business plan for ten years: 1800 Euro
  • annual business plan for using 50 email addresses with an external web host: 60 Euro
    Jimdo website altogether for ten years:  5.640 Euro

What is excellent about this new website is that all technical things like upgrades of CMS, Webhosting and so on is done in the background by Jimdo. And the school never need to worry about that.

Even better is that you could have saved 1,800 Euro if teachers and / or students had done the migration of the 150 pages themselves, which is not very difficult.

In contrast to that, to keep the old Typo3 website for 10 years:

  • Typo3 needs an upgrade every 1.5 years. The price for each upgrade by an agency is 1,500 Euro. So 6 x 1,500  Euro = 9,000 Euro
  • Webhosting for Typo3 is 120 Euro a year, so 1,200 Euro in 10 years
    Typo3 website altogether for ten years: 10,200 Euro

Jimdo Features compared to a specialized CMS

static feature Jimdo School Website CMS
easy content editor
responsive images and templates
SEO
Social Media Integration
news, blog
advanced search
advanced forms
pictures and videos
maps
staff directories
password-protected areas
multi-language support
web accessibility ✔ partly ✔ depends on CMS
     
interactive feature    
online payment / shop ✔ depends on CMS
surveys ✔ with an external tool ✔ depends on CMS
event management ✔ with an external tool ✔ depends on CMS
student information system (SIS) ✔ with an external tool ✔ depends on CMS
real time alerts / notification ✔ with an external tool ✔ depends on CMS
carpool maps ✔ with an external tool ✔ depends on CMS
classroom management ✔ with an external tool ✔ depends on CMS
substitution plan ✔ with an external tool ✔ depends on CMS
parent's day management ✔ with an external tool ✔ depends on CMS
elearning platform ✔ with an external tool ✔ depends on CMS


The table shows that Jimdo has got all features which a modern school website needs as long as the information is static. But when it comes to interaction with students, teachers and parents, it cannot naturally do this. For this you need a special widget or plug-in. The advantage is that you can choose from different widgets.

A specialised school website CMS can already have a lot of these widgets built in. But if the feature does not meet your needs, there is no option to use a different widget. Conclusion:

  1. If you do not need any interactive features, go with Jimdo.
  2. If you need one or more interactive features, check if there is a helpful Jimdo widget/plugin.
    a) If there is one, go with Jimdo, since it will be cheaper than the specialised CMS.
    b) If no, check if you have enough money to buy it from a specialized CMS.

Students can help but not always

Students can often help very well with your school website. Especially some older pupils can be excellent with web design and they will be proud if they are asked to support creating the school webmaster. Sometimes they are so talented that they know even better than anybody at school how to maintain or set up an even better website for their school. This is great since the pupil will be proud and you can foster her or him in a very important technical way. Moreover, the student has got his own student kind of view on the school website. Thus he can add a lot of very valuable information on how to attract students with your school website.

However, you should always be aware that this student is just a student, no matter if his skills are needed. One day, this student will leave school and she or he must not get too much mental pressure by giving him all the responsibility. In addition, there is often some information on the website or connected to it that a student should not have.

For this reason it is great to have skilled students to support you with your school website, however this should always only be support. The main responsibility, and the decision what is the right system (CMS) should always remain with the responsible webmaster or teacher.

Create a Free Website with Jimdo

Conclusion: Use a school website design company to set up your website builder

Employ a school website design company to set up your school website with a website builder like Jimdo. You can do this with only 1,500 Euro to set up an individual school website template. Then your annual fee will only be 180 Euro. To save time you can have 100 pages migrated to Jimdo for about 1,200 Euro.

Only if you really need to have a school website with more interactive functionality than just pages with text and pictures: Check if Jimdo a plug-in can help you. If yes, go with Jimdo, since it will be cheaper than the specialised CMS.  If no, find out if you have enough money to buy it from a specialized School Website CMS. This costs about 5,000 to 10,000 Euro a year.

If you have enough money to pay a full service of a great school website design company for ten years, go for it, smile and enjoy the full service.

Create a Free Website with Jimdo
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