Creating a WordPress website: The education sector has witnessed great developments in recent years, as the Internet has become the preferred place to learn all kinds of skills and sciences, especially with the emergence of large education platforms that offer advanced lessons and certificates in all fields. In this article, you will learn how to create an educational website with WordPress that has all the specifications for success.
Although we will rely on WordPress to create the educational site in this article, you can use most of the concepts in the article with any other content management system, as the elements of educational sites are not related to a specific system.
Why should you create an educational website?
Why should I invest my money and time in creating an educational website, you may ask? Isn’t it better for me to invest in creating an online store, as most people do? Well, there is no doubt that investing in e-commerce is excellent, and it is one of the best e-projects. But it is not the only field, the digital economy is huge and has huge opportunities, and one of these opportunities is the creation of an educational website.
There is a great demand for education services on the Internet, whether by students and pupils, by employees seeking to learn new skills to advance their career path, or by ordinary people who want to learn new skills and knowledge.
Wherever there is a demand for a service, there are investment opportunities and possible profits. This matter is more important in the Arab world, given that the digital education sector is still a virgin and waiting for investment in it, so why not be one of the pioneers in this field? There are other reasons to invest in creating a website, including:
- Low cost: Like all website projects, the cost of creating an educational platform is low, especially on WordPress, especially if you compare it to building an educational institution on the ground. Therefore, the margin of risk is low in this area.
- Less administrative requirements: Establishing an educational institution requires a lot of administrative licenses from competent authorities. It is true that some countries may require educational websites to obtain special licenses, but it is much easier than the requirements for establishing a physical school or educational institution.
- Ease of management: You might think that managing an educational website would be a nightmare, and the truth is that it is very easy. One of the advantages of e-learning is that most of its aspects are fully automated. Selling lessons, assigning permissions, sending certificates, evaluating students, and even grading exams can all be fully automated.
- Supplementing lessons in a physical institution: If you are a school principal, teacher, or practitioner in the field of education in general, you can take advantage of the power of e-learning to supplement the lessons that students receive in school. For example, you could create a website for your school to post additional lessons or exams for students. It will also be an ideal place for direct communication with students.
What are the types of educational websites?
There are several types of educational websites. Each has different characteristics and goals. Before you start building an educational website, you need to know these types and understand the differences between them:
- Online education sites: They are sites where students participate from anywhere, and they can get lessons online. Lessons can be paid or free, and they can be specialized in a specific field or be public. In addition to lessons, they usually include exams and certifications.
- Educational institution website: They are websites belonging to educational institutions based on the ground, such as a university or school. An educational website can be created to display lessons, information about lessons and schedules, information about the educational institution and teaching staff, and other matters.
- Examination site: They are sites that do not offer lessons, but only tests. This type of site has become popular in recent times, as it gives people the opportunity to quickly test themselves in any field. Examples of this are sites for English language level tests, and sites for preparing students for government tests.
- Multi-teacher sites: They are sites where anyone can register, submit and sell their lessons on the platform. This type of educational site is the most complex, as it requires managing professors, educational departments, commissions, and more.
- Children’s websites: They are educational websites that specialize in educating children, and usually deal with parents directly. This type has special requirements in terms of design, content, and information protection. Therefore, if you want to create an educational website for children, first search for the legal regulations approved in your country.
Of course, these categories are not mutually exclusive. You can create a site that falls into more than one category. For example, an educational institution website can be created that offers online lessons, offers tests, and allows teachers to register on the site and offer or sell their lessons on the platform.
What are the steps needed to create an educational platform?
In the following paragraph, we will review the most important steps for creating an educational platform on the WordPress platform. As we said earlier, most of these steps are not exclusive to WordPress. If you want to design an interactive educational website on another system or through special programming, most of these steps remain valid without change.
1- Determine the type and purpose of the site
The first step in creating an educational website is to determine the type and purpose of the website:
- What type of site: an online academy, a platform for training courses via video or live broadcast, or a testing site …?
- Is the site multi-professor? Can professors from abroad register on the site to present their lessons?
- Is the site free? Will the students get the lessons for free? Or will all lessons be paid? Or adopt a hybrid approach?
- What is the target segment? Does the site focus on a specific country, or the world as a whole, or is it targeting people everywhere?
Answering such questions will help you a lot in the next steps to creating a professional and successful educational academy. Take your time and think about these and other questions and find the answers that work for you.
2- Legal procedures
The conditions for establishing a distance education platform are much easier than the conditions for establishing a traditional educational institution. However, this does not mean that there are no legal obligations. Some countries impose special procedures and conditions on everyone who wants to create an e-learning platform. Including some Arab countries.
For example, some countries impose imposes licensing regulations on entities that want to offer e-learning or training programs. Such as that the program presents an accredited certificate at the end, in addition to respecting property rights and adhering to the laws and regulations in force in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other controls.
Make sure to respect the terms and conditions imposed by your country. Even if you are in a country that does not impose special conditions on creating an educational site, it is always preferable to obtain an official license so that the certificates you provide on the site are accredited. This will give you a great competitive advantage.
3- Buy hosting
The next step in creating an educational website is to purchase the hosting where you will store your website. You can buy hosting for as little as a few dollars a month. There are a lot of companies that sell hosting, like Bluehost and SiteGround.
Choose the hosting that suits you, but remember that your site may need a large storage space to store files and educational materials, so make sure that the hosting provides sufficient storage space.
4- Choose a domain name for the website
After purchasing hosting, you have to choose the domain name of your site, that is, the address through which visitors will enter your site. Make sure that the domain name is as short as possible, and expresses the purpose of the site. Most hosting companies will give you a free domain name if you buy hosting from them.
But you can use your own domain name if you like. One of the most prominent sites that sell hosting at the present time is GoDaddy. Enter the site and enter the address of the site you want to know if it is taken or not. If it is available, you can purchase it.
5- Install WordPress
The next step in creating an educational website is to install WordPress. WordPress is a free content management system, so it won’t cost you anything. You will need to use cPanel to install WordPress, which is a control panel that your hosting company will give you.
6- Choose the appropriate template
Since WordPress is an open-source platform, there are thousands of excellent WordPress themes to suit all tastes, and many of them are free. If you want to use a free theme, the best place to look is the WordPress theme repository.
You can access free WordPress themes directly from your dashboard by going to Appearance > Themes, then clicking on the “Add New” button at the top of the page, and searching there for the templates that suit you best.
There are many good free templates that you can rely on to create a professional educational website. But it is generally preferable to work with a paid template because it comes with an integrated package of tools that will benefit you a lot on your site.
7- Choosing an LMS learning management system
A learning management system (LMS) is a system that allows all educational aspects to be managed electronically. Such as creating lessons, classes, and departments, linking tests to classes, correcting tests automatically, awarding certificates and medals, defining the powers of students and professors, and all the things that you may need to manage your educational site.
There are many learning management systems on WordPress, and here are some of the most popular examples:
Learnpress is one of the most popular and best free learning management systems for WordPress, powered by more than 100,000 educational websites. So it is the first choice for everyone who wants to create an educational website on WordPress.
Although it is free, it offers all the necessary features of educational websites, such as creating and managing lessons, selling educational materials on the site, communicating with students, and more. On learn press, you can create integrated courses that include lessons, sections, courses, and exams, as it provides all the tools necessary to build a professional educational academy.
Learndash is one of the best education plugins for WordPress. It provides an advanced testing system that allows various types of questions and tests, in addition to the possibility of automatic correction. It is also ideal for those who want to sell lessons and courses on the site, as it provides many means of profit from the site, such as subscription and direct selling, and it also supports all major electronic payment gateways.
Learndash is considered by many to be the best WordPress education management plugin, but its disadvantage is that it does not provide a free version, and its price may be a bit high, as the cheapest plan costs $200 for one site only. If you want to work with a free plugin, this plugin is not for you.
LifterLMS is a learning management system that allows creating lessons and creating online courses, selling lessons on the site, and making a profit, whether through subscription or selling lessons individually. It also provides a tool for building lessons, creating lessons, tracking student progress and uploading them, and adding forums to the site, in addition to certificates, decorations, private lessons, and many others.
Tutor LMS is a complete learning management system for creating and selling lessons on WordPress. It allows the creation of interactive tests and lessons, in addition to a student control panel, and supports multiple professors, in addition to detailed reports and statistics on students and other important features.
8- Install the necessary plugins
You will need to install a number of plugins to support your site with the necessary features. This is a list of the most important WordPress plugins that are recommended to be installed on the site:
Payment gateway add-ons
Some themes are integrated with payment gateways by default, especially paid ones. But if your template is not linked to a payment gateway, you can easily add it through a specialized plugin. You can use WooCommerce, or install a specialized plugin for payment gateways, such as the WordPress PayPal plugin specialized in Paypal, or the Accept Stripe Payments plugin specialized in Stripe.
Security is a top priority for anyone who wants to design an educational website, because the website will include financial transactions, and contain information about clients, their performance, and their grades. So make sure to secure the site to the maximum extent.
WordPress is generally secure, but it is recommended to install some security plugins to enhance security and prevent known hacking attempts. Some of the most important security add-ons are Wordfence, Sucuri, Jetpack, and others. Choose what suits you best and install it on your site.
SEO is the set of techniques and rules that website owners adopt to improve the ranking of their websites on search engines. SEO or search engine optimization is a big and broad science, and it includes many techniques and methods, such as choosing keywords, building links, hosting blogs, and many others.
It is recommended to install a WordPress SEO plugin. Perhaps the best WordPress SEO plugin is Yoast, which has more than five million websites running, supports Arabic well, and provides many advanced features in the free version.
You will need to keep track of your site metrics to estimate how close you are to achieving your goals. The best tool for measuring site indicators is Google Analytics, which is a tool from Google to analyze visits to your site and issue detailed reports on the site that include the number of visitors, the time they spend on the site, bounce rate, and other important statistics.
You can link your site to Google Analytics programmatically, but fortunately, there are free WordPress plugins that will link a site to Google Analytics automatically and without the need for any programming knowledge. One of the most popular is MonsterInsights, which is powered by more than 3 million websites.
This plugin will connect your site to Google Analytics within seconds, and what’s more, it will show you a number of important statistics about your site directly in the WordPress control panel, without the need to enter the Google Analytics site.
9- Add content to the site
After choosing a theme and installing the basic plugins, it’s the most important part, adding the content. Content is important on all websites, but it is even more important on educational websites. Which is normal, your merchandise is the content you provide to people.
If the content of the website pages, such as the home page or landing page, is poor, then this will give visitors a negative impression of your site, so how do you expect to sell lessons to people and convince them that you are an expert in the field if you are not able to write good and sound content.
We reviewed the basic elements of creating a professional educational website. It may be difficult for non-professionals to keep up with all these matters and elements, so the best option for you is to hire an expert programmer through the Fiverr platform, the largest freelance platform, to create a professional educational website that includes all the elements recognized in educational websites, as well as any special features you want to add to the site
Advantages of successful educational websites
Although the e-learning sector in the world is still virgin and untapped yet, this does not mean that you will not find any competition. Every day new educational sites appear in all fields and sectors. Add to this other educational sites that people accept heavily.
If you want to make a place for yourself in the field of e-learning, make sure that you work with all the reasons for success and distinction, and that your educational site includes all the basic elements and services that students expect. These are some of those services and features.
First: the tests
One of the best features of e-learning is the automated tests, which are tests that the education management system grades automatically, where the student takes the test and gets the results immediately. It’s a good idea to look for a template or learning management system that allows dynamic quizzes.
In dynamic tests, the system creates question banks in various fields, after which it is enough to specify to the system the number of questions that you want to submit to the student after completing a specific chapter or track, and the system will randomly select the questions from the question bank.
This simple feature will make a big difference and make it easier for you to manage the site. Instead of designing dozens or even hundreds of exams for each track or unit, it is sufficient to build a question bank, and the system will automatically generate exams according to sections and educational tracks.
Second: Certificates and Decorations
People like to feel accomplished, successful, and special. That’s why many educational websites offer testimonials and accolades. As for certificates, they are documents proving that the student successfully passed the training course. Some certificates are official and have weight in the professional sector, such as Google Education Certificates:
As for the decorations, they are just pictures and designs that are given to the students as a way to encourage them. For example, medals can be awarded to students after passing a particular lesson or course, or after passing a specific test with a certain score.
Third: effective marketing
Like all digital projects, marketing is the main concern of anyone who wants to create an educational website. If you do not succeed in marketing your site, no one will find your site. Use all available marketing tools, starting with SEO, as well as copywriting, content marketing, social network marketing, and other e-marketing mechanisms to ensure your site has the best chance of success, growth, and competition.
In conclusion, with the increasing number of people wanting to obtain distance education and the development of learning management systems (LMS), this is the perfect time to create an educational website. Educational websites are among the projects that strike a balance between making profits and serving the community and contributing to its development. Start creating your educational website now and build your own distinguished digital project. And I advise you to rely on Digital.com, as it provides you with all sincerity on how to create a WordPress site from scratch, the best design mechanisms, the best WordPress hosting, with discounts on hosting. Digital.com works at the hands of experts in e-commerce, entrepreneurship, and marketing.