In order to save money many of our schools are now combining website and blogs into the same site – one set of hosting fees, one site to manage, brilliant blogging showcasing the best of your school are just 3 reasons why they do this.
The ins and outs of the mechanics of doing this have so many variables that I’m not going to go into them here: get in touch if you want to discuss the possibility, St Joseph’s in Derby are just one great example of this. What I am going to write about is what you should do if your blogsite now becomes your website.
1. Shutdown or redirect
The first thing to think about is what to do with the old website. I would strongly recommend that once all the information has been transferred to the blog you should get the site shutdown and, if possible, get the domain redirected to point to your blog. The provider of your website hosting should be able to do this for you (they might charge a small fee). However, if you are stuck, we may be able to takeover the hosting of the domain and redirect it ourselves. Once in place we will only charge you the cost of the domain name and will add this to your annual hosting fee (£50 to set up and £25 per annum thereafter). Note: if you are using a VLE you probably won't be able to redirect and you'll just need to get the site shutdown.
Secondly, and really importantly, you will need to update your DFE listing. This is the government database of educational establishments. We cannot do this for you. You need to use your DfE secure login to do this:
Note: you should only amend your listing to point at your official school website where visitors and agencies can find the statutory information for your school. If you have set up a new blogging platform that is not being used as the school’s website, DO NOT update the DfE website.
3. School Website Directories
After that you might wish to update the various school listing websites of which there are many. Many of these simply use out of date commercial databases as their source of data, but some allow manual submissions. The way the Google PageRank algorithm works in essence is that the more external links that connect to your site there are, the higher the ranking in your site will be in search results. Often it's just a case of sending them an email. Here are a couple:
4. Google Maps
You should also change your listing on Google Maps. This is simple to do. Find your school on Google Maps, click on the marker and then click “suggest an edit” in the information box that pops up. Note that you will need to be logged in with a Google account to do this.
5. Search Engines
For most people that is enough, the search engines are generally pretty efficient when it comes to indexing new sites. However, you can, if you wish, submit your new site to search engines yourself for inclusion in their listings. The following blogpost lists 7 sites to consider making submissions to:
6. Local Council
Finally, don’t forget to submit your school website link to local and council websites that list local schools and services.
In conclusion, providing you go through the above steps it should be very easy for people to find your new website. Be patient though, it can take weeks for the web companies to fully update all their indices. The critically important one is the DfE listing as you don’t want the likes of Ofsted going to old and out of date content about your school.