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Looking After Your School Website Over the Christmas Holidays

It’s been a long year, and we are all ready to celebrate our school successes and achievements and take a well-earned break with our family and friends. And so we should! Although your school may be closed over the Christmas and New Year period, your school website is still publicly available. In fact, your school website may be the only source of information for prospective students during this holiday period.

Many schools are observing an increase in enrolment enquiries from international families – some of which may not observe the same Christmas/New Year holiday period. With this in mind, maintaining an up-to-date website over the holiday period is crucial for a number of reasons:

  • Engagement: Old, out-of-date content on your school website decreases the changes of potential families engaging in your website content. A direct result of this may be a decrease in enrolment enquiries. Keeping your content fresh and current is an easy and quick way to ensure your website visitors are engaged and interested in your school (see below for ideas on how to schedule posts)
  • Google Rankings: Your worst-case scenario would be your school website crashing at the beginning of the holiday period and no one at your school noticing and rectifying the situation until the beginning of Term 1! Any website downtime has a negative impact on your school website’s Google ranking. It would be heartbreaking for your carefully planned SEO strategy to suffer due to downtime. And it leaves a bad impression for prospective families, too.

Luckily, there are steps that you can take before the end of the school year to keep your website content fresh, and that minimise the risk of any website downtime.

Schedule Regular Posts

You need not be tied to your office desk over the holiday period to ensure that fresh content is posted on your school website and social media page. You can easily schedule posts on Facebook and WordPress ahead of time, so while you’re on a beach sipping mojitos it looks like you’re still slaving away at work! As mentioned earlier, keeping your content fresh and current is important to maintain your Google search rankings. Here’s how:

Facebook
Facebook have published an easy-to-follow guide on how to schedule posts ahead of time:
https://www.facebook.com/help/389849807718635

If you are also posting content to a range of social media channels, such as Twitter and LinkedIn consider using a social media manager like Hootsuite to automate this task for you.

WordPress
Assuming that your school website uses WordPress (which is what Little Munchkin Digital recommend), it is easy to schedule new posts ahead of time.

Once you have finished writing a post that you wish to publish sometime over the holiday period, instead of pressing the ‘Publish’ button, click on the ‘Edit’ button next to the ‘Publish immediately’ text (see below). You should now be able to select a date and time for your post to be published and made public. Once you have selected your date/time, click on the ‘Publish’ button. Easy!

How to schedule posts in WordPress - Little Munchkin Digital

Tighten Website Security

Sorry to alarm you, but the Christmas period is the most likely time that your school website will be hacked. Hackers know that you’ll either be away on holidays or less likely to check to ensure your school website is functioning properly. So it’s absolutely imperative that the proper security measures are undertaken before the holiday period. Here is a list of the bare minimum that should be done (again, assuming you are using a WordPress website):

  • Install software that regularly performs full backups of your school website and stores backups in a remote location (e.g. Dropbox). Consider increasing the frequency of backups to daily to minimise any potential data loss. We recommend UpdraftPlus (free and premium versions available).
  • Install security software that regularly monitors and notifies nominated users for unusual activity, attempted logins and brute force attacks. We recommend Wordfence (free and premium versions available)
  • Install software that monitors uptime of your school website. Uptime monitoring software can be customised so that a nominated user is notified via email whenever your school website is down. 
  • Keep all existing software up-to-date, as older versions may contain exploitable security holes.

All too much?

If all you can think about is that mojito by the beach, then help is at hand! Little Munchkin Digital can help babysit your school website over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. We will regularly update software, and ensure that your school website is safe and secure. We can also publish content to both your school website and social media channels according to your schedule. Find out more about our Care Plans.

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