Websites

When it comes to creating your web presence, there are a multitude of options to chose from. However, before you start creating, there are several questions that I ask in order to guide you towards a platform that will suite your needs as well as what content you should include.

  1. Do you (or your team) envision having the stamina to maintain a blog style site? Blogs are great because your audience can subscribe to receive emails with your new content and creating posts is very easy to do. I've also worked with teams of teachers who opt to have one shared blog to distribute the updating tasks to more than one person. However, keep in mind that it is VERY EASY to tell when it hasn't been updated in a while. So it isn't the best option for those that don't have the time or energy to be continually updating the content.
  2. Do you plan to include your assignments on it? You might want to reconsider for the same reasons as a blog. Start doing it and you'll need to keep up with it or it looks outdated fast. Alternatively, you could embed a Google Calendar onto your site (super easy with Google Sites and even easier if you use Classroom). Or just skip it and give your visitors clear directions to check Synergy as well as Classroom, if applicable.
  3. Do you plan on creating/maintaining the website as a team? Awesome! It's a great way to keep things current without the burden falling on one person's shoulders. Blogs are a great option for that. Google Sites also allows you to add other users as editors to the site if a blog isn't right for your needs.

Website Options

Although there are many options out there, as a district we support both Blogger and Sites from Google as well as Weebly. I highly encourage you to check out the Google solutions first as neither has an "upgrade" options to enable other features (unlike Weebly).

Blogger

  • Free (included with Google accounts)
  • Be sure to use one of their newest themes to have a mobile friendly blog site.
  • Lots of customization options.
  • Great choice if you'd like to be able to post regularly or want a more private site that is only accessible to certain users.

Google Sites

  • Free (included with Google accounts)
  • The new Google Sites, which this site is made with, is incredibly easy to use and creates very mobile friendly sites.
  • Downsides: Awaiting updates bringing us URL links in navigation and use of your own website address.

Weebly

  • Freemium ($0-$25 per month)
  • Historically chosen for better templates, but the new version of Google Sites offers very mobile friendly, clean themes that you might want to check out first.


Website Use Tracking

One of the biggest suggestions I could give to teachers is to make sure that your website is being used before you invest vast amounts of time into maintaining it. It does you no good to spend the time if you aren't getting visitors! So, how do you determine how/if your site is being visited?

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a very in depth tool to track your website visitors including visitor counts, what pages they are visiting, what are they clicking on, and how long they spend on your site. For information about how to get started with Google Analytics, check out this article from Google. It is the only tool that can be used with the new Google Sites at this time (click here for directions to tie it to your new Google Site).

NOTE: As of November 6, 2017, Google Analytics has been turned on for staff only at BonnyEagle.org.

SimpleHitCounter.com

Although very basic, this tool gives you a simple view counter that you can embed on to any site that lets you. The downside is that it counts every view including your own and you can only see the counter by visiting your own site. (The new Google Site is not compatible with this tool.)