Websites are a great way to go above and beyond for a school project. If you make a website, you take your assignment to a level, not like any other student. Thankfully for you, websites can be quite cheap and easy to set up if you’re willing to learn and put the time into it. Let’s discuss different kinds of websites you can make, and different ways you can go about making one.
What kind of school project website should you make?
If your school project is open-ended it can be difficult to figure out what kind of website to make. Heres a list of 5 ideas to get you started:
- Create an online portfolio to display your student work. This is a great way to build upon and share existing art or science projects.
- Have a website that walks through the steps of a science experiment that they conducted in class, or share the story behind the experiment.
- Start a school newspaper or literary magazine with student contributors (you’ll want to use WordPress if you’re doing this one).
- A website about a field trip that your class took.
- A website promoting an upcoming event at your school.
For a more comprehensive list see the full list of school website project ideas.
How can I create a simple school project website?
There are plenty of ways you can go about making a website now-a-days, you can use a website builder, code it yourself, or even use a mix of both coding and visual page building. What one you decide to go with can help you choose what platform you want to use to make your website.
Hand-coding your website is a great way to learn a lot and show your dedication to a school project.
Using something like Squarespace is a great way of coming up with something simple to wow your school teacher without having to look at code.
Using something like WordPress can be a great mix between them both code and visual building.
Here’s what it would look like to go about making your website for a school project using those 3 different methods.
Using HTML and CSS to hand-code your website
- This method will take 4-12 days to learn the basics of HTML and CSS and setup your website
- It will take some technical skills to learn the 2 programming languages
- Will result in a website that might not look that professional, but will demonstrate your skills and dedication. If you want your HTML website online with a live URL, you have to buy a domain and hosting. I recommend using BlueHost for hosting as its the cheapest and the most beginner-friendly platform. Otherwise, your website will work locally off of a USB or file folder. if opened through a web browser.
HTML and CSS are the basic programming languages of any website. When I first learned HTML and CSS, it was a very fun rewarding experience. In fact, I had learned it to make a website about the Peregrine Falcon for a school project myself.
To get started with learning HTML and CSS to build your first website, you first have to get a text editor. Notepad++ is probably the most popular to use when coding websites, but Sublime Text 3 is my personal favourite because of how nice it looks.
After getting an editor, let’s set up the website files.
- Make a folder on your desktop and call it whatever you want.
- Inside the folder, right-click and then click New > Rich Text Document (that’s on windows mac might be slightly different).
- Then rename the file to index.html, it might have a popup asking are you sure about something and just click yes to confirm the name change.
- Lastly, open that new HTML file in your new text editor so you can get started coding.
Next, you’ll want to start with a video. Videos are great for visual learners and following alongside when coding. Attentively, you can read through W3 Schools tutorial page by page, clicking the “next” button at the bottom to learn about HTML and CSS at your own pace.
Here’s a great video to get you started. If you want to search for something different you can just search for “html css tutorial” in YouTube.
After learning the basics and trying out some HTML code on your own, you should begin to plan out and wireframe your website. This is a mistake I always made when I first started, programming before a plan. If you do this your website will turn out ugly and nonsensical – your choice!
After a solid plan and wireframe begin making your website. This will take a lot of time and practice so be patient.
Here’s what my first website looked like when I was first learning:
Using SquareSpace to make your website
- This method will take 2-4 days to learn Squarespace and set up the website
- Squarespace doesn’t require any technical skills to make a website, but if you want the final website to be accessible by a live URL you’ll have to pay monthly (starting at $12 a month). Otherwise, you can use the 15-day free trial and sign into your website to show it off privately.
- Will result in a professional and clean looking website
If you’re looking to set up a basic website as quickly as possible for a few bucks, Squarespace should be your #1.
To get started with SquareSpace make an account and then select the template/theme you want to start with.
Getting good with Squarespace is really about just using it for a couple of hours to get used to where everything is and how it works.
If you do choose to go with Squarespace, keep in mind its limited in the different kind of functionality your website can have. For example, do you want popups? Too bad! Want a slider? Not happening.
Do remember that Squarespace is only as good as text, images and some basic e-commerce features if needed, so keep that in mind when thinking about going with Squarespace.
Using WordPress to make your website
- This method will take 4-8 days to learn and set up the website
- WordPress itself is free but it will require you to pay for a domain and hosting. I recommend using BlueHost for hosting as its the cheapest and the most beginner-friendly platform. Or you can run it locally with XAMPP.
- Will result in a professional-looking blog (or nice content-focused website if you put time into it). A great platform for blogging, having authors with articles
WordPress is the industry standard for making websites. This website (The Website Architect) is built using WordPress. With WordPress, you can make almost any website you can imagine without knowing any programming knowledge. With programming knowledge, you can take your WordPress website that much further.
There are 2 types of WordPress, wordpress.org, and wordpress.com. WordPress.com is kind of like Squarespace, with limited functionality, and pricing plans. WordPress.org is a free framework you can download (for free) to build your own super custom and limitless website.
You can use wordpress.com as an alternative to Squarespace for making a simple website, but if you use wordpress.org’s framework you website can be without limitations.
To start with wordpress.org you’ll need to buy a website domain and hosting to get your website online. It’s usually around $15 a year for a domain, and $3-$20 a month for hosting.
Once you get your hosting, you can install the WordPress framework with a click of a button in the hosting tools.
After WordPress is installed go to Appearance > Themes and pick from one of the free theme templates. From there, it’s a matter of creating pages and posts to make the website you want. You can even install plugins which are little widgets or mini-programs that make your website have even more functionality and use.
WordPress is quite big so it will take time to learn and fully explore. WordPress being so popular, 9 times out of 10 if you google how to do something specific in WordPress there will be plenty of resources to help you out.
If you want to learn web design, WordPress, and how to be an effective web developer, check out my YouTube channel to make superb websites.