The lines between blogging platforms, website platforms, and wiki platforms are not always clear. I have a somewhat simplistic explanation that I give to teachers who don’t have a web presence yet, but want to create one for their professional work. Here’s the explanation: websites are good for providing a static resource of information, blogs are good for frequent updates and communication, and a wiki is great for collaborating on the creation of a reference site. For the teacher who wants to create a website, here are ten good platforms to try.
If you already have a Google Account, Google Sites is already available to you. Just select it from the menu of services that you’re not using. Google offers a wide variety of templates that you can use and customize on your site. Should you decide at a later date that you want to add other contributors to your site, you can do so with just a couple of clicks in the sharing menu. Learn more about Google Sites in this video.
If you’re looking for a tool for students to use to create websites of their own, Weebly for Education is a good resource. Weebly for Education includes all of the intuitive website-building and blogging tools found on Weebly plus features built specifically for education. Weebly for Education offers bulk creation of student accounts which teachers can manage and moderate. Students can create their own websites and blogs using the accounts that you create for them.
Yola is the tool that I formerly used to build websites for my department at school. An outstanding aspect of Yola is that not only is your website free, it remains free regardless of how much content you add to it. This is a good thing if you plan to post a lot of audio or video content as some website builders and hosts begin to charge once you reach a certain volume content. Yola provides good tutorials and forums for first time users. I also learned first-hand that their responses to help requests are very quick.
Webs is another service that I have first-hand experience with in a school setting because a couple of my colleagues have used it for their classes. Webs has all of the characteristics that you would expect to find in a free website platform. Websites built using Webs can include videos, calendars, polls, and a wide variety of third party widgets. Webs offers a wide variety templates and layouts to select from. For people with a higher level of comfort with technology, Webs might be a little too basic for your needs. In that case you may want to consider Snap Pages.
Snap Pages provides a free service as well as a premium service for creating your custom website. The free service has more than enough features for a teacher to set up and maintain a class website. The editing and customizing options of Snap Pages allow users to create pages that are little more clean and professional looking than some of the other companies in this market. The image resizing tool reminds me of the one found in Apple’s Keynote presentation software. In fact, TechCrunch said that it’s “a basic webpage designer that Apple should envy…”
Web Node is a simple way to build a website. The easy to use, drag and drop, interface makes it easy to change the look and feel of your website. For two reasons Web Node is a good tool for students to use to present and share their work with a wider audience. First, Web Node does not put any advertising on your website. And second, the user interface is intuitive enough for first-time users to navigate on their own.