Creating a Library Website with WordPress

Using WordPress software as a content management solution for your website has many advantages and can provide you with a professional presence for your library or information center.

WordPress provides all the tools you need to manage and publish your content online. It is also providing a great platform for you to keep your library members updated with news of your library.

You can also provide other library staff members with granular admin access to help you to maintain and update your library content. Giving them just editor role, auther role, or even administrator access.

Getting started

There are two versions of WordPress. One version is a hosted solution by WordPress itself. And other one is download and hosted by you.

WordPress Hosted

The quickest way to create a WordPress site for your library is to visit www.wordpress.com, create an account, and within a few minutes, you can start creating webpages and uploading images to a portal that you can call your own. While this is the easiest of the two versions. It comes with limitations.

The hosted versions have:

  • Limited functionality
  • No plugin available
  • Limits on design, layout, and themes available
  • The footer will display” powered by WordPress” and ads unless you upgrade it
  • Limits in website optimization for search engine (SEO)

WordPress Self Hosted

With this version of WordPress, you can download the WordPress source code and then upload this to a server/hosting account. While you can visit www.wordpress.org and obtain the WordPress source code free of charge, all you need is to rent a server/purchase a hosting service. There are a lot of hosting providers are there in India as well as outside, from them you can have one and configure it along with a domain, If your institution posses already a domain, just create a subdomain and map it with your server/hosting service.

The self-hosted WordPress has:

  • Hundreds of free and commercial themes are available
  • WordPress repository of plugins available to provide extra functionality to your site
  • You can customize the look and feel of your site
  • More search engine optimized features to help index your library website
  • The tools to create a truly unique and customizable library website

NB: I do personally recommend the self-hosted version of WordPress. Although there is a cost each month for hosting/server it provides you with many more tools and options to build a professional library website

Create web pages for your library website

Once your website is built, start adding new pages straight away. Most of the formatting options are similar to the desktop word processing applications like MS-word/LibreOffice

When using WordPress for your library, you can provide site visitors with a wealth of information. typically,

  • What services do you have available to the visitors or your organization employees
  • Links to further resources or your library management software
  • Help and general library information
  • Contact pages, information request forms, and opening hours
  • Links to your online catalog & archive if any
  • Social media links and embedded Twitter feeds

WordPress makes it very easy to add and create as many web pages as your need, plus easy to navigate menus.

Maintaining your WordPress library website

If you decide to use the WordPress hosted version, then much of the maintenance is taken care of by WordPress themselves. But it has limitations as I mentioned previously

When using self-hosted WordPress versions, then you need to ensure the following

  • You take regular backups of your website files, uploads, themes, and plugins
  • You take regular backups of the WordPress database
  • You update all plugins used on the site every few weeks
  • The core WordPress software is kept up to date

If this seems too much, some third-party providers can help you to keep your site backed up and software updated automatically. There are also simple plugins that are capable of running regular backups for you.

As I mentioned previously, some hosting providers also provide managed WordPress hosting. This is something to consider if you don’t want to get involved with the maintenance side of running your library website

Keep your library website secure!

Keeping your WordPress software up to date is vital to help you run a healthy library website. As with your mobile phone apps and computer software you should always ensure the latest patches and updates are applied. Your library website is no different. It all helps to keep the nasties, malware, and trojans from gaining unauthorized access to your site.

At the most basic level of security, you must always ensure you use site login passwords that are not easy to guess. Various plugins are also available to help you to keep your library website secure.

NB: If you are completely looking for a free platform, use Google’s Blogger platform, in which you will have complete control and customisation option.

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