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Posts is the go-to module for when schools want to add content to their website. Schools love Posts because it’s easy to learn, simple to use, and incredibly flexible, with support for a large variety of content and multimedia formats.
Want to create an image-based news feed? Posts can do it. Want to create a curriculum guide with category and tag filters? Posts can do it. Want to create a calendar with thumbnails that link to a new story for each day? You guessed it! Posts can do it.
With so many options and ways to use Posts (our clients are showing us new ways almost every day) we thought we’d highlight some of the more creative and useful ways Finalsite schools have used the module to spruce up their website.
1. Seattle Preparatory School: Online Advent Calendar
The 2018 holidays have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a look at how Seattle Preparatory School creatively used the Collection feature of Posts to create an Advent Calendar for their December blog.
After more than a decade with a print solution, Seattle Prep brought their annual Advent Booklet online in a beautiful adaptation with attention-grabbing artwork and a calendar-based format that immediately sets their Advent calendar apart.
Clicking on any of the images takes you to the corresponding page where you can find a larger version of the image, artwork credit, the date, that day’s bible readings, and a short bio of the person who uploaded that day’s post.
You can also find quick, convenient links to other days through the same thumbnails on the left side of the post.
Seattle Prep created their Advent calendar by using Collections in the main Posts module menu to create an ordered list of specific posts to display within the same Posts element.
The Advent calendar homepage was setup to have each of the thumbnails link to post details on individual pages.
The formatting sub-menu in the element settings was used to arrange the thumbnails into four columns to replicate a physical advent calendar.
Most of the posts were entered into the Body Content section of a specially-created Advent Board. The date and bible reading summaries were entered as the Summary. The artwork credit was entered in the Author field.
Recreating a physical Advent calendar online was made easy thanks to the flexibility of Composer and Posts to arrange, create, link, and display content.
Use Posts to create and manage blogs, news, teacher pages, curriculum filters, and more!
2. The Quaker School: An Organized, Searchable Blog
But the real strength of this particular blog is found a little further down with the prominently-placed category filter and keyword search bar.
A filter dropdown menu and keyword search bar are an invaluable inclusion for any blog, especially when paired with posts that are neatly organized with tags. With the category menu and search bar, visitors have two easy ways to find posts that they are interested in, while filtering out those that don’t interest them.
For example, take a look at the following post.
Just above the title you’ll find “Family Fun” and “TQS Community” tags that groups this post into two separate ongoing blog categories.
Someone who only wants to read posts with the “TQS Community” tag can remove all other blogs by simply hovering over the dropdown menu and selecting that category.
The Quaker School created these navigation tools through two separate Post Tool elements: one that links a category filter to their Blog Stories Board, and another that links a keyword search bar to the same board.
It’s the simple things like navigation that can be easily overlooked when creating a blog. Quick and easy navigation and filtering options are sure-fire ways to keep visitors coming back for more, and these tools only get more useful as time goes on and more posts are added.
3. Latin School of Chicago: Camps and Programs Finder
Finding the right summer camps and programs can be a challenge. Schools can have dozens, if not hundreds, of choices, and a standard chart or list to display all the options can be both confusing and overwhelming.
Latin School of Chicago eliminates needless confusion and frustration by giving parents the option to filter through all of their available camps and programs to find the option that best suits their child or children.
Parents can filter by choosing a combination of grade level and camp or program category. Personalized results for that combination are then displayed below the filters. All other options are hidden until the page is refreshed or another combination is selected.
For example, a parent could select “Grade 6” and “Half Day” to only show the three half day options the Latin School of Chicago offers for sixth graders -- bypassing the laborious process of trolling through the entire catalogue.
The camp and program filter was created through the combination of a Tag Filter and Category Filter, both under the Post Tools Element settings. Both filters pull in posts from the same board.
4. Highline Public Schools - Staff Digital Tool Filter
Sticking with the idea of filters, Highline Public Schools also used a Category Filter to give faculty and staff an easy-to-use filter to cycle through a list of Approved, Conditional, Under Review, and Denied Digital Tools.
Rather than a simple list with headers for each category, Highline Public Schools made it easy for staff to quickly find specific tools. The thumbnail images also help to quickly identify each tool when viewing the grid for each category.
An Accordion was used to provide a brief description about each category. The accordion design follows the filter design philosophy of only displaying the information a visitor needs or wants to see, keeping the page short and easy to read.
Choice and convenience shouldn’t be limited to just parents and students. Faculty and staff can benefit from smart website design when used appropriately in the Staff Portal.
5. The Stanley Clark School: Visualizing Donations
The Stanley Clark School makes it easy for potential donors to visualize how their money is being spent through an interactive Clark Fund Giving Catalogue with an accompanying image and brief description.
To encourage both small and large donors alike to hit their ambitious $150,000 goal, Stanley Clark used Posts to connect donations with funding opportunities and goals.
The Clark Fund solves the problem by showing these potential donors what their money buys through a combination of tag filters that match specific categories and donation ranges.
For example, a donation of $20 in the athletics category can be used to buy a shirt or athletic equipment package for one student. That $20 donation suddenly feels that much more impactful for any potential donor initially hesitant to make the donation.
People are more willing to donate when they know how their money is being spent. Stanley Clark encourages donations of all sizes by showing how even the smallest of donations can affect a student.
6. Pace Academy: A User-Focused Posts Experience
Every Posts example so far has been on an interior page. Let’s see how Posts can be used to jazz up a homepage focused on visual storytelling.
Pace Academy begins their homepage with an enormous video that immediately captures a visitor’s attention. From the very first moments on their website, any visitor can tell that Pace Academy has committed to telling their story through visual media.
This commitment is continued through thumbnail links, video elements, Google map embeds, and social media feeds. But we’re going to focus on how Pace Academy uses Posts to create an image-based news feed, complete with a category filter to filter through the featured news posts.
News is important, but it can be difficult to convey excitement and interest just through text. Pace Academy solves the problem by using large, visually compelling thumbnails that open the full-length news story in a light box popup, keeping visitors on the homepage and engaged with the rest of the school’s visual storytelling.
The interactive filter above the news feed allows visitors to cycle through the featured news that interests them the most without navigating them away from the beautiful homepage. Of course, visitors can always visit the school’s news page to see everything.
Creating a news feed on the homepage is done exactly the same as any interior page. Simply add the Post element to the homepage and choose where to pull the posts from. In this case, Pace Academy created a separate board just for “Homepage Events and Articles.” The only difference here is that these images link to a popup instead of a separate page.
Featuring news content on the homepage in an image-based grid is a great way to pique the interest of a visitor, hopefully encouraging them to read more about your school and visit your dedicated news page during future visits.
Posts is one of Finalsite’s single most powerful and flexible set of building blocks when it comes to adding content to your website. With so many options available, it’s no surprise that Finalsite schools have gotten incredibly creative when designing and creating their websites with Posts.
We didn’t even mention some other creative uses, such as Avon Old Farms' “In Memoriam” page, Maret School's Curriculum Guide, Meadowridge School's “Alumni Class Notes” page, or the Taft School's “Meet our Team” page, all of which use Posts for something other than blogs or news.
Of course, these are just a few examples out of thousands. Your school could even be one we feature in our next blog about awesome uses of Posts. So get as creative as you’d like when using Posts. We’d love to see what you come up with!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite’s Product Marketing Specialist, Andrew writes blogs and creates videos to share information about all the latest and greatest Finalsite products. Andrew has more than 10 years of video production experience and a journalism education from the University of South Carolina. He is excited about bringing his experience and expertise to Finalsite.