Sustainability (and such)

Build your own website!

READY?  It’s time to start building your own website!  (It’s gonna be easy, promise…just take the time to look at the following tips!)  If  you’ve already done this, you’ll be improving and adding to your site; and if this is the first time we’ve worked together, this is a great start toward personal branding!

Here’s why we’re doing this:  More and more students are using websites to present their class projects because they have a permanent record to show employers; plus, it’s much better than printing out 20-page papers!  Although some of you may be experienced with websites and blogging, it’s really important that you are part of the online community to create your own personal brand. Thanks to Barbara Nixon and Corinne Weisgerber, fellow professors and PROpenMic members, here is a presentation that I couldn’t say better. Check it out!      Blogging & Managing your Personal Brand

1)  Get your account.  Go to (which is free and easy) and sign up.  Use your Gmail address so you can keep this website after you graduate.  Sign back onto so you can start setting it up; by the way, your website address should be YOUR NAME (if you want to use this on your resume as a hyperlink for future employers).

2)  Reduce confusion through how-tos.  WordPress offers many FAQ screencasts to help you with the step-by-step instructions. Here are a few of the best ones to help you get started, so go through these before you do anything:

Here’s the process, step-by-step.  You’ll be working with tabs on the far left of your screen, so scroll through them to see what’ s where.  And remember to SAVE /PUBLISH after making changes!

3)  Choose your website design: Click on APPEARANCES on the left column of tabs and choose your THEME.  (You can always change this later.)  Look at the A-Z themes for more options.

4)  Select the title and security of your blog by scrolling down and using the tabs on the far left of your screen.  Go to SETTINGS.   Click on  GENERAL, and type in the name of your blog, which should be professional and serve as personal branding.  Take out the default subhead…just another WordPress blog…and either leave it blank or make up your own.  While you’re still on SETTINGS, go to PRIVACY and choose whether you want others to see your blog or not.  (At this point, it will have to be public or shared with me so that I can see your test.  Change this later to more open settings if you’re using the blog as resume-builder.)  By the way, think before choosing a name: Home pages (don’t you love that term?) come with all sorts of titles and choose yours carefully – “My Home Page” doesn’t mean much, but “Sugar’s Little Palace” is too weird and inside jokes can turn off a reader from clicking further. (Plus, what sounds oh-so-cool right now can sound really dated soon; can you dig it, that’s just gnarly, man.)

By now you have chosen your blog’s name, theme, and security settings.   Time to clean it up a bit:  Depending on your theme, you might have a bunch of stuff cluttering your blog, such as WordPress tools, a calendar, etc.

5)  Go back to APPEARANCES and click on WIDGETS.  Look to the right to see at what’s already posted under your sidebars.  Here’s where you drag and drop from the right side, which is what’s on your blog, and the center list of widgets, which are extras you may or may not want on your blog.  First, take off stuff that your reader doesn’t care about, like CALENDAR or anything else that’s wordpress-oriented.  Next, drag over widgets that help.    The minimum:  Links, Search, Pages, and Recent Posts.   You’re on Twitter, so drag that over so your feed is displayed.  Play around with this a bit, all the while saving and looking at how your page is looking sharper!

6)  Get ready to add pages.  Go to your dashboard and “ADD A NEW PAGE” that’s titled “About.”   Here’s a WordPress video about how to add pages.  Depending on your theme, you might have to type something in that space to “hold” the page.  The goal:  Have these pages on your site, not counting the home page:

7)  And look to the link at the right for the “Welcome” page, which talks about what you’ll put on the home page of your site.  This is submitted as a POST, not PAGE, so keep that in mind.  When you add a post to your wordpress blog, it goes on your home page.  A separate page is different.

That’s it for now!  You’ll put your polished media kit pieces in later to show your client!

P.S.  As mentioned earlier, more colleges are requiring students to build personal websites, often as a substitute for e-portfolios.  You can include this hyperlink on your business card, LinkedIn page, resume, etc.

P.P.S. And here are some generic features of personal home pages that also figure into discussions of bricolage:

Themes:  Who am I?  Personal statistics, biographical details.  Roles. Personal qualities. Interests, likes, and dislikes (yes, some hobbies, maybe). Ideas, values, beliefs, and causes (religious, political, philosophical).  Friends, acquaintances, and personal icons.

Structural organization:  Contents page. Index. Rooms.

Formulaic structures: Forms of content. Personal. Curriculum vitae.  Commercial advertisement. Diary, personal journal, autobiography. Photograph album. Scrapbook. Fanzine.  FAQ.

Technical features: Links. Counter (access). Frames. Forms (feedback, guests). Email. Chat system. Code (HTML, JavaScript, etc.)

Iconography: Background.  Color. Wallpaper. Typography (font, color, size). Page layout. Graphics (icons, photographs, other artwork). Multi-media pieces (video, animation, etc.). Sounds (voice, music, etc.). Written style an tone.

Posited audience/Modes of address:  Self. Intimates. Friends. Colleagues. Acquaintances (including virtual friends). Peers of communities (age, class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, etc.) Employers.

Modes of address:  Formality and directness.  Language and gaze.

Chandler, D. (1998). Personal homepages and the construction of identities on the Web.  Accessed March 19, 2013, at

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