Creating Your Website

It's time to create your website. The first thing you need to do is decide on a focus for your website. Is it going to be an online classroom? Or do you plan to share your résumé, portfolio, and/or teaching ideas? Whatever your plans are, keep in mind the following tips:

  1. Your website service may limit the kinds of material you can post. Be sure you have thoroughly researched the service and are sure it will do what you need. You can always change your mind later, but it may mean creating your content all over again.
  2. If you are going to run your website, you will most likely need to learn a little bit of HTML at some point, even if your service has easy editors. Two handy tutorial sites I recommend are Lissa Explains it All and HTML Tutorials.
  3. Photo Courtesy Capture Queen™ on Flickr
    Photo Courtesy Capture Queen™ on Flickr
    If you are hosting a site on your own domain, be aware of the expense and maintenance involved. Some hosts are better than others, and it is beyond the scope of this course to examine different domain hosts, so you will need to do your homework. If you are curious about which domain host to try, ask others. See what your website software program (i.e. WordPress, Drupal, Square Space, etc.) recommends.
  4. If you are hosting a site on your own domain, do yourself a favor and download an FTP (file transfer protocol) client. It will make uploading content to your site, especially large files or a lot files, much easier. Popular FTP clients include Cyberduck (Mac), FileZilla (Mac, Windows, Linux), and SmartFTP (Windows).
  5. Choose a design and navigation system that is user-friendly. Some websites are difficult to navigate, and users will quickly give up.
  6. Be mindful of design. Where you have a choice, try as much as possible to make your website look professional and polished. Avoid putting distracting objects like animated images (GIFs), flashing text, small or difficult-to-read text, busy backgrounds, or similar unprofessional objects.
  7. If your website service allows it, include a search box. You can create a free search widget at Google and embed the code. It significantly enhances the user's ability to find information.
  8. Develop some kind of consistent standard for naming files and for naming pages. Websites are typically all lowercase (as in index.html or class.htm).
  9. If your reader is going to click a link that will prompt them to open the link using software such as a PDF reader or Microsoft Word, warn them. Sometimes readers can tell whether a file is a website file or a document by mousing over the link, but not always, and it can be irritating to wait for a file to open in a PDF reader when you didn't realize you were opening a PDF file.
  10. Be careful about advertising. Ultimately, you are responsible for the content on your site, and though programs like Google AdSense let you direct the type of ads your users will see, you still want to carefully weigh the pros and cons of advertising. If your site is hosted on your school's domain, don't use advertising at all.

Task One

Your first task is to locate the instructions for creating a website using the website service you have chosen. Using those instructions, create the website.

Task Two

Make sure you are logged in to this wiki. Click Edit at the top of this page and scroll down to this section. Add a link to your website in the table below. You can add rows to the table by clicking the table. An icon will appear. Click the icon. Click Row. You will be presented with some options. Select Add Row. Select Add Below.

Dana Huff

Task Three

Later in this part of the course, you will be asked to demonstrate an ability to add certain types of content to your website. You are free to play with your website and personalize it, but before you add media, you will want to complete the next module so that you can learn about staying within the bounds of copyright law.

Module 1 | Module 2 | Module 3 | Module 4 | Module 5