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Build your own website

One of the objectives in this course is to learn how to communicate effectively on the internet. Instead of writing papers that only the instructor and maybe a few other students can see, you will post blogs that anyone can read and everyone in this class will be expected to read.

There are a lot of free apps for expressing yourself online, but one thing that is not free is a domain name. If you want to cultivate an identity or "brand" on the internet, you need to stake your own space. The College is providing you with web hosting and one free domain name for one year. You will have the option to renew your web hosting subscription so that you can use it to showcase your learning and professional experience.

Here is how we will build your website (we will do this on the first day of class):

  1. Create an account with Reclaim Hosting and submit the access code that I will give you. The code will grant you web hosting for one year and a unique domain name that you choose. This will be part of your online identity for at least one year, so choose wisely!
  2. You will create two instances of WordPress using Reclaim Hosting's cPanel.
    • The first instance will be your personal website that you can use for anything (like documenting your first year in college, analyzing your favorite TV shows, describing your work experience for future employers, etc.). You will end up with something like
    • The second instance will be for this class. Specify a directory  to append to your domain. You will end up with something like
  3. Get an API key for the Akismet plugin and activate it. Akismet prevents spam from cluttering your web site.
  4. Sign up for a Gravatar and associate it with your preferred email addresses. It's helpful if your Gravatar is a photo of you, but this is not required.
  5. Your WordPress sites come with default themes. Choose a new theme to install on your sites and activate it. You can use different themes if you wish.
  6. Add header or banner images to make your sites distinctive. Be sure to use Creative Commons-licensed images. Tinker with the settings: you really can't break anything, and if you do, you can start over.
  7. Create an "About" page where you write a brief paragraph or two about yourself describing what you’re studying in school and what your educational / career goals are. Include an image of yourself on that page, possibly the one that you’re using with Gravatar. Do this for both your personal website and for your course website. Here's an example.
  8. Finally, send me an email with the link to your website. I will add your name to the Blogroll for this site and from there we will all be able to read each other's posts. You may wish to add these links for your classmates' sites to your Blogroll so that you have an easy way to read their blogs and promote each other's writing.