Why do you need a website? 

  • In today’s world, college graduates need a professional Internet presence. Do you want potential employers to rely only on your social media posts to create a first impression of you before you?
  • It give you control over what people see and know about you. The companies that own social media sites can remove or flag your content at any time. They also collect data about you. Having your own website lets you choose what to share and what message you want to convey. 
  • Creating a nice looking website using a content management system like WordPress is a marketable skill, no matter what profession or career you’re interested in.

Thinking about your domain name

  • Go back and review the section “Naming Your Site and Presenting It to the World” in the Cohen and Rosenzweig chapter. When you go to set up your website, you will have to pick a domain name.
  • Make sure to pick one that is professional. Do you really want employers to visit “bobisawsome.com” to find out about you and you work? Using your name is best, if you can—ex. “bobgreen.org” (who apparently is a strings musician). But other professional-sounding options are acceptable.

So how do I create my website? 

Check out these directions from fellow GMU professor Dr. Abby Mullen:

Watch this video AND/OR follow the text instructions below.

Buy Your Domain

  • Go to Reclaim Hosting.
  • Click on “Sign up.”
  • Sign up for the personal ($45) option. Fill out all the details of the forms Reclaim provides.
  • Once you have received a confirmation/welcome email from Reclaim, be sure you click the link in the email to activate your domain.

Set Up WordPress 

  • On Reclaim Hosting, go to Client Area Login. Use the login info provided in your welcome email to sign in.
  • Go to cPanel, and then click on WordPress in the “Applications” section.
  • Click “Install application” to open up a settings panel.
  • Leave everything exactly as is, except scroll down to “Settings.”
  • Under “Settings,” change the administrator username and password to something you’ll remember.
  • Change the blog name and tagline to something more personalized than the WordPress generic language.
  • Then click “Install” at the bottom.

Access Your WordPress Site 

  • In the Installatron, you should now see a tab that says “My Applications,” and under “My Applications” you should see your newly installed WordPress instance.
  • The key link you need there is the one that ends in “wp-admin.” Click on that to get to the back end of your WordPress site. You should bookmark that link so that you don’t have to go through the Reclaim cPanel every time you need to get to your website (which will be often).

Customizing Your WordPress Site

Now that you’ve got your WordPress site up and running, here are a few more things you should check:

  • If you’ve never used WordPress before, you may want to watch this video explaining all the different parts of the interface. For a text-based explanation, visit this helpful link.  
  • First of all, go click around in the interface to find out where things are and what they do.
  • You’ll want to customize how your site looks, rather than just using the design that comes with it by default. Watch this video that shows you how to install a theme.
  • You also need to get rid of the boilerplate in your site. Boilerplate is things like “hello world” blog posts, fake addresses for a fake business, or even a generic WordPress comment.
  • To make sure you’ve gotten all the boilerplate, you should visit your live, public website address (that domain that you purchased earlier) and click around to everything. Make a note of where you see that filler, and then go back into the admin side to remove it.

Adding Posts and Pages to Your Website

  • You can create and edit pages by clicking on the “Pages” tab in the left-hand menu in your admin view. 
  • You’ll want to include at least 2-3 pages depending on how you organize your site. 
  • You’ll need a page to include your blog posts (often called a “Posts” page) and an “About” page where you give a short professional description of yourself, your academic progress and/or any special skills or experience you have in your intended career field. You might also want a separate home page. Alternately, you can have your “posts” page or “about” page be your home page (or the first page people view when coming to your website.) 
  • Under Appearance -> Menus, you can customize what pages show up in your navigation menu, the order they are in, and what pages the navigation links to. 

Getting Help

  • If you need help, please ask in the #tech-help channel of our class Slack first. Then if you still need help, come see me during office hours.

Submitting Your Assignment

  • This assignment is due at 8am Wednesday May 19. 
  • When you are satisfied with how your website looks, and have a least one page for you blog posts (which will be blank right now) and at least one page with “about” information, submit your assignment to Blackboard.
  • Include the URL for your website in the box for the assignment text. This URL must be public. You should test the URL with a browser that is not logged in.