A woman sits at a laptop and appears to be designing a website. unsplash-logoTran Mau Tri Tam

Setting up your website

Writing in public requires somewhere to publish your work. One of the great things about the Internet is that it allows anyone to publish their writing and make it widely accessible (as we'll talk about this term, publishing isn't necessarily the same thing as getting read, but it's a start). For this class, you're going to set up your very own publication in the form of a website. You'll choose your domain, and administer the site yourself; it will be your website, and after the course is over, you'll be free to do whatever you want with it.

How to set up your site

  1. Choose a domain name
  2. We'll talk about this in class, but you should spend a significant amount of time brainstorming your domain name, and really think through the options before you settle on one. Most (if not all) of you will elect to be pseudonymous for this course, meaning your domain name will not be your actual name.

    You may also elect to keep your domain and use it professionally or casually. For that reason, you should make sure your domain is professional and something you won't be embarrassed over in a few years. It should also be pretty easy to read; you'll want to avoid domain names that are too long or that don't make sense when all of the words are mushed together. This tutorial has some good tips for choosing a domain name.

    The default format for your domain will be yourdomainname.wludci.info. If you would like to purchase a top-level domain--that is, if you would like your domain to be yourdomainname.com or yourdomainname.net, without the wludci.info part, you can do so, but you need to contact me by Monday, 9/10 to arrange for the purchase. The cost for a top-level domain is $15.

  3. Request your domain and log into cPanel
  4. You should request your domain name no later than class time on Monday, 9/10. After class, you will receive an email with information about the credentials you will use to log into cPanel, the control panel that allows you to access a variety of tools for your domain. You should make sure you're able to log in before class on Wednesday, 9/12.

  5. Set up WordPress on your domain
  6. Follow the instructions on this tutorial to set up WordPress on your new domain. You can also watch this video for more help setting up your website.

  7. Choose a theme
  8. We'll talk about what to consider when choosing a theme in class. For more help deciding which theme is right for you, this site has some good tips, as does this tutorial from wordpress.org. Remember, you can install several themes and try them out before settling on your final choice.

  9. Create an "About" page
  10. When your readers visit your site, they're going to want to know something about you. Your "About" page helps establish your public, online persona. You can include as many or as few identifying details as you like (most of you will probably choose to include very few details). But you should write something about the site. What you write is completely up to you.

    Your "About" page can change along with your website, so if you decide your site has a different focus than you initially thought, you can update your "About" page to reflect that.