So you know what you want from your class website. You think that a blog will be an effective platform for you – or you believe that because I said so.
The next question to surface is probably, “Where and how can I create one of these things?”
If you want to spend some money, you’ve got plenty of options. If you’re like me, though, you’re on a slim budget. Don’t worry – there are a couple great, 100% free options!
The system I used to create Rockin’ American History (the sample site from the previous page) is WordPress.com. It’s simple, elegant, and has a lot of beatiful themes for you to choose from.
Google offers free blogs through Blogger. They are somewhat more simple and straightforward. I tend to find them uglier and more difficult to navigate, although there are some more options for customization.
A third option to consider is Edublogs. They are created using the WordPress software, so in that sense Edublogs is very similar to WordPress.com. However, the group that runs Edublogs has obviously targeted educators in particular. These were a great option for years, but recently they included some advertising that makes the system somewhat less desirable.
For the rest of this guide, I’m going to assume that you’re using WordPress.com.
Creating an Account
Go to WordPress.com. Click on the obnoxiously large button labeled, “Sign Up Now.” This will bring up a very short registration form.
One common mistake I’ve seen a lot is that people try to include things like dashes and underscores in the “Username” field. Letters and numbers only!
Also, don’t worry about making the “Username” short or easy to remember. This doesn’t necessarily have to be included in the URL of your new website.
You’ll be able to create as many blogs as you want with this one username, so you can continue to use this login next year (or use it for multiple blogs this year, if you need to create different sites for different classes).
Create the Blog
For the first field (Blog Domain), you should pick something short and easy to remember. I chose “rock08″ for this year’s website – my last name plus “08″ for the 2008-09 school year. Next year, I’ll use rock09, etc.
To get to your new site, the students will type in the phrase you see in the form (like rock09.wordpress.com). Short and easy to remember will make the site more accessible. Long and hard to remember just means that you’ll be working on the site and the students won’t bother to show up!
The second field, “Blog Title,” isn’t so important. Choose something catchy if you want. You can change that later without any trouble.
For the last option, Privacy, you may think it’s a good idea to keep your site out of search engines like Google. In theory, that increases privacy which you and/or your supervisor may desire.
I wouldn’t do that if I were you. After looking over my blogs stats, I’ve found that some students go to Google and type in things like “rock08″ and “rock08.wordpress.com” to find my site.
I’ve never had trouble with non-students finding the site and spamming it – so allowing it to be indexed by Google is just another way for your students to find your site.
And… You’re Done.
After submitting the last form, your site will be created!
Painless, eh? Chances are it took longer for you to read this part of the guide than it did for you to fill out those two forms.
You’ll want to follow the instructions to validate your email address, but otherwise you’re all set. WordPress.com just set up a new site for you, and it’s waiting for you to make it pretty and brimming with content.
You may want to click on the “Login” link and poke around the dashboard for a bit. When you’re done exploring, the next part of this guide will show you how to write up a post and publish it to your site.
» Defining Goals: What Do We Want Our Class Website to Do?
January 13, 2009
» How to Create a Classroom Website: An Illustrated Guide
January 13, 2009
» Publishing Information: Posting Your First Assignment
January 19, 2009
WordPress « Communication Mind Tools
November 20, 2011