Plus: Creating Sites with Wordpress & Wix
James E. Martin
Instructional Design and Support Services | University of Arkansas Global Campus
Last Revision: 08/31/2023
Making websites has been part of my life since the birth of the web.
It started as a hobby. It became my full-time job. It's now a hobby again.
The skills I learned doing it have been useful in every job I've had.
Rather than end with questions,
I'd like to start with them.
Some Key Terms and Ideas
Live websites--the ones you can visit, are "hosted" on a web server. Space on a web server is provided to you by a "hosting provider" (a.k.a. "webhost" or "host."
Domains & Subdomains
Behind the scenes, websites have an IP address (e.g., 18.104.22.168). Names are easier to remember. The technology that maps names to their numbers is called the Domain Name System (DNS). You register a domain name at a Domain Name Registrar (for an annual fee).
Modern sites are usually managed with Content Management Systems (CMS). Wordpress, Wix, Weebly, etc., are all-in-one systems which combine hosting, content management, and domain name registration.
1969 - ARPANET
US Department of Defense
World Wide Web
1989 - Sir Tim Berners-Lee
CERN - Geneva, Switzerland
1994 - Justin Hall
POsts vs Pages
Reverse-chronological entries (i.e., newest on top). E.g., a blog, news items, site news, etc. One page (e.g., News) contains the most recent post(s). Each post has its own URL.
Permanent destinations (e.g., About, Services, Portfolio). Each page has its own URL.
Five top-level menu items is a good limit
Common Top-Level "Buckets"
Home, Products/Solutions, About, Blog/News, Contact
Creating Your First Website in WordPress
Step 1: Go to wordpress.com. Click Get Started.
Step 2: Sign up with Email, Google, or Apple
Finding a unique username can be challenging.
Step 3: If you're on a personal machine, save your password.
This is Google Chrome (116.0.5845.96) running on macOS Monterey (12.6)
Sidebar: Let's Talk about Domains and Subdomains
Hold on for a minute. We need to discuss a few things.
Domains & Subdomains Q&A, I
Q: How important is a good domain name?
A: It used to be of supreme importance.
Today, it's still important, but search engine ranking are what really count.
Domains & Subdomains Q&A, II
Q: Is the free plan good enough?
A: Probably. There will be a banner advert across your site that prompts others to sign up for the same free plan.
Domains & Subdomains Q&A, III
Q: Is Wordpress.com a good deal for domain names and hosting
A: Yes. The cheapest hosting plan is $48/year (i.e., $4/mo.), has no banner ads, and includes the a domain name for free for the first year ($12/year thereafter).
Domains & Subdomains Q&A, IV
Q: What makes a good domain name?
A: Great domain names are 1) Short, 2) Simple, and 3) on brand. Examples: cnn.com, nike.com, amazon.com.
Bad domain names are long, contain special characters, and are unrelated to the thing the site is supporting.
Step 4: Pick a Domain or Subdomain, I
Now that you know what domains are, search for one that makes sense.
Step 4: Pick a Domain or Subdomain, II
Choose a free subdomain, or opt for a for-pay domain.
For this example, I'm going with the free plan.
Step 5: Select a Plan
Choose Continue with Free
Step 6: No, really, I want the free one
Step 7: Specify Goals or Skip to Dashboard
Choose Skip to dashboard
Step 8: Write Your First Post or Skip For Now
Choose Skip for now
Step 9: The Wordpress Interface, I
Tools down the left, content on the right.
Step 10: Settings
Choose Settings > General
Step 10: Settings 11: Site Title, Tagline, & Icon
Set your title, tagline, and icon. Then Save Settings.
("Settings" is also one of the places where you can publish your site.)
Step 11: The Wordpress Interface, II
Choose Posts > All Posts
Step 11: The Wordpress Interface, III
Choose Pages > All Pages
The site I built while creating this presentation is live at https://neopragmatism.wordpress.com/
A Really Basic Blog Site
More about Wordpress
Let's Try Something Similar in Wix
Step 1: Go to wix.com. Click Get Started.
Step 2: Sign up with Google, Facebook, or email.
Step 3: If this is a trusted computer, save your username and password.
This is Google Chrome 116.0.5845.140 on macOS Ventura (13.4.1)
Step 4: Choose For myself, my business or a friend. Then, Continue.
Step 5: Choose Blog.
Step 6: Let's stick with the generic template
Note: This is not a domain name.
(But it will be part of your URL.)
Step 7: Choose a Site Name
I went with Share knowledge.
Step 8: Choose a Type or Skip
I kept Blog and deselected Instagram Feed.
Step 9: Choose apps
Step 10: Click Continue to Dashboard.
Step 11: Design your website
Step 12: Take the easy way out
Step 13: Yet another wizard.
Step 14: Pick a Theme
Step 15: Pick a Template/Design
Step 16: Add pages: About + Contact
Step 17: Back to Dashboard or View Live Site
The one I built while creating this demo is live at https://wheat16.wixsite.com/instructionaldesign
So much to learn. So little time.
Cederholm, D. (2015). CSS3 for Web Designers. Second Edition. A Book Apart.
Gunn, D. (2023, July 13). "The History of Blogging: From 1997 Until Now (With Pictures)." Themeisle.
Keith, J. & Andrew, R. (2015). HTML5 for Web Designers. Second Edition. A Book Apart.
Krug, S. (2014). Don't Make Me Think, Revisited. 3rd Edition. New Riders.
Strehlow, R. (2023, June 13). "How to easily start a blog and monetize it in 2023." WIXBlog.
"The birth of the web." (n.d.). CERN.