Guide to building your own website

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4. Adding Pages

First you need to decide on what pages your site needs. Here is the minimum that I recommend to every grad student:

  • Home: this page should include a little bit about you, and make it clear to the visitor what your site is all about.
  • About Me or Biography: A bit more about you.
  • Resume or CV: your online version of your resume or CV.
  • Contact: a page that lists your contact details, social media account names, etc.

I’ll walk you through the method of creating a page. First, click on Pages on the Dashboard. Click on the “Add New” button near the top. This is the screen that you will see next:


As you can see, the platform doesn’t look all that different from MS Word, so creating pages is actually pretty easy. First, enter a title at the top where it says “Enter title here”. If this is your About Me page, you would enter “About Me” or “About ” here. Then you can proceed to enter in the content of the page in the large white area of the page editor. Play around with all the tools and buttons to get used to the environment. You can add photos or other media by clicking the “Add Media” button near the top. When you are done, click Publish to make your page live.

Setting a page as your Home Page

Since you are not creating a blog, but rather a personal website (although it could include a blog), you need to set one of your pages as the Home page. The home page is the page that visitors will see first when they arrive to your site. This can either be your “About Me” page or any other page that you want. Perhaps you have created a “Home” page, so that would be the obvious choice. Here’s what you do to make it your home page:

  1. In the sidebar, hover over Settings and click Reading.reading1
  2. In the Front Page Displays section, click the radio button that says A Static Page
  3. Choose your About Me page to be the home page.
  4. If you want to have a blog, create and publish a blank page called Blog and set it as the Posts Page.
  5. Save your changes.

If you haven’t already done so, go back to the Pages section of WordPress and create the rest of your pages. This process should be relatively straightforward.

5. Making Use of Plugins

One of the truly great things about WordPress is the vast number of plugins available and the ease of harnessing their power. Plugins are like bits of code that you can install and add incredible functionality to your site.

There are several plugins that are essential to any WordPress site, but rather than me listing them out here, just Google “Essential WordPress Plugins” and read for yourself what some WordPress experts recommend.

Installing plugins is pretty easy. Unlike themes, almost every plugin you’ll ever need is kept in the official WordPress plugin repository. Therefore, you’ll never need to upload .zip files or anything crazy like that. Here’s all you have to do to install any plugin:

On the WordPress Dashboard, hover over Plugins and click Add New.

Search for the plugin you want. When you found one that you think you want to install, click Details to read about the plugin and make sure it is what you expect. Then click Install Now to install it. After you install, click Activate. You’ll see a notification if there’s any additional setup required for the plugin.

You’re done! You now have a complete website. You may need to tinker a bit to get things just the way you want them, but you’ve got all the pieces put together and your site is up and running. By keeping your site up to date with your accomplishments, publications, etc., you will ensure that potential employers are always seeing the most up to date information about you. Your website increases your visibility, and your credibility. Great job!

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Kyle Massey

Kyle is a current PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin in the College of Education.

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