DIY Academic Websites

In this workshop we’ll show you some options for building your own academic website with the goal of developing or refining a professional online presence. This can be a site ranging from an online CV or portfolio, to a developmental space to explore digital pedagogy and scholarship, to an alternative class space online.


  • Start with – You can also watch how to sign up.
  • Domains vs. subdomains – i.e. IDENTITY
  • WordPress vs. Weebly (and others)
  • Being “Mobile Ready”
  • Picking a theme, adding some plugins
    • Time to get creative
    • To blog, or not to blog…
    • To sidebar, or not to sidebar…
  • Professional Elements for Faculty – Galleries, Blog, CV, Course Page, Publications
  • Functionality of your site – What if you want more —> Hosted WordPress

Image courtesy of Jim Groom at

UNF People Examples – Hosted WordPress

How We Styled This Site

twenty sixteen screenshot

This site is rather plain as WordPress websites go. When we installed this instance of WordPress, on January 7, 2016, the default “theme” used was called “Twenty Sixteen”. The image above is a screenshot of what a sample site using the theme looks like. It is safe to say that there are thousands of themes that can be installed to change the look and feel of a WordPress site. You can look at the WordPress Theme Gallery to use for your own WordPress website. Most of the themes are free to install, but you will also find some “premium” themes that you will be asked to pay for.

To the right of this post is an area called the “widgets”. They are small bits of content that you can add to the site, such as a search bar, recent posts, categories of posts, and so on.

In the upper right corner of the site is the “menu”. Here you can add links to other pages, either that exist on the site, or at other sites.

What you don’t see directly by viewing the website are what we call “plugins”. Plugins add functionality behind the scenes of your site. There is a WordPress Plugins Gallery where you can find lots of plugins for your site. There are plugins that will allow you to automatically post to Twitter or Facebook when you write a new post, as well as plugins that add new widgets. One important plugin that we recommend is called Akismet. It helps you get control of what is known as “comment spam”. If you allow comments on your site, you will soon know what comment spam is – little bots that exist on the web to try to inject advertisements and other junk into your comments. Most of the plugins are free, but there are premium plugins available as well.

So why are there so many free themes and plugins available for WordPress? Does WordPress provide them out of the goodness of their heart? Well, there IS a lot of goodness from WordPress, but many of the themes and plugins are provided free because it is an “open source” application. That means that the code behind WordPress is open and viewable, AND changeable! Anyone who can write the proper computer code can create a theme or plugin, and it therefore can be used within a WordPress site. Most of the themes and plugins are pretty descent, but beware of old ones that haven’t been updated in a while. They need to be compatible with the version of WordPress that you’re using or they might “break” you site. WordPress is updated pretty often to add functionality, and to beef up security. Themes and plugins will get updated right along with WordPress updates. All of the updates are managed within the WordPress administration area.

That’s a little bit about how this site looks. We hope you are now motivated to get you own site and try out WordPress for yourself!

Welcome to CIRT WordPress!

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 12.29.28 PMWelcome to CIRT WordPress. This is the first post on this site, which began life with the title “Hello World”. With a fresh installation of WordPress, you automatically get this Hello World post, and there is also a comment (further down this page is a comment from Mr. WordPress) that automatically appears. This serves as an example of what a WordPress “post” will look like.

Another part of a fresh installation is an About “page”. Go ahead. Click on that link to see it. Posts will appear in reverse chronological order on the home page. As you write more and more posts, they will be added to the home page. The latest post that you wrote will be at the top. Pages, on the other hand are separate from posts. They don’t appear in the posts “stream”. They serve as static documents on the site, which means they don’t change much. You might write posts every day, but your About page wouldn’t change very much.

This post is actually located at, though you may be reading this post on the home page. Again, as more posts are written on a WordPress site, they will eventually not appear on the home page. However, they will always have a permanent address, called a “permalink” where you can always see the post.

What we have done with this post is made it a “sticky” post (sometimes known as a “Featured” post), so it will always be at the top of the home page.