“Make a website” is as daunting of a task as it sounds. At least, that’s how it felt in the beginning stages of creating my site.
Setting It Up
It all started with brainstorming: a website concept, a URL, and a vision board. Despite being “forced” to make one, I likely would have made one anyway because I like how vision boards act as a blueprint to follow throughout the building process. To efficiently make my board, I used Pinterest. Pinterest was a great way for me to curate a cohesive spread that reflected the tangle of ideas in my head. The algorithm allowed me to easily sift through images that are personalized to me. My board is full of rich dark blues and bedtime imagery, meant to complement the comfy, after-hours, insomnia vibes I was aiming to achieve for melatonin gone missing. Once I had my vision board ready to go, I moved onto WordPress to get the site up and running.
Here’s where I had the most difficulty. The mechanics of WordPress were completely foreign to me, and I didn’t know where to start. So, as anyone in my generation would do, I looked for a Youtube tutorial. Tyler Moore’s “How To Make a WordPress Website – 2022” seemed like it was exactly what I needed. I followed along step by step, and his video was generally helpful for learning WordPress terminology and basic functions of a site. However, once it got to the design aspect, I found his decision to use external plugins for the theme unnecessarily complicated. Stopping the video, I went rogue and began to “manually” customize my site to align with how I wanted to use my personal cyberinfrastructure.
Making It My Own
I wanted my personal cyberinfrastructure to be exactly what it’s meant to be– my own online space to express myself and explore creative connections in the digital world. With this in mind, I wanted my site to really resemble a blog, as I knew my content would be extremely personalized and slightly chaotic. The site, after all, is aimed to be essentially a log of my ever-changing interests and map of my mind.
I browsed the themes on WordPress and ended up choosing “Blogus”, which I liked because the layout was simple, easy to navigate, and customizable. It was important that the homepage immediately displays my posts, and makes it clear where they are all organized in typical blog manner.
After customizing the colours and fonts to resemble the sleepy essence of my vision board, I configured my site to prioritize easy navigation and align with my website goals. The menu is sleek and unmissable, displaying my categories for mandatory PUB 101 posts, personal content, and an “about me” page. I plan to add categories as I create more content, filing posts in an order that intuitively makes sense for all visitors. I got rid of excess blocks on my homepage to reduce disorderly confusion, leaving it only with buttons that link to my social media, an archive, a search bar, and categories (again). Having used the site for a couple weeks now, I am very pleased with my choices on both an aesthetically-pleased and easy-to-use level.
Strides Towards Interactivity and Accessibilty
Lastly, as I have been experimenting with my website, I have been learning to implement various interactive functions on my website. For example, hyperlinks, clickable icons, and all the different blocks add layers of user-engagement and overall improve Search Engine Optimization. I have been liking playing around with all of these tools, each post incorporating more than the last. One block that I am excited to use in the future is embedded Spotify links– this will be fitting for a post where I make a new playlist. Additionally, I am still in the process of making my site as accessible as possible. So far, I have been ensuring all my images have alt-text, and I installed an accessibility plugin. However, noting APLN’s accessibility checklists, there are still many ways I can implement accessibility mechanisms to make my blog as inclusive as possible.
Brady, L. (2022, July 22). Checklists for website accessibility. APLN. Retrieved January 25, 2023, from https://apln.ca/checklists-for-website-accessibility/
Campbell, G. (2009). A Personal Cyberinfrastructure. EDUCAUSE. https://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/9/a-personal-cyberinfrastructure
Tyler Moore. (2022, January 3). How To Make a WordPress Website – 2022 [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yC6ZfIF-R9k&t=2927s
Wong, M. [Melissa]. (2023). melatonin gone missing [Pinterest board]. Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://pin.it/41RY78E