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Ford/Knight: Environmental Justice and Public Health: WordPress and website design

Research with Deb Jackson Fall 2013

Just an idea

I recommend that each of you create your own WordPress site as a kind of test site. That way you will each have the chance to do the whole process of setting up a site, and you will have a great space to play around with the options before you decide together what will be on your shared Ford/Knight site.

Website Design

While you cannot change everything about your website, since you'll be using WordPress instead of starting from scratch, you can still make your site look better by thinking about principles of good web design. 

There are many many people writing about this on the web, but I thought this site had some good ideas without going too far or being too wordy:

7 Key Principles that Make a Web Design Look Good

Image sources

Kate's Tips and Reminders for WordPress websites

Making a website is like making a poster – you should have a vision of what the parts will be BEFORE you start making decisions. This will impact your choice of theme, among other things.


Creating your site for the first time

1.     Go to WordPress.COM (In case you wonder about wp.COM vs wp.ORG

2.     Create an account, sign in

3.     My Blog / Create a New Blog

4.     Choose name for site, level of privacy

5.     Ta-dah! (Way more help here, at the getting started checklist.)


Making it look like you want

1.     Choose a theme

   a.     At this site you can limit the themes to just free options:

   b.     You can always change it again later, but you might lose things, so play a lot at first before you have too much content

   c.      I chose “Oxygen” – a very customizable theme, and then I played around with customizing it.

2.     Change description, title, background image, colors, etc.



1.     You can always get to the dashboard by entering the name of your site with “/wp-admin” at the end of the URL.

2.     I recommend opening your live website in one tab and your dashboard in another tab, so that you can make changes and then refresh the site itself to see how the changes look.

3.     From the dashboard, you can do everything. Including

   a.     Add other Users – so that you can all be administrators of the site

   b.     Add Pages – these will appear at the top of your site, they divide your content

   c.      Add Posts – these are smaller units that appear on pages

   d.     Add (or change) Widgets – these are optional features that appear on the side

   e.     Add Media to your media library (to later put in posts)

   f.      Change feedback/comments options

   g.     Customize to your heart’s content



1.     Pages divide the content of your site. You can have as many as you want.

2.     You can also create Parent/Child relationships between pages (this will make a dropdown menu).

3.     You can change the order Pages appear by changing their “Order” on the edit screen.

4.     Since you are making a website (rather than a blog), you might want to make your homepage “static” so that the same thing always appears there instead of the latest blog post. (See Front Page)

5.     You can set up automatic Proofreading or click the Proofread button as you compose or when you are ready to post. The editor will identify spelling errors, grammar mistakes, and make style suggestions. (More on Proofreading)



1.     Dashboard/ Posts / Add New

2.     Compose and title your post in the composition box (or copy and paste it in)

3.     You can ask classmates for feedback on the post before you publish it

4.     You can add media – a photo gallery or one featured image, a tweet, a video from YouTube, a link, etc. These can be uploaded or located in your Media Library.

5.     You can add your Posts to a particular Pages – see Dashboard / Settings / Reading.


Difference between Posts and Pages


Working at the same time

Since you all will have multiple authors, you might sometimes run into two people trying to work on the same page at the same time. Here’s a preview of what to expect and what your options will be:

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Kate Blinn

Earlham College • 801 National Road West • Richmond, Indiana 47374-4095