CA 260 has been one of my favorite classes this semester. I have learned a lot in this. I have learned about coding, websites, blogs, and so much more. One of my favorite things that we did this semester was creating websites.
Websites can be very important in the professional word, especially in the world of Strategic Communication. Knowing how to successfully create and operate a website will be a huge help in my future career. It will also help when trying to find that career. My website is a good way to showcase myself as a serious Communication major and show potential employers my abilities.
My website is http://dbwilliamsphotography.weebly.com/ and I love the way that it turned out. We have to present our websites to the class on Monday. I am excited to see how everyone’s websites turned out.
One of the best parts of the website project was the design part. I enjoyed picking out what design I wanted and figuring out how to put my pictures on the site in the best way. I wanted to seem professional and organized.
The tools on Weebly were easy to use and it was fun figuring out what the tools did. There was one time that the site glitched up and I had to contact the help service because a feature that I added to my page wouldn’t go away when I clicked on the “x”. The help service contacted me back immediately and solved the problem.
I loved learning how to use Weebly.
This week in lab, we learned about search engine optimization. I had no clue what this meant until I did a little bit of research and found that it is extremely helpful. I always noticed keywords when I searched for things on google and bing. I noticed that it would pull up articles and pages related to the words I typed in the search bar.
After learning about SEO, I knew that I definitely wanted to use it on my page. I will make sure that my titles on my page are specific so that when people search for those terms my page will be one of the many that pop up. Hopefully, people will click on my site and the traffic will increase.
I will also make sure that my site is easy to navigate. According to Google’s SEO starter guide, “Navigation is very important for search engines. The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. It can also help search engines understand what content the webmaster thinks is important (https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf). If my page is confusing then people might leave it without trying to figure it out or even trying. That is definitely not what I want. I want people to be able to find the things that they are looking for with zero trouble.
I will also make sure that my site has quality content and is interesting. The Google SEO starter guide says, “Interesting sites will increase their recognition on their own. Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here. Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it.”
One of the disadvantages to SEO is that your competitors will be able to find your site with ease and step up their game to compete with you. More than just a person’s target audience will see it. This may be good at times, but it can also be problematic.
This week in lab we discussed online privacy and the price of free. It was eye opening in a lot of ways. There are just somethings that I hadn’t thought of until that class. I will now be extremely careful when posting information about myself if it can be used to hurt me. I don’t really care if people know my thoughts and feelings, but my social and bank information is something I would like to keep to myself.
This week we had to read the following:
One of the assignments for the week was to think of a few domain names for my website and then see if they are taken by searching them on WHOIS. The first possible domain name that I thought of was dbwilliamsphotography.com. It is not currently owned. There are other domains that are similar, but this one is available for $12.99. This is the only domain name that I would be interested in purchasing.
I might buy a domain name for myself in the future if my site picks up and I start bringing in business. If it is a failed project then I don’t want to waste money on it. If it is profitable then not having .weebly might make it look more professional. It might then be worth purchasing.
For now I am going to stick to free services because I am a broke college student and have a lot on my plate. After I graduate, if my site is still profitable, then I might pay for hosting. Then I will be able to spend more time working on it and making it a top priority.
I am not exactly sure what we did in lab this past week because I was sick and couldn’t go. I am excited to be going back to class tonight and catch up on my work. I hate missing class. It always makes me feel so guilty even though I’ve done nothing wrong.
This week we had to read the following:
And watch this video:
I am always very careful with what I post on social media. I take a minute to think about the post/picture and think about whether or not it might haunt me in the future. As a future communication professional, the issue of privacy greatly concerns me because I don’t think that people actually have privacy. Just because an account is private doesn’t mean that people can’t see it. I know people who use other people’s accounts to look at my account because I am not friends with them on Facebook.
These posts can come back to affect my work/career. I am a teen and therefore do teen things. I might think what I am doing is cool now, but if an employer sees a picture of me doing it then it might make me seem like I am not employable. You have “to be careful about how you represent yourself on social media” (http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/social-networks/what-does-your-internet-profile-say-about-you-3474750/) because employers are always watching.
Changes in the way we view privacy has a huge impact on democratic society. Privacy, in my opinion, seems like it is becoming less and less of a given. People have to go through a lot to keep what they post on social media private.
This week in class we continued to code. We have been working on the same code for a few weeks now and just have been adding on to it. It is pretty cool watching things change and improve just by typing out a code. Our professor wasn’t here this week because he had just gotten married (congrats btw Willis). Our sub professor was super cool. She was funny and thought coding in a new way. I like her way better (sorry Willis).
So this week I had to read http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/training-online-resources-812225 and decide which ones would be most useful to me.
One of the most helpful tools I found was the W3Schools. I have actually used this site before when learning how to code. It was super easy to understand and it helped me out tremendously.
I also like the Google Code University. Coding it taught by the actual developers of Google! I think that is so cool because they do a great job. It offers tutorials that walk people through the coding process.
There are a lot of other sites that help with coding and web design on this link. There are 22 sites to be exact. You should go check them out if you are interested in web design.
If CA 260 was taught completely online, it would be a completely different class. I would enjoy it a lot less. I would get a lot less out of it as a student as well. I have a hard time learning from strictly online courses. I need to see things done, be able to ask questions, and see if I’m correct and that’s hard to do when your professor is miles away. I like CA 260 just the way it is.
This week in class we are writing a proposal for our websites. It should be pretty easy and it is a good way to really look at what you want for your site.
The module assignment this week is to recommend a CMS to a local business who is looking to build a website. We were required to read “3 open source content management systems compared” by https://opensource.com/business/14/6/open-source-cms-joomla-wordpress-drupal). It is a pretty interesting and helpful article. It lists three widely used CMS platforms and compares them. He compares Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. His comparisons are “based on this criteria: installation complexity, available plugin/themes, ease of use, and more.”
If I had to recommend a CMS to a local business then I would recommend WordPress. I have experience with WordPress and know how to operate it. I know that it is a good site because I use it for myself. It is extremely easy to use and figure out. I think it would be perfect for a small business. Especially since it is also cheap. My WordPress is FREE and it is not that much more expensive to add on other features. Tiwari says, “WordPress is the winner for customization and upgrades. That means it will be easy if you alone or a small team of people are planning to set up the website.”
It has many helpful features that a business can use. You can add videos, text, and pictures. You can also add code to it. There are ecommerce options.
I would highly recommend WordPress to anyone or business who wanted to start a website. It is awesome.
This week in lab, we learned how to edit videos using really nice editing software. It was my first time editing video and so I was a little nervous, but it turned out to be really fun. We got to recreate our professor’s video and we got to add a little extra to it so I put it to country music because it is the worst.
This week we had to read the following:
We also had to watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqk0baXEaL8.
I had to create a filter on my email. It was a very easy process. I decided to filter for my CA 260 messages since it was the class that I had to do it for. The process was very easy. I just searched the messages and then clicked “create a filter” and filled in the information that I wanted. I think that filters will help me in the future because I can make sure that important messages don’t get sent to my spam folder. I used the gmail link (https://support.google.com/mail/answer/6579?hl=en) to figure out how to do it. According to the link the steps are:
- Open Gmail.
- In the search box at the top, click the Down arrow .
- Enter your search criteria. If you want to check that your search worked correctly, see what emails show up by clicking Search .
- At the bottom of the search window, click Create filter with this search.
- Choose what you’d like the filter to do.
- Click Create filter
The field guide link (http://fieldguide.gizmodo.com/7-gmail-filters-to-make-email-less-of-a-chore-1646551691) has some really good examples of filters to add.
We also had to write an email to our professor that is clear and professional. I used the steps listed in the tutsplus link (https://business.tutsplus.com/articles/how-to-write-clear-and-professional-emails–cms-20939). My email would be as follows:
Hi, George Willis.
I really enjoy your class. I always have a good time and learn something useful; however, I am going to have to leave next week’s lab early due to a family issue. Will you please make your lecture available on Sakai for me to access at home? Thank you for all of your help with this.
All the best.
This week in class, we have been learning how to properly edit pictures and put them on our Weebly pages. I think it’s pretty cool. I like seeing how different I can make the pictures look, but I don’t like to use edited pictures when I do photography. I feel like it’s not as honest.
Well this week we had to read the following:
We also had to watch the following:
In today’s world, “Sites…feature video for every imaginable use and visitors and users have grown to anticipate this engaging medium” (https://www.ducttapemarketing.com/creating-and-using-web-video-never-easier/). Video has become a huge part of all websites. People expect it and when there’s not a video then people are often taken aback.
A video on my site could help showcase the primary purpose of my website. It could let people know who my target audience is and why I would like to reach them. It could show the meaning behind my work and so viewers could be more aware and understanding of the meaning. The last reason is that video can show why I take pictures and post them for all to see.
If I had to make a video for my website I would want it to be artsy. I would include a lot about where I take pictures and have a little bit about why. I wouldn’t want a lot of talking. I would want for the video to kind of speak for itself.
I would need a lot of equipment in order to make my video. I would need a DSLR camera so that my shots would look really nice and professional. I would like to look into external light sources because I think they would work nicely for what I would want to do. I would also need really good editing software. I think that will all of these tools, I could have a very professional looking video. It’s too bad I’m broke.
This week in lab we finished up coding. It was pretty cool by the end because I was able to create a little website using only text and symbols. This week we are talking about accessibility. We were required to read the following:
The readings really helped me to understand accessibility and come up with a way for me to make my website more accessible for all people. People with websites should make them more accessible because “The Web is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, culture, location, or physical or mental ability. When the Web meets this goal, it is accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive ability” (http://www.w3.org/standards/webdesign/accessibility).
For my site, I plan on having keyboard input so that people with limited motor control can access my site with limited to no use of the mouse. I will also try to use color schemes that are easy for people with colorblindness to see. Wearecolorblind (http://wearecolorblind.com/examples) provides excellent examples of what colors work together for colorblind people and what colors don’t. I plan on using the site to make sure I don’t use any of the “bad” example color schemes.
Another thing I have to be careful of is not triggering epileptic seizures. My site can’t “Contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period or flash below the general flash and red flash thresholds” (https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/photosensitive-epilepsy/web-design). My site will not contain anything that flashes or blinks. Epilepsy.org also provides many other examples of how to make your site more accessible for people for epilepsy.
For some reason, I can’t seem to think of another example of access or accessibility that wasn’t discussed in our module, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t more. It means that I have to do more research to make sure that I make my site accessible to anyone who wants to visit it.
This week in class we have been learning how to code. I am honestly not a fan. It’s too complicated for me, but I do like the feeling I get when I look at what I created from code. It feels like I have created something from nothing.
Well as you can see from the featured image, I was required to sketch out my website on a piece of paper. My website is dbwilliamsphotography.weebly.com if you would like to check it out. Sketching out the site made me realize what features worked better in different places. I could look at my entire sight as a whole and find where I need to add things and where I need to remove things in order to have my site look cohesive.
This week I had to watch two videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t14MwuWH_ts&feature=youtu.be and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSMHdqVa21A&feature=youtu.be) and look at a website (http://venturi-web-design.com/planning-a-website-organizing-your-content-a-short-guide-for-beginners/) in order to find tips on how to make my site better.
I learned that my main menu should show what my site is going to be about and be organized by importance. I learned to organize my pages into logical categories. Another tip mentioned was to include a home page, about page, and contact page. It is important to separate each service offered on to a separate page. And finally, it taught me to know and understand my target audience so I can know what content to include on my site.
The videos and website were very helpful this week. I especially liked the one about creating new pages on Weebly. I have been having trouble figuring it out and the video helped me to create some. Anyone having trouble with Weebly should check it out.