Building a foundation

Building a blog has always been a love-hate process for me. Those first few steps into a new project can be invigorating; you get a brief, vivid glimpse of the project’s real potential.

But if you’re anything like me, you then mentally exhaust yourself by spending an inordinate amount of time on (relatively) minor details like the site’s name, description and template.

I think I’ll just dive straight in this time.

WordPress comes highly recommended by several trusted colleagues and some sites I frequent. So far, it lacks that simple colorful pop that I’ve grown used to in Blogger’s more basic themes, but I suppose that’s a plus given the content I’ll be dealing with here.

A well-designed navigation menu at the top of the page is a must. It will allow me to create a few prominent, easily-accessible pages that feature, for example, my professional profile, or links to helpful sites and downloadable resources for my students.

I’ll be updating regularly on multiple general topics, so I’ll need to add a Categories widget to the sidebar. However, these topics often overlap, or deal with very specific sub-topics that deserve to be highlighted. That means I should also use tags, a list of a few relevant keywords that appears under each post and helps guide readers to similarly-tagged posts. I’m not sure I want to use a tags widget on the sidebar, though, as, like a textbook index, a list of tags can get quite lengthy. Tags can also make your blog more prominent in search engine results, so keep that in mind.

Header images (the title banner atop the site) can be tricky when you’re not a graphic artist. You could end up spending hours searching for just the right picture from a free image database, and then applying just the right font and dimensions. For now, I’ll just use plain text. The header image I eventually use won’t be very prominent. That said, I will be regularly posting Youtube videos, SoundCloud clips and pictures, so I’ll need a format that displays those media well alongside text.

With these requirements in mind, I’ve selected the Coraline theme. In the next post, we’ll discuss the process customising this blank slate to really make it my own.

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