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Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is key to being well-known among your target audience. I watched a video that explained SEO very well. I understood what it was, but I did not know how it worked. I also now understand why it is important to tag my blogs when I post.

In creating my website, I plan to use tags as keywords that would cause my website to appear in a google or bing search. Keywords alone won’t make my site popular though. The title of my page would have to contain a common word that would be more likely to surface in a search. I know that if you use godaddy or a company like that to build a website, you can pay extra and they will cause your site to appear higher on a web search. I’m sure that is an example of being linked to a website that would make your site more likely to be searched.

I suppose there are disadvantages of SEO like, having too generic of a title or tags. Everyone that has a website is trying to be at the top. If the tags are too basic, then your site can be lost in the masses. Also, it is a lot of effort and work to try to become a popular search and work your way up the list of sites.

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Domain Hosting and Registration

I looked up a couple of domain name possibilities in WHOIS.net and even though they weren’t very creative, they were all available. I do not plan to buy a domain name. Right now, I have no need for a website. I do not have a business. However, if I decided to start a business, I don’t think it would be hard to come up with a domain name. I think I would start out using a free service like WordPress or Weebly until my business really started going somewhere. However, after my business took off, I’d buy a domain name. I would rather have free control over my site and I’d rather not have to have WordPress or Weebly in my name.

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Security and Privacy

I never really thought about security and privacy online. I know when you put yourself out there, you are susceptible to identity theft or being hacked, but I guess it’s one of those times when you think you are immune to such things.

The article titled “Three Essential Steps to Make Yourself More Hack-Proof” is an eye-opener to things that I’ve never considered when signing up for Facebook, Instagram or online banking. It is a good idea not to reuse passwords and it is also a good idea not to let people know you reuse passwords. The writer also talked about two-factor authentication. In his own words, “basically, it just means that when someone tries to log into an account from a new location (a different computer, a different phone, whatever) they also have to enter a code that’s sent to a trusted device. This usually means that you’ll get some sort of text message with a six-digit number you have to enter if you want to, say, log into Facebook from a computer in the library (bad idea!).” The last thing mentioned in the article was password manager.

I think everyone who has an account online should be wary of putting information online, but people who are communication majors, like myself, should be especially careful online because our jobs are basically online. We have to put ourselves out there. I may have a job one day as a blogger and this would be my office. It would be online and that makes me even more susceptible to being hacked.

Posted in Module

Online Learning

This week we talked about CSS in class. Basically editing your web page to make it more appealing. In the module, there was a website with a whole list of web design trainers. People who teach you how to use code to improve your website. There are a ton of them and they all teach differently and they all have expertise in different areas.

Personally I think “Don’t Fear the Internet” would be good for me.

This is an excerpt from the website creativebloq.com, “Don’t Fear the Internet is the brainchild of freelance typographer and illustrator Jessica Hische, and is aimed at similarly creative people who have little to no desire to do web design professionally – but at the same time don’t want an ugly cookie-cutter site showcasing their work.

Through short tutorial videos, you’ll learn how to take a basic WordPress blog and manipulate the CSS, HTML, and even some PHP, to match your aesthetic needs. So if you’re scared off by web design terminlogy and general geekdom, but like the idea of a more casual, good-humoured approach to learning, this is a great place to begin. The site is free to use, although donations are welcomed.”

After reading this, I determined that this would be the best place for me to learn. I do not care to be a computer expert. It does not interest me. I just need to know the basics. I do want to continue to blog and there are several changes I want to make even though I do not know how. This would be the perfect place for me to learn. I like short tutorials; don’t drag it out, you will lose me. I just need to know how to change the font. I like good humor. Humor me and I will hang on your every word. I like that it is free. I just need to know how to change this sentence purple and I do not want to pay for a whole month subscription just to learn that one thing. Plus I am more willing to donate to someone who has helped me instead of them insisting I pay (that is just how I feel about it).

The module also talked about MOOCs (massive open online courses). The question is how would this class, CA 260, be different if it were taught entirely online? I do not like that. The article that talked about MOOC also talked about the benefits of MOOC for the students and for the teachers, but I am an in-class-learner. I signed up for an online class this semester and within the first two days I dropped it. I am not dedicated enough to basically teach myself (because that is what happens in online classes. You teach yourself). I need student-teacher interaction. I need to be able to see my teachers face and say, “I do not understand the words you just said.”  I am a visual learner. I am not the only person like this. The article shared the percentage of students who actually stick with online classes. It wasn’t pretty. Sure it will change down the road and we may all be robots one day, but right now, MOOC is not a good idea (in my opinion).

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Content Management Systems

In my class module, the three content management systems discussed were: Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. I am using WordPress to write my blogs and I like this system a great deal. It is so easy to use and navigate.

I watched a video that basically introduced the idea of a CMS and he mentioned there are others besides the ones listed above. I am curious to know if there is a more favorable CMS than these three. However, I suppose if there was, it would have been mentioned with these.

I was under the impression that Drupal is the most popular and that made me wonder why. The process to install has apparently been simplified, even though it is still somewhat lengthy compared to WordPress. It also does not have the plugin and theme availability that Joomla has. When I read their about page, I noticed it was not as lengthy, or as detailed as the Joomla about page. That may not mean anything, but to me, it seemed that Joomla had more to offer.

Joomla has its problems too. It was stated in an article by Nitish Tiwari, that Joomla has the most confusing set up over Drupal and WordPress. I know that when I started my WordPress, it walked me through the process and I did not get hung up, or wonder which button I should press. However, according to Tiwari, Joomla has tons of menus and buttons, and the layout is a little confusing. That means someone like me would probably have a hard time getting anywhere with it. However, the Joomla about page repeated itself saying (basically) expert computer people would breeze through the set up and also have an easy time getting into the framework and changing it to look or do what they want.

WordPress is my favorite simply because I am blogging and I have no need to do anything complex. The layout is easy to read and installing was as simple has logging into Facebook. However, (it kills me they did this) WordPress put a link to Wikipedia in their about page! It says “For a bit more about WordPress’ history check out the WordPress Wikipedia page.” No, I do not want to read more information on Wikipedia. I read Wikipedia when I want to know how old Tanya Tucker is now. I want to read more information about a CMS on its official about page.

When it comes down to it, I would recommend Joomla to someone who is starting a business and wants to make a web page. I am not interested in Drupal at all. They did nothing to pull me in. WordPress is capable of handling a business page, but Joomla has better security and in the about page, it talked about why it would be great for businesses. It can be manipulated and changed to suit your needs. I know I said it can be confusing, but they do have support help and you can always hire someone to help you. I just feel that Joomla was designed for something of that nature.

Posted in Module

Writing and Managing Email

A few things happened this past week in class and in the module! In class we started learning Photoshop and I plastered my face across Princess Leia’s! It is fun and if used correctly, it is a very handy tool.

In the module, I learned how to set up a filter on email. I thought this was very helpful knowledge! For a while I was looking for a job and I turned in my resume to many places online. My inbox is full of SPAM! Now that I have learned how to use filters, I can sort through that stuff. I also set up a filter for “CA 260” so I can be more aware of emails about this class. It was easy: I just used the drop down button on the search bar, typed the appropriate email addresses, and then I tagged “CA 260.”

I also learned about writing emails on a professional level. Well it was more of a refresher. In community college, My Comp 1 teacher drilled professional emailing in me. Nevertheless, the sources I read were very helpful. I particularly enjoyed the article, “The Downton Abbey Guide to Email Etiquette.” Maybe that is because I watched all six seasons of that show. It is so good, go watch it! However, the writer of the article was short and clear in each point he made. One thing he mentioned, and I have noticed it as well, it is never a good idea to use ALL CAPS in writing an email. Nobody likes to be yelled at, even in email. He also talked about rereading the email before you send it and try seeing it from the reciever’s point of view. This is a good idea because you may not think you are sending something mean or hurtful, but the reader may not agree.

Overall there were many helpful tips in the article.

 

Posted in Module

Access and Accessibility

It is becoming more obvious to me that there are people on the internet who cannot view web pages the way others might. Accessibility of a web page has grown in importance and necessity. People with disabilities or poor service needs a website to cater to their needs.

I plan to include certain functions in my website like those mentioned in the video, “Tips to Make your Website Accessible.” This video explained the importance of checking the website to see if it works without images and using supportive text with images. Simple navigation for those who use keyboards only are also important. Sometimes a video cannot be viewed, therefore it is good to include captions in the video content. For those who use screen readers, it is good to avoid audio playing automatically when entering the web page. It is also a good rule of thumb to avoid using “jargon” that the average reader might not understand.

Another great article I read gave some very helpful tips. It expanded on the fact that not all who use these features are disabled. In this day and age, everyone has a mobile device and not every web page is compatible with smaller devices. When creating a website, it is good to keep this in mind, especially if considered from a business standpoint. There have been times when I want to possibly purchase something from my phone, but the web page I am on won’t allow me. In those cases, I have to put it off until I’m at a desktop or skip the deal all together. It is better all around if the website can adjust to the different formats. In fact, according to the article, it is so much better that the accessible websites gain more audiences, have reduced maintenance costs, and have better search results.

Posted in Module

Website Customization

When organizing a website, you want to make the most of the content you have. It is best to break the content down into categories and pages. This allows the reader to find all that is needed without wasting time sorting though a pile of information.

According to Videospot Online Marketing, your homepage should be a table of content for the rest of your website. This was helpful information to me because I was having a hard time deciding what I wanted on my homepage. I now know that I need to draw my reader in with an idea of what can be found on my site. I need to display what I can offer to my viewers and convince them that I have what they want if they keep exploring my website. I should involve the readers by having links to blogs and social media. Once links to other websites are posted to the main page, the user becomes instantly connected to all of the many facets that they desire.

The article “Organizing Website Content” was also helpful in knowing how my website should be laid out. The writer said that a website should be like a restaurant menu. My content should be categorized and each category should have its own page. Each page should be easy to navigate to from the home page. My website should cater to a specific audience and the audience should find the information that they need easily. Ultimately, my website should display an easily navigational layout that is user friendly to all audiences.

 

 

 

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Weebly

Setting up a weebly account is easy-peasy. The video provided in the module was very helpful, and I dare say I enjoyed watching it. The creators and editors of weebly have simplified the web design process so well that even I can do it. I went through a very easy sign up process and before I knew it, I was setting up my web page. I have not published it yet, because I’m not sure if I can continuously edit like I can my blog page. I like the fact that they give you themes to choose from. I sort of wish there were more to choose from, but then again, too many options and I would be overwhelmed. Another thing that I like is, once you have chosen a theme, your next step is choosing what you want and in what spot you want it. The whole process is broken down very nicely.

The theme I chose was a very friendly and cozy theme. I cannot remember the name of it, but I hope to use it to share my writing. People should feel comfortable and at home when reading. I want to provide my readers with that experience, and that is why I chose the theme that I have. I am a little bit of a perfectionist, but I know if I have the content, the website will do what I need it to do.

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Introduction to Blogging

I recently read an article called “The 12 Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Blog” by Brian A. Klems. I highly suggest reading it if you are new or old to blogging! It was a very helpful article. I even wrote down the points on a very large index card and I will keep it close as I continue to blog. As I read articles such as this, I like to skim over it again and see if the writer applied the very tips he/she just mentioned and see if it actually works. In this case, it did.

The first thing Klems mentioned in his article was “Find your focus” and I will not be afraid to admit, I have a hard time doing just that. I have an even harder time STAYING focused. I still have a great deal to learn such as, using links in my posts and using tags. I hope to learn these things, and continue to learn about writing and attracting readers because these things would be very useful in journalism.

I read another great blog written by Dan Shewan called, “How to Write an Awesome Blog Post in Five Steps.” He gave so many great tips and points about the writing process and I can certainly tell that I have a distance to go in my writing. I want to write about interesting things and draw readers in. In order to do that, I will strive to write about everyday things that people DO relate to. I want my readers to say, “I’m not alone!” or “Finally someone said it!” I want to be approachable and these articles were very helpful.