Blog Modifications

When this blog was originally setup to post my master’s work to each week, I wanted to just throw something together. The idea was that I had plenty of time to get it ready before working on my capstone. It was also a bit of procrastination, which I sometimes wonder if that is a curse or a blessing.

This week, I started to take a hard look at my master’s blog. It was bland, boring and did not describe who I was and what I was accomplishing at Quinnipiac University.

My initial response was that I wanted to change the theme all together, so I purchased a new theme that I could customize and make my own. The downfall to this was I do not have enough time in a week to switch everything to a new theme and go live, so I setup a staging location to build the new site.

In the meantime—while I rebuild my site—I went ahead and made some immediate necessary changes.

The first thing I noticed was my index page was just a listing of my most recent blog posts – a boring, running list. Without knowing anything about my site, a visitor might be overwhelmed by the listing and leave.

Instead of a running list, I designated my “About Me” page as my homepage. At least when people visit the site, they will know this was created by me.

I also added a slider toward the top of the page that scrolls through my five most recent posts. On a black and white theme, the color from the posts brings a little “pop!”

The top navigation bar originally consisted of “Home” and “About Me.”

Since I want people to see work based on themes that I have learned, I created categories in WordPress and went back to the stories to give them a designation other than “uncategorized.”

Once that was finished, I figured out how to expand on the menu by category and created items for “Interactive Media Writing,” “Visual Design Projects,” “Social Media Planning,” and “User Experience.” Although some of these seem wordy, they can always be modified shorter later.

The original homepage listing of blog posts included boxes on the right side of the page for a calendar, most recent comments and more. Instead of having the boxes, I changed the layout so the About Me page takes up the full width. The right-hand side boxes can still be seen on internal pages associated with the blog posts.

The menu down at the footer of the site included several items associated with themes I downloaded. This menu was considered a “secondary menu,” so I changed this to reflect the primary menu at the top.

The idea of several of these changes was to learn more about the WordPress content management system. The more plugins you add, the more complex this CMS gets. The changes also allowed me to add structure, which it seriously lacked.

More work needs to be done on my site, but over the course of this semester and the final year in Quinnipiac University’s Interactive Media and Communications Master’s program, I will create something much more useful – a tool per se, that I can use to show off my mastery of skills.

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