Since the beginning of early October I have built upon my personal ‘Domain’ website designed to showcase my creative writing and various assignments online. The purpose of this is to create an online portfolio for prospective employers to sample allowing them to develop a better understanding of me as a professional. Additionally, my website has provided me with a platform to voice my thoughts and academic work to a wider audience which enhances the possibility of networking.
I found it challenging to choose a theme that fit the purpose of my blog; this was a challenging task as the majority of default themes available fit the needs of business organisations rather than personal websites. To combat this I chose to customize one of the business templates into a personal blog. I did this by creating an ‘About Me’ description within the sidebar of my blog which is a typical convention of personal websites that gives viewers of my blog a brief introduction of who I am as a writer. In order for viewers to learn more than what just appears on the sidebar I have also included an ‘About’ page which will go into detail about my goals and accomplishments. I also found it most challenging to set up the menu tabs for my website and this is one feature I spent the most time learning. To combat this I watched various YouTube tutorials such as ‘The Ultimate WordPress Menu Tutorial (2017)’ that was able to break down each step in an understandable manner. Once I understood the fundamentals I was able to include more intricate features such as the addition of a drop down menu that appears once you hover over my tabs; by overcoming my difficulties my ‘Domains’ blog has strengthened my resilience and taught me transferable skills.
After looking at other personal professional websites I noticed the importance of creating a brand image that is recognised by employers. The professional blog of Devon Stank featured a personalised logo that presents him as a professional expert within his particular industry. This inspired me to create my own simple logo that I placed in the sidebar of my blog and is also featured in the site logo panel that appears in the browser tab. The creation of a logo is the first step toward building my brand image which helps to present myself as a professional when it comes to writing.
So far I have found the draft tool most useful when it comes to sculpting the posts on my blog; this feature allows me to refine my work at anytime and preview how it will appear later on my page. This tool has taught me the importance of amending my work especially since it will reach a wider audience. I have also installed various useful plugins such as ‘Alxs Extensions’ which has given me the opportunity to extend upon my theme with the addition of features such as social share links and custom sidebars which I have added to my blog. An additional plugin I have added which has proven useful is ‘Smush Image Compression and Optimization’ where I am able to resize and compress images to an appropriate standard without using an external application to do so. A tool I have not had the opportunity to use yet is the WordPress import tab; this allows me to import content from other blogging websites such as Tumblr and Blogger. This proves incredible useful as I am a member of various blogging sites and this tool would allow me to transfer archived posts to my most up to date blog efficiently.
Another ‘Domain’ application I have used is ownCloud; a file application that allows you to sync and share documents across any electronic device. This has been useful in making sure I have backups and an easy access to documents and pictures so I’m still able to post when I’m away from my personal laptop. In regards of the future of my ‘Domain’ website I would like to develop my coding skills to create compelling features that set me apart from other blogs; an addition I’d like to make is the subtle feature of hovering over icons to change the colour of my widgets. Though I have social media icons on my blog I have yet to link them to my professional Twitter and Facebook. Within the near future I hope to create these profiles and widen my online platform by doing so. Finally, I would like to implement a timeline into my blog; this would be a dynamic way of presenting my work experience in a visually appealing manner.
To conclude through constructing my ‘Domain’ website I have expanded upon my technical and practical skills as I am now familiar with the use of plugins and coding. Not only has my blog provided me with a platform to share my writing and experiences but ‘Domains’ has taught me transferable IT skills I will be able to apply in a future professional position. Each visit to my blog provides me with the opportunity to track my progress along my English and Creative Writing course proving it to be an essential tool in my learning.
List of References
Mecham, S. (2017) Buildapreneur [online] available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERpr0TCnf4w&t=106s> [27 December 2018]
Stank, D. (2018) Harrisburg Web Design and Squarespace Developer [online] available from <https://www.devonstank.com> [27 December 2018]