Building Your Own Website


So: the Internet. It’s kind of a thing, and it doesn’t appear to be going away. There are many things that are important about the Internet, but here are two that are germane for our class.

  • The Internet is a space where writing happens. A ton of it, actually.
  • The Internet is responsible in many ways for the rise of digital humanities, both through the dissemination of the tools and methods and the dissemination of the conversation about them.

For these reasons, learning how to make use of the Internet is important for the study of the digital humanities, especially in the context of a writing class. You of course know how to use the Internet for finding information, but you will now get some experience creating information: about yourself and your investigation of the digital humanities.

I have three goals related to digital humanities in asking you to build your own website:

  • Becoming facile with web publication (including managing a domain, deploying content management systems, and using HTML and CSS) is a good first step toward gaining skills you could use in digital humanities work.
  • It provides you a platform to begin doing and sharing that work with others in the digital humanities community.
  • It provides a fantastic chance to practice skrewmeneutics.

As for the writing class side of things, I’m asking you to build your own website as a chance to write yourself into the world. Deciding how to rhetorically position yourself in relation to your studies and your career goals is important. This is a chance to take a first stab at this process and why I’m asking that you consider getting a domain name that is somehow related to your own name.

The Nitty Gritty

Here are the ten things you need to do and when you need to do them.

  • Purchase a domain from and send me an email letting me know what your domain name is. Due, 5pm on 20 January.
  • Install WordPress on your domain. Due, 5pm on 22 January.
  • Choose a new theme to install on your site and activate it. Due, 5pm on 24 January.
  • Install Akismet as a plugin. Get an API key and activate it. Email me the API key. Due, 5pm on 27 January.
  • Sign up for a Gravatar and associate it with your principal email addresses. It’s helpful if your Gravatar is you, but not required. Due, 29 January.
  • Post first blog entry for the blogging assignment. Due, no later than 5pm on 31 January.
  • Create an “About” page. On that page write a brief paragraph or two about yourself that includes the following information: a brief paragraph that discusses what you’re studying generally in school and what your educational / career goals are. Include the image on that page that you’re using with your Gravatar. See for an example. Due, 5pm on 7 February.
  • Create one other static page about something. It could be where you post an assignment you do for class (think, Mrs. Dalloway). It could be about a hobby. Due, 5pm on 14 February.
  • Find one thing that you wish your website could do. Find a plugin to do it. Install that plugin. Send me an email with the problem and the name of the plugin that fixed it. Due, 5pm on 21 February.
  • Write a three- to four-page paper in which you reflect on the build-a-website assignment. Once you’ve written that paper, email it to me as a PDF. And then post it to your blog. It does not count as one of your blog posts for the blogging assignment. Due, 5pm on 28 February.  Some questions to consider are the following:
    • What have I learned by building my own website and managing my own domain?
    • Did completing this assignment help me learn new things about the digital humanities?
    • Has “writing” myself into the world changed how I think about representing myself to others?
    • What would I change about this assignment to make it more relevant, informative, enjoyable, challenging, or interesting?


Each of the requirements for this assignment will be graded as pass/fail. If you complete a requirement on time, you will receive 5 points. Completing all ten of them on time nets a total of 50 points.