With most of this week’s readings focused on implementing digital history projects, it makes sense that WordPress is one of the practicums. This website is where our course blog is hosted, but also can be used for many other projects. With WordPress you can create a website, an online portfolio, a blog, and even an online store.
To start working with this I decided to create a site using their platform to see how difficult or easy it would be. The first interesting thing I noticed, is that while they prefer you buy a domain that they host, there is still a free option and it’s not terribly buried in the words on the page. From there, the screens take you through how to post on your website. To spare the details, it was pretty easy to understand and make a homepage in about ten minutes or so—depending on how in depth you wanted your webpage to be.
More than just creating a webpage to use at will, WordPress also has templates that you can use to change up your webpage and customize it without worrying about coding. There are many themes to choose from for free, and if you pay there are even more available to you.
But, for those intrigued, you can also work from a coding editor on your own page if you so wish.
Anyway, back to WordPress for those of us who cannot code. It’s very easy to create a nice looking page/blog/portfolio and you can do it for free, which is arguably the best part about anything these days.
Working within WordPress a little more for this week especially and regularly for class everyday I can see many benefits for the Digital Humanities field. For non-profits or scholars who have a small budget or a non-existent budget, this provides an option for them to get their work out there. Especially relating to the discussion in class last week about the acceptability of digital work for scholars, WordPress could be a part of a solution to that. Scholars could create a website to showcase their work both in academia and the digital realm. While this does not answer the question of how to encourage the broader community to accept that digital work is becoming more and more relevant, it may make it more accessible. And accessibility is often the start of any solution to the scholarly community, in my experience.
For small institutions or non-profits that are either just getting started, or even larger ones that are trying to switch things up and reach a different demographic than they traditionally have this is a great option. While I was not willing to pay money for a class assignment, there are paid features that allow you to do even more with the site. While there is a slight paywall with these options, for personal use $4/month is not too steep of a price. Other options have a higher cost associated with them, but if an institution or individual had the budget for it—it’s not a bad price to pay to have a web presence in today’s world.
To end this post, I’m impressed with WordPress after looking into the many things you can accomplish using just their free service. I think the availability of resources like this to the Digital Humanities community should not be undervalued and could help many different organizations, if they’re willing to explore a little of what WordPress has to offer.