Web

Overviews

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Blog

The term “blog” covers a wide array of online journaling genres. Blogs feature regularly posted texts, images, audio and/or videos and are designed to present the most recent posts at the top of the page. Blogs may be created by an individual or a community with shared interests. See also Video Blog and Audio Blog.

Recommended Sites:

WordPress Logo

  • WordPress.comThis online, open-source website builder has a built-in blog feature that is available for free. WordPress.com sets up the online hosting and has a variety of different themes with many features and plug-ins available. Upgrading to a paid account is not necessary or recommended for beginners, but does allow for more customization and storage space, as well as a custom domain name and removal of WordPress.com ads. (Note: We recommend WordPress.COM, not WordPress.ORG. The later option requires you find your own servers to host your site, so it is not recommended for those who are beginners or do not have the resources available.)

  • BloggerThis site is Google’s free tool for creating blogs. UW-Madison students can link Blogger to their G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps) account or any Google/Gmail account. There are a limited variety of themes available as well, but some customizations are limited to particular themes. This program is completely free, without ads, but in order to have a custom domain, you must pay an annual fee (typically between $10 and $80 depending on the domain name).

Tumblr Logo

  • TumblrThis website is often called a micro-blogging site because it is used mostly for shorter blog posts that include images or video; however, there is no limit to the length of each blog post. Unlike WordPress.com and Blogger, Tumblr is also a form of social media, encouraging users to interact (i.e., follow) other like-minded users/ blogs. This is a great tool for classes!

Linked In Logo

  • LinkedIn: This is a free social networking site that is designed for professional networking and has a built-in blog option. Similar to a Facebook profile, users create a LinkedIn profile page that has their basic information. There are less design customizations available on LinkedIn as compared to the other blogging options listed above. One downside of LinkedIn is the number of unsolicited emails you and your friends may receive if notifications are not turned off properly.
Other Available Sites:

  • Wix.comThis is a “free” website builder that has a built-in blog option. It is very similar to WordPress in its customizations and themes. However, in order to have no ads, you have to upgrade to a paid account, so it is not recommended.

For more on available “free” blogging sites, see On Blast Blog’s Article here.

Professional Website

Professional websites promote an individual person or group. These sites typically place accomplishments, professional interests, contact information and experience at the forefront of the design. The aim is to provide a window into a professional’s background and career.

Recommended Sites:

WordPress Logo

  • WordPress.comThis online, open-source website builder that is available for free. WordPress.com sets up the online hosting and has a variety of different themes with many features and plug-ins available. Upgrading to a paid account is not necessary or recommended for beginners, but does allow for more customization and storage space, as well as a custom domain name and removal of WordPress.com ads. (Note: We recommend WordPress.COM, not WordPress.ORG. The later option requires you find your own servers to host your site, so it is not recommended for those who are beginners or do not have the resources available.)

Linked In Logo

  • LinkedIn: This is a free social networking site that is designed for professional networking. Similar to a Facebook profile, users create a LinkedIn profile page that has their basic information. There are less design customizations available on LinkedIn as compared to WordPress.com. However, there are some customizations available in the profile, such as including a resume/CV, short descriptions, and more. One downside of LinkedIn is the number of unsolicited emails you and your friends may receive if notifications are not turned off properly.
Other Available Sites*:

  • Wix.comThis is a “free” website builder. It is very similar to WordPress in its customizations and themes. However, in order to have more customizations and no ads, you have to upgrade to a paid account, so we do not recommended it.

  • Academia.edu: This is an academic networking site targeting graduate students, academic staff, and faculty. Membership is free, and includes a personal page that can include a curriculum vitae, photo, contact information, and various scholarly activity (including publications, conference papers, etc.) There is a paid option that allows you to create a personal website, however, without the paid option, you only get a very basic profile page. As user, you are also likely to receive many unsolicited emails from Academia.edu.

*We do not recommend using Wix, Academia.edu, since they either contain excessive ads or require payment in order to have desirable features that are available for free from WordPress.com or LinkedIn.*

Portfolio

A portfolio site allows the creator to display their own work, attract clients, network, and apply for jobs or graduate school. Regardless of the medium, it places the work at the center of the structure and design of the site. Some portfolio sites also contain a personal blog, but the majority use a gallery-style site layout. Portfolios should be easy to navigate and contain a brief description of each piece, with an artist’s or professional statement.

It is important to consider whether an online portfolio is intended to be stand-alone, or paired with a professional website (see above).

There are many platforms to chose from when creating an online portfolio. Here is a list of the top 15 free portfolio hosting sites (from WebpageFX.com).

We also recommend looking into a blog-style site (see above).

Social Media Campaign

A social media campaign is a coordinated effort to reinforce or assist with a goal using one or more social media platforms (such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram). Unlike everyday social media use, campaigns are designed to focus on increasing an organization’s online presence and user interactions.

Social Media Comparison:

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  • Twitter: This site allows users to create posts or “tweets” that are 280 characters (formerly 140) in length or create a series of tweets for longer content. In order to gain visibility, Twitter users need to gain followers or use popular hashtags get their tweets circulated more. GIFs and memes are some of the most popular Twitter content. With regards to measuring your campaign impact, Twitter also has the best analytics for measuring tweet impacts.

Facebook Logo

  • Facebook: With the most number of users, Facebook is the largest of the social media sites. Users can create personal and/or organizational pages on Facebook and users can create posts, as well as upload images and videos. Facebook also has an option to create live video using a mobile device. While Facebook does not have limitations on post length or use of videos/images, in order to garner a large number of followers and/or visibility for posts, you will likely need to already have a large Facebook presence or a plan to gain large numbers of followers. Otherwise, the only way to make your posts more widespread will be to pay to advertise, making this a less desirable option. Additionally, organization/business pages on Facebook allow the admins to see the number of views a post has gotten.

Instagram Logo

  • Instagram: If your campaign is focused primarily on images or video, this is the option for you! Instagram is an visual sharing social media platform, that uses accompanying text and is primarily viewed on mobile devices. Like Facebook (their parent company), there is also a live video option. Also, like Twitter, Instagram users thrive on hashtags to widely circulate content. While all of the social media platforms listed here have a sharing option, it is believed that Instagram users are the most likely to share other users’ content. If you have a (free) business profile, you can also see some minor analytics, such as profile views and post views.

Want to read more comparison about Social Media campaigns? See ThriveHive’s article Comparing Social Media Platforms for Marketing.

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Working on something different?

The above options are just a few examples of web-based projects. Want help with something not listed here? Make an appointment with a DesignLab consultant to discuss how we can help!

Examples

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Software Support

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WordPress

Blogger

From Blogger.com:Blogger Logo
From Software Training for Students:

Tumblr

From Lynda.com:Tumblr Logo
From Tumblr.com
From Software Training for Students:

LinkedIn

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

From Lynda.com:Instagram Logo
From Instagram.com:
From Software Training for Students:

and more...

Are we missing a program or software that you would recommend to others? Email us at designlab@wisc.edu and we’ll do our best to add it here!