Sites@UMW is free to every member of the UMW community. It provides users with a quick way to craft a website without worrying about performing maintenance but provides limited options for customization.
How to Sign Up?
Step 1: Visit UMW Domains
The first step to gaining your own Sites@UMW account is to visit UMW Domains. Once there, you’ll be on a landing page detailing some differences between Sites@UMW and Domain of One’s Own. Once you are sure that Sites@UMW is the one you want, scroll down and click on the button that says “Sign Up for Sites@UMW” (Fig. 1).
Step 2: Type of Account
After you click the button, you will be taken to a page that will give you more information about Sites@UMW. At the bottom of the page you will be asked whether you want to create a user account or a user account and a site (Fig. 2). Creating just a user account will allow you to join a professor’s website and creating a user account with a site will allow you to create your own website.
Depending on which one you select, there will be slightly different steps for you to follow.
If you picked a user account, the steps below are for you.
Step 1: Dashboard
Once you click this option, you will be taken to this dashboard after signing in with your Net ID and password (Fig. 3).
In this dashboard, there are a couple of things you can do.
My Sites is one of the things you can click on your dashboard (Fig. 4).
When you click on it, you will be given a list of all the UMW sites you’ve made. At the top corner, you’ll also have the option to create a new site (Fig. 5).
On your dashboard, you will also have a button for getting support if you need help (Fig. 6).
One important thing to set up is your profile. You get to your profile by going to the sidebar and clicking the profile button (Fig. 7).
If you join a class website and want your name to appear on your posts and comments, this is where you would go to accomplish this. You can also do things like set a profile image here.
Step 2: Creation
Now with all the details and the set up complete, you can create your own website.
Create an Account & Site
If you picked a user account & site, the steps below are for you after you log in with you’re UMW ID.
Creating Your Site
If you are building your site, the next step will include picking your Site Domain, Site Title, and Privacy settings (Fig. 3).
Your site domain comes first in the URL, in front of umw.sites.net. There is no way to remove umw.sites.net from the end of your site URL. If you want a more personal URL and more creative freedom, you should create a Domain of One’s Own account.
The site title is what you want your website to be called. You can always change this later.
The last thing is selecting your privacy settings. Here you can choose whether or not you want your site to be visible to search engines.
When you finish selecting your answers for these options, you can hit the button to create your site and start building your site out.
Sites@UMW is a platform available to any member of the University of Mary Washington community. It provides users with a quick way to craft a website without worrying about performing maintenance but provides limited options for customization.
Price: Free for UMW students, faculty, and staff.
Platforms: Any web browser
Recommended for: Beginners- This allows users to create a website quickly but limits the amount of customization it allows.
Sites@UMW allows users to start building on the web quickly and easily. It uses WordPress, but users will have limited customization options, such as a small select set of themes and plugins. It is recommended for beginners, class websites, and short-term or simple projects.
You will get to pick a part of the URL where your project is stored (ex. “yourname.umwsites.net”). However, you will not get to change the “umw.sites.net” portion of the URL. This is because your website at Sites@UMW is a subdomain of umwsites.net.
When creating a site for a class, you will often be asked to use WordPress. You may also be considering WordPress for a personal project. But what exactly is WordPress?
Open-Source Content Management System (CMS)
WordPress is described as an Open-Source Content Management System or CMS. Open-Source software permits users to use, study, change, and distribute it and its code to anyone. Content management systems are software that allows users to create and modify digital content. This means that WordPress is software that will let its users create and modify digital content and then share it with anyone.
What is WordPress Used for?
WordPress is used to help users create and build their websites. (The website you currently are on is a great example of what you can do by using WordPress.)
What do I Need to Know to Use it?
WordPress is a great tool for beginners and more advanced users alike.
After initially installing it, WordPress will offer to walk you through some of the main features, such as adding text. WordPress’s website is a good source for learning more about how to use the software, alongside Domain of One’s Own Guides. You may also book a consultation with a DKC consultant who would happily walk you through learning how to use WordPress. If you don’t have an appointment, you can come in during the hours the DKC is open as a walk-in and be assisted as long as one of our consultants are free.
There are also two different forms of WordPress. One is Sites@UMW, and the other is Domain of One’s Own. Sites@UMW comes with limited customization features, such as only allowing a few plugins and themes, whereas, with Domain of One’s Own, you can install any plugin or theme you desire.
There are a couple of common misconceptions when it comes to WordPress.
Just for Blogging
One misconception about the site is that WordPress is just used for blogging. However, since its creation, it has become equipped to deal with various types of sites. These include e-commerce sites, business websites, online portfolios, and more. However, when using WordPress from UMW, you cannot use the website to make money.
Some people believe that WordPress sites are not secure. While it is true that WordPress websites can suffer from security threats, usually this occurs only if users fail to maintain them properly. You will not have to worry about this if you use Sites@UMW.
UMW and WordPress
UMW offers two ways to use WordPress. One is Sites@UMW, and the other is Domain of One’s Own. They function differently, but both will allow you to use WordPress to build a website.
Remember to hit the save changes button at the top right when that is done.
How to add an input with two fields
When using the input box, you can only add one value per box. To add multiple values, you will have to use the Add Input button to create a box for each value (Fig. 13). If you fail to do this step, multiple inputs will simply be treated as one input.
Search Bar Questions
How to search
To search your Omeka website, you can use a search bar that is always present in the upper right corner of the admin side (Fig. 14).
The search bar on the front end of your website may be a little harder to find as it will vary by them.
You will want to type in a keyword when using the search bar. Based on your search settings, this search might lead to this keyword pulling up items, files, collections, and pages.
How to Change Search Settings
To change your search settings, click on settings in the upper right corner (Fig. 15).
Next, you want to navigate to Search.
Listed below are the different settings for your Omeka search bar (Fig. 17). You can make it look for a Keyword, Boolean, or an Exact Match. You can have it pull Items, Files, Collections, or all three.
You can also use the Hide Elements plugin, which will allow you to hide elements from the search bar.
Head to your Domain of One’s Own’s cPanel. Once you have logged in and reached your cPanel, under featured applications, you need to find Omeka (Fig. 1)
This will take you to a page telling you a little bit about the application you intend to install- in this case, Omeka. When you are ready you can click install this application, which will be located to the right of the screen (Fig. 2).
Step 2: Choosing the settings
Now you should be on a settings page where you can select what domain you would like to install Omeka.
Location is where you will choose which domain or subdomain you would like Omeka to install.
Under Domain (Fig. 4), you can click the arrow to get a drop-down menu listing your main domain and all of your subdomains. There will be two versions of each domain. One will start with http and another will start with https. It is important to select the one with https as it will make your site more secure.
Underneath Domain will be a bar labeled as Directory (Optional). You should delete the cms that is auto-filled to this box. If left in, cms will appear at the end of your website’s URL (Fig. 5).
Below Location is Version. Omeka will automatically be downloaded in the newest version and this should be kept the way it is. Lower down in Version you will have the option to choose whether or not you wish for Omeka to automatically be updated once you download it. We recommend you keep the default settings to ensure your site remains up to date (Fig. 6)
The next set of options is under Settings (Fig. 7). Here, you will set an administrator username and password. Unlike WordPress, it is important that you can remember these as you will need them to sign into your account and use Omeka. You can also change your password and username here at any point.
You can change your website title now if you would like to, but if you decide to wait or change the title later, that’s fine.
Final Installation Step
The final step in installing Omeka is to hit the install button at the bottom right corner (Fig. 8)
Step 3: Launching Omeka
Now that Omeka has been installed, you can access your Omeka profile at any time by logging into your cPanel through Domain of One’s Own. Your new Omeka site should be underneath Applications (Fig. 9)
You can click on your new Omeka site. You will be taken to a page with information about your Omeka site and three links (Fig. 10).
The first link will take you to what people visiting your website will see. The second ends with /admin/ and is what you will click to access the back end of your website, where you’ll be able to make edits or add to the Omeka site. The third and final link takes you to forums where people post about Omeka. This is a useful place to find information if you are experiencing issues with your website.
Unlike with applications like WordPress, the admin username and password won’t automatically fill in for you. Instead, you will have to log in using the password and username that you set up earlier (Fig. 11).
After these are typed in, you will be in the backend of your Omeka account and can start editing.
Themes and Plugins
Now that your Omeka is up and running, it will probably be helpful to check out the themes and plugins available to you that allow your site to have more capabilities and customization. To do that, you can check out omeka.org and can click on Themes or Plugins on the landing page at the top (Fig. 12).
Themes affect the layout of your website, and are important when it comes to design. To see the available themes, you click on themes at omeka.org (Fig. 13).
These themes can be sorted either alphabetically or by how recently they were added (Fig. 14).
Once you find a theme you like, you can either click on the theme to receive more information about it or hit the download button (Fig. 15).
After you click the download button, the theme will be downloaded onto your computer. With the theme downloaded, navigate to your cPanel and scroll down until you find your file manager located underneath Files (Fig. 16).
Click on file manager and find your website before clicking on the themes folder (Fig. 17).
Once there, you will want to click on the upload folder at the top (Fig. 18).
You’ll then be prompted to click to select which file to upload (Fig. 19).
Next, you will have to unzip the file that you uploaded. To do that, you will have to click on the zipped file and press extract (Fig. 20).
When you do this, you can add a new name for the unzipped file (Fig. 21).
Sometimes these files will end up in the domain folder instead of the folder for themes, so after completing this step, it’s important to look and see where these files may have ended up. If this happens you can drag your theme back into the theme folder.
With a theme now uploaded into your file manager, you can go to the dashboard of your Omeka site and click on appearance (Fig. 22).
Now, on the themes page, you should see a new theme has appeared (Fig. 23)
To activate your new theme, you can click Use this Theme.
If you want to make more adjustments to the theme, you can hit the Configure button (Fig. 24)
You can access plugins the same way as themes. Instead of clicking on themes at the top of omeka.org, you can click plugins (Fig. 25). They will also be sorted in the same way, recently added or alphabetically.
When you find the plugin you want you can click on it for more information and when you are ready you can hit the download button (Fig. 26).
Returning to the File Manager, you’ll want to find the folder underneath your domain labeled Plugins (Fig. 27).
Following the same steps as with a theme, you will upload the plugin in and extract it from the zip file.
To activate your new plugin, head to your website dashboard and click on plugins (Fig. 28).
After you click Plugins, you find the plugin you want and hit install (Fig. 29).
After you complete this step, your plugin should be installed and up and running (Fig. 30).
Consultations seemed like the hardest part starting out and I was really nervous before the first one. However, after doing a few they began to feel more natural and I started to learn how to better explain what I knew in a way other people would understand. The most challenging one was creating a PowerPoint on Canva, which I had never done before. During the consultation, I learned how it works while working with my mock guest. During these consultations, I gained confidence in helping others with systems I know how to use myself.
I have used Canva before and felt like I was coming to understand it pretty well, but I had never used Piktochart. This meant I learned a lot when I had to use Piktochart to make an infographic.
While I had used Canva before, I still learned quite a bit about it.
Before a mock consultation with Mandy and Edmund, I had never built a presentation on Canva. When we were doing it, I learned a lot about how building the slides works, the different presentation modes, and what the timer at the top meant (even though I was stuck on it for a while).
Later, Mandy revealed to me that despite the fact I thought Piktochart was the only one with the charts, Canva will also allow you to make charts. This was a great discovery as it allowed me to make the charts used for this blog on Canva.
Piktochart was completely new to me, so I booked an appointment with Mandy. She explained Piktochart to me and I was delighted to find it functioned a lot like Canva. I was a little less thrilled when I learned I would receive only two downloads and only be able to have 5 designs on my account at once if I was not willing to pay for it.
Difference Between Them
By practicing with both, I learned the pros and cons of Canva and Piktochart.
Before starting here, I had most of my skills in Domain of One’s Own and WordPress. I knew how to sign up for it, create a subdomain, install an application to the domain, post in WordPress, and how to customize WordPress. However, there was still a lot I learned.
One of the skills I was most happy to start learning was troubleshooting. I had never been inside the files manager before the task was assigned to fix a WordPress blog where we were unable to get into the backend. (I also didn’t know it was called a backend before working here.) Using WordPress’s guide, I was able to navigate through what might be causing the White Screen of Death before realizing it was the latest theme installed. I guess now I also know to add easy-blogily to the list of themes to tell people not to get alongside Adventure Journal.
Changing the Adminstrator’s Name and Adding More
During my mock consult with Bob, I had to help Bob add people to Bob’s blog and make it so everyone had their own name. I was stuck and I couldn’t find any good guides (admittedly this is because I needed one, at that moment and whenever I need one I seem unable to find it). I asked Adura (who found the guide very easily) to assist me. During this, I learned how to add more administrators to a blog. Next, I had to learn how to change the name. Assuming it was in the same place where you added people, I was able to look at the options available and figure out how to do it. I was later able to assist someone else with this newfound knowledge.
While I have played around with menus before I learned more about them!