Over time, I’ve found many teaching peers say they would like to build a website but are ‘stuck’ on how to do it. Some want a classroom website for students and parents, or as a place to house their educational resources, or a simple blog to share their thoughts and grow their professional learning network. (PLN)
Well, it’s really not that difficult, nor expensive, anymore.
Gone are the days that you have to know code to make a good looking website. Yes, coding is a good skill to have, but if that’s not your cup of tea then this blog post is for you. Either read on or skip now to this Google Slides deck
to learn how. (yes, it’s 51 slides but packed with animated gifs to guide you through the process) The focus of this deck is Google Sites, which is very user-friendly and the features continue to evolve. Additionally, you can connect a custom domain name for less than $20 USD.
Before you begin, a little thinking.
First, identify your purpose.
Are you reinventing something already out there, or starting a personal and unique journey that you will enjoy and maintain? It could be a class website, a place for student e-portfolios, a resource bank for your school or professional organization (like a GEG or Edcamp), your teacher musings, an online resume….anything, really!
Second, identify your audience.
Is it your students, parents, or your PLN? If you target a specific audience with content that is relevant to their interests they are far more likely to follow you. If it is too broad, it may be more difficult to build a following. (if that is what you want) Admittedly, this Learning Light Bulbs blog is very broad - anything related to teaching and learning. I knew this when I started it, so I feel less pressure to share each week.
Third, explore your options.
What works best for your interests, time, and sense of expression. Companies such as Wix, GoDaddy and Squarespace (and others) are popular. While you don’t have to know code to build from their platforms, they do have a steeper learning curve. The (New) Google Sites is very user-friendly relying on simple clicks and a drag-drop method to building your website, even compared to (Classic) Google Sites. Blogger is another Google option but is more complicated. (FYI, this blog is built with Blogger)
Finally, set time aside to get started and follow through!
A good idea is to look at some sample sites made with (New) Google Sites and online support resources before you begin.
Good luck, have fun, and paste your site or thoughts in the comments section if you have something to share!
Xu Chu’s Group