WordPress Blog Assignment

Points: 25
Due date: Friday, May 11 at 11:59 p.m.
Resources: WordPress.com
Overview: Create a blog that will be used to publish content for this course, and customize it with template options and an “About” page

The first assignment in COM210 is creating the blog where you will publish multimedia content for the rest of the semester. Although there are numerous blogging and web publishing platforms available to use for free, we use WordPress in COM210 because it is very popular and offers many options for customization.

NOTE: If you have questions or would like assistance to complete this assignment, please post in the “General Discussion” forum in Blackboard under “Discussions.” You can also contact your instructor about office hours.

LOOKING AHEAD | As mentioned in the course syllabus and Week 1 materials, you will be choosing a course topic so your multimedia projects will have a consistent theme throughout the semester. Before starting this assignment, you may want to read about choosing your course topic in the Topic Introduction Post assignment for Week 2.

Part 1: Create a WordPress.com blog

The video below shows an overview of how to set up your WordPress blog. You should follow the written step-by-step instructions to make sure your blog is correctly set up for this course:

stop-symbolHave you completed the Week 1 readings, including the Introduction to Web Publishing chapter? This includes context and vocabulary that you will need to fully understand the following instructions.

1. Create a free blog account at WordPress.com.

• A free account without upgrades is sufficient for what we’re doing in this course. You are welcome to upgrade to a paid account if you’d prefer to have your own domain name or other advanced features, but you do not need to purchase anything.

• You may be prompted to choose options for what your blog is about and how it will look, but don’t worry too much about this — you will change these settings later.

• One very important setting is choosing your domain name, because this will become the permanent URL for your blog. Your name is always a good choice, if available. Avoid generic names (such as “wsuclassblog”) and any names that are unprofessional.

Part 2: Customize and format your blog

1. Access your blog’s administrative dashboard, which is usually located at http://domain.wordpress.com/wp-admin/ — where “domain” is the name you chose for your blog.

• Your blog has two back-end dashboards — the standard view is designed to simplify the process, and the admin view includes additional options for your blog settings. You will use the admin view for this course because it provides more options, and because it is more similar to the version of WordPress used as a CMS by many professional organizations.

Here is a quick video about how to access both dashboards:

• If you’ve never used WordPress before, you may want to peruse this start-up guide to become familiar with the layout and vocabulary.

2. From the menu on the left, choose Appearance > Themes. Here, you will be able to select a Theme, which is what WordPress calls the various templates that change the look and layout of your blog. (You may have selected a theme when you first signed up, but you can change your selection here.)

Choose one of the following three themes:

  1. Baskerville
  2. Hemingway Rewritten
  3. Twenty Thirteen


• You can find these themes easily by using the search bar at the top of the Themes page.


• Changing the theme does not affect your content, so you can change your theme as many times as you want. The theme does affect other aspects of your site, such as how your posts and menus appear.

• Later in the course, you will be able to switch to any theme of your choice if you prefer a different style or layout.

3. Next, customize the appearance of your blog. From the left menu, go to Appearance > Customize to bring up the customization interface. Change the following settings:

Site Identity: Change your Site Title and Tagline so it represents your personal blog. For example, you could use your name for the site title and “My portfolio for COM210 at Washington State University” as the tagline.

Header Image: Upload a new image for the main space at the top of your website. This should be an image that belongs to you, not a copyrighted image taken from another website. (If you don’t have a good photo on hand, take a new one.)

Widgets: This is the WordPress term for extra content modules that display in sidebars and footers with social media icons, lists of recent posts, images and more. Choose at least two widgets to add to your site, and edit or delete any default widgets that are unrelated to your site content.

Colors & Backgrounds: Choose a different color scheme if you prefer.

Fonts: Choose different fonts for your text if you prefer.

Make sure all text is readable on your customized site! Do not use dark text on top of a dark photo, for example. You will not receive credit for your content if we cannot read it.

4. From the menu on the left, there are several items to change under Settings > General.

  • Edit the “Site Title” and “Tagline” for your blog if you have not already done so.
  • Change your time zone to “Los Angeles” so your posts will appear with the correct time stamp.

Other settings to explore:

  • Settings > Reading — Options for where and how your posts appear
  • Settings > Discussion — How you’ll be notified about any comments
  • Settings > Sharing — Ways to connect your blog with other social media
  • Users > My Profile — Choose how your name appears on your posts
  • Appearance > Widgets — Choose items to appear in your blog sidebars
  • Appearance > Menus — Customize your blog menu(s)

Need technical help with WordPress settings? Find detailed instructions on many topics at the WordPress Support portal.

Part 3: Add an “About” page

Nearly all blogs have an “About” page that describes the author or organization that manages the blog. Here are some examples from popular blogs:

Here’s how to create your own “About” page:

1. In your WordPress menu, select Pages. By default, WordPress usually starts with an existing sample page. Select that page so you can edit it, or delete the default page and add a new one.

2. In the page editor interface, craft your personalized description of 200-500 words. Include:

  • Your name (please email your instructor if you have privacy concerns and prefer not to use your full name)
  • Some demographic and background information about yourself
  • The purpose of the blog (e.g., to post the media content you have created about your topic for COM210)
  • Some interests and/or hobbies
  • Your career goals
  • A picture of yourself

Not sure how to use the WordPress interface to edit Pages or add images? Here is a detailed explanation of the Page interface and here are instructions for adding images to the content area.

3. Publish your “About” page so it becomes visible on the front end of your blog.

• Visit the front end of your site (located at http://domain.wordpress.com) to make sure your “About” page is showing up. Most, but not all, themes automatically display links to published pages.

• You can edit Pages after they’ve been published, if you notice any errors or changes you want to make.

Having trouble getting your Page to publish? You may still need to check your email to confirm your new WordPress account.

Part 4: Submit your completed assignment

1. Once you are happy with the look and content of your blog, copy your blog’s public URL. This should be formatted as http://domain.wordpress.com, NOT https://wordpress.com/page/domain.wordpress.com/XXXX (this link is only visible to the owner of the blog).

2. Find the correct assignment dropbox in Blackboard: Blackboard > Assignments > WordPress Blog Assignment.

3. Paste your blog URL in the text submission box under “Assignment Submission.”

4. Finally, click “Submit.” Make sure the submission is fully complete before closing the browser window or your laptop, or it may not go through.

Please note: for the sake of your success in this course, it’s vital that you learn how to correctly submit your WordPress URL to Blackboard at the beginning of the semester. If you still have questions about how to correctly submit, I invite you to take a look at the below tutorial, as it runs through the whole process in great detail.

Grading Rubric

This assignment is graded for completion. All steps must be completed successfully to receive full credit.

Achievement Level Missing/ Minimal Partially Complete Complete
Blog Creation 0 points
Blog not created or not submitted correctly
5 points
Blog created; minimal or no customization
10 points
Blog created and successfully customized
”About” Page 0 points
No visible “About” page
7 points
“About” page published, but without all required information
15 points
“About” page published with all required information explained clearly