I wrote this paper for a music history course in Graduate School. I think it might have been a continuation of an earlier paper, because I grew up in Peterborough, NH and the McDowell Colony was always just there.
I believe this paper has value for designers and those interested in design because the subject of the project, Edward MacDowell, was a brilliant American Composer whose wife was dedicated to artistic growth and nurturing.
I accomplished this using my newly acquired knowledge and skills from college coursework, with the belief that it was the only authentic way to build websites.
I had also completed a course in Content Management Systems (CMS) that focused primarily on WordPress. It was originally designed just for blogs, but it has evolved to be the number 1 platform for all types of websites.
During the class, we built a small WordPress website, but I considered it to be for amateurs without much, if any coding knowledge. I didn’t think that many developers would use it, or that very many “real” websites would be built with it.
Well, I’m here today to tell you that I was very wrong!
As of this year (2022), WordPress runs 42.9% of the entire internet. That’s astonishing! Just think about the numbers. Okay, okay, I’ll give them to you. That’s around 450,000,000 websites.
The growth of WordPress use over the years is phenomenal. Here are the stats of its global market share from 2017 to 2021:
Of all CMS systems in use anywhere and everywhere, WordPress owns 62.5% of the market, meaning that it’s the most popular CMS of them all for the 7th year in a row.
Many well-known Fortune 500 and internet companies use WordPress, including the New York Observer, New York Post, TED, Thought Catalog, Williams, USA Today, CNN, Fortune.com, TIME.com, National Post, Spotify, TechCrunch, CBS Local, and NBC.
WordPress is the fastest growing CMS, with roughly 500+ new sites being built daily in the top 10 million websites on the web (compared to Shopify’s and Squarespace’s 60-80).
27 posts are published around the world on WordPress sites every second.
37 million global Google searches for “WordPress” are made every month.
WordPress has been translated to 205 languages.
The keyword “WordPress” gets googled around 2.7 million times every month.
Just one more: WordPress.com gets more unique visitors than Amazon (126 million per month vs. 96 million per month).
Anyway, I think you probably get the point – WordPress is awesome!
Still, as awesome as it is, it can get lonely and disagreeable if it doesn’t get attention. It needs love and care, just like every other website in the world.
So, if you are 1 of the almost every 3 businesses that use WordPress, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can just install a bunch of maintenance plugins and then forget about it. All of those plugins will have continual updates that need to be managed.
In fact, you can count on regular updates to plugins, widgets, add-ons or your theme about every week. You need to be careful though, because installing too many of those helpful, little tools, or downloading outdated or conflicting versions can cause insidious performance problems. A few of the more common include, very slow page loading times, missing content, broken links, layouts and features, and various rendering issues with your images and videos.
Caring for Your Website
Our website maintenance and improvement guide, Caring for Your Website was written with WordPress in mind. It contains targeted tips and useful resources, including a number of efficient and effective plugins that have been time tested and frequently recommended.
If you have been experiencing issues with your WordPress website, want better performance, or you just want to learn how to properly maintain it, click the button below to download your free copy. Your website will thank you!
Let’s say that you have a killer idea for a new business website. It’s important that you stand out, but you don’t really know where to start. You’ve looked around online, but there is just too much information! How do you begin? Well, I’m glad you asked that question!
Before you start it’s important to have a clear understanding of some fundamentals. You need to know how to create the basis for the overall design and identify the structural components of a typical website. These include a distinctive business brand, and the standard structure of abusiness webpage.
This article will provide you with some information to use as a foundation upon which to build your spectacular new business website.
Creating a Business Brand
Omni channel customer experience – well-known business brands
The first thing that you need to do is to create a business identity, or brand that will guide the design of your website. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you envision a well-known company? Most likely, it’s their logo or emblem, such as the Nike swoosh, Starbucks maiden or McDonald’s arches, and a specific color or colors – Facebook blue, Coke red, etc.
Okay, cool, but… how do you go about getting one of those for your own business?
Notice how I asked you to “envision” those companies? That was a clue.
You start with your own, unique vision of and for your business. Focus on the passion,drive and feeling you have for it. What does your business dream look like? How does it make you feel? How do you want it to make your audience feel? Focus on the energy behind and around it. Try to describe it by writing it down. Use adjectives and colors and emotions.
Now use your written description as a guide to do some rough sketching. This sketch will provide the foundation for your business website logo design and color palette, so be sure to indicate 2 or 3 colors that you prefer as well.
“Susan’s Map” – Susan is a dentist in Portland, Oregon
Once you have a sketch that captures the essence of your business, take it to a professional digital designer to develop a unique, custom logo. Your logo will be the core visual representing your business. It must be very clean, finely detailed, strong and dynamic to convey your business as an authoritative, active and well-organized enterprise.
Generic corporate design vector illustration
Now that you have an awesome logo, it’s time to have the graphics and elements needed for your new business website designed. A good designer will create a coordinated color palette based on the primary colors used for your logo.
New Domain Design website color palette
Understanding the Business Webpage Layout
Picjumbo.com stock image of a webpage wireframe sketch
Your business website pages can be styled with a custom background image or color, font-faces, styles, colors and other unique design elements.
Individual layout containers are placed on the Body and usually include a Header, Navigation Menu, Main Content, Sidebar (optional) and Footer.
The header, navigation menu and footer section elements are carried throughout the website.
Web page sections basic layout
The body encompasses the bulk of the page’s area, which can be set to a specific or full width. It’s the background upon which all other page elements are placed.
A menu will be needed to navigate your new website. It will contain links to each of the various pages or sections, typically Home, About, Services, and Contact.
The main content includes the specific information related to the page title, including images, graphics, video, calls to action (CTA’s), internal and external links, special features and everything else pertinent to the page.
The footer appears at the bottom of the web page and usually displays the navigation menu, copyright and contact information and other important data.
The header appears at the top of each page and contains your logo (with contact info), tagline, navigation menu and various optional items such as social media links, RSS feed and internal search form field.
The typography used throughout your business website must consist of consistent font sizes for the body text (p) and headings (H). There are 6 headings, gradually reducing in size, that are universally labeled as: H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6.
The design of a business website may include one or more sidebars on each page or selected pages. Sidebars commonly feature info, links, video clips, search bars, tags, images, META data and more.
In order to keep your new website effective and running smoothly, you will need to maintain it. This requires scheduled time to perform various tasks, such as backups, inspection, testing, updates and repairs. New Domain Design offers two web maintenance plans that will attend to these items and much more. For more details, click here.
To learn about the essential items involved, you can download our website maintenance and protection guide for free (see below).
Designing a new business website requires research, inspiration and a solid understanding of the fundamental structure of a website before the project starts.
When I first started visiting my local gym to work out, my trainer said something that has applied to nearly every endeavor I’ve undertaken since. He said, “The hardest part isn’t the workout. The hardest part is opening the door.”
I hope that this short article has provided you with some clarity about how to find and open the “door” to start the design your new business website.
Next, be sure to check out our upcoming posts about the business website design process:
Business Website Design – Initial Consultation Tips
Your Business Web Design Proposal – What to Expect
Business Website DesignCreative Briefs – Important?
If you are a registered user who has been assigned an author, editor or administrator role, you will have access to the backend dashboard where you can write and publish posts on your WordPress Blog. Sign into your wp-admin dashboard. Once there, follow the instructions below to post content and media. The screenshots may not look exactly like your dashboard, because they are from the administrator panel, but the post and media insertion functions are the same.
Follow these 10 easy steps:
On the left side is a black column with icons followed by the names of links to various functions. Click the one that says “Posts” near the top of the column.
When the Posts page displays, click the link at the top left, next to “Posts” that says, “Add New”.
A page title, “Add New Post” will display. Click the “Visual” link on the top right of the panel to display a more “user-friendly” screen.
When that display opens you can begin writing your post. Add a title (it will display in large type at the top of the post) in the top left bar that says, “Enter title here”. The “Add Media” button below the “Use Divi Builder” button is for adding media to the body of the post. It’s not the main image. The main image is posted with the “Featured Image” button and will be described in the next step. You can use the icons at the top of the panel to style your text and write post content in the large empty space. Scroll down for additional features.
Check one or more categories in the “categories” section on the right side. Then write a short intro blurb in the Excerpt section that will be displayed on the front (home) page with the featured image. This excerpt could be simply copied from the first 2 or 3 sentences of your article, or you could write a new description. Click the link in the “Featured Image” section on the right to add the main image for your post. This will open the Media Library, where you can add the image, as described next.
All of the images and other media used anywhere in the blog are stored here. Click “Add New” to upload a new image from a personal location (computer, drive, etc.) that you would like to use as the Post’s main image.
An almost empty screen with a button in the middle titled, “Select Files” will open. Click that button to browse for the image’s location.
Follow the prompts to upload your image. Then the Featured Image page will display again, with your new, uploaded image displayed at the left of the top row of images. Click the blue button at the bottom right that says “Set Featured Image” to insert it into the Post page.
The Post page will display again with your image now under the “Featured Image” tag, indicating that it has been placed into your Post.
At the top right of the page are 2 buttons titled, “Preview” and “Publish”. If you click Preview, the page where the post will be displayed opens to show you what it will look like when published. If you click the Publish button, the Post will be saved to the site.
WordPress was released on May 27, 2003 as a, “fork of b2/cafelog”1 by Matt Mullenweg, although he had been in the process of developing his idea of creating a high end, full featured personal publishing system since 2001.
According to WordPress.org, it started as a small bit of software designed to, “enhance the typography of everyday writing”2, and it has since grown to one of the largest online production tools in the entire world. Alexa.com, a subsidiary of Amazon and one the world’s largest and most respected website ranking services ranks WordPress.com as #18 in the world, and cites the product as used by 14.7% of the top one million websites, and 22% of all websites3.
WordPress is a free, “open source” system that originally gained popularity as a blogging site, but has now become a full service Content Management System and website development platform. There are two online locations, WordPress.org and WordPress.com. The .com site is a free, but limited hosting arena, while the .org site contains the full software and features needed to create individual sites hosted elsewhere. The latest release as of this writing is WordPress 3.3.1. It is now universally agreed that it is the largest self-hosting blog in the world. Wikipedia describes a Content Management System as a means for a large number of people to share and store information. WordPress applications are coded with PHP and MySQl is used for database storage and retrieval.
Some of its features include:
An impressive arsenal of plugins and widgets,
Hundreds of open source developers,
Full compliance with WC3 standards,
Editable live code via an administrative tool called the “dashboard”,
Forums and mailing lists, posts, static pages (website design),
Thousands of templates called “themes”,
An internal blogrolls manager,
The latest technology, such as “trackback and pingback”,
Easily posted and editable comments via posts,
Full registration control, security, and password protection,
API and multiple author interfaces, and
Built in typography editing and formatting
WordPress publishes a weekly newsletter and tutorials via the wptuts+ platform covering hundreds of topics and aspects of the site and software. They also sponsor “Word Camps” held throughout the world, where developers, users and fans congregate to exchange ideas and inspiration. As an open source platform there are no licensing or fees of any kind, and there are literally hundreds of developers contributing upgrades, improvements and new features every day.
While WordPress is undisputedly the most popular system today for personal, and small to medium sized businesses, there are competitors, such as Joomla, Mambo, Drupal, Type Pad, Nucleus CMS, and B2Evolution. The most popular of these are Joomla and Drupal, and their market is primarily larger sized companies requiring their more robust and complex systems.
Given that WordPress, like many other similar platforms is open source, there will naturally be occasional problems with particular widgets, plugins or themes that someone develops. Often the complaints are by users who don’t understand the syntax, or logic of a piece of code and are frustrated by their inability to use a particular function. By and large though, my research found very little substantial controversy. The platform is well attended and supported. Most problems occur to sites that haven’t been updated with the latest WordPress software.
I anticipate that WordPress will continue to evolve and lead the social media market with the introduction of more video based technology and mobile devices. As our society continues to find better ways to connect, WordPress will be there.
I recently completed a CMS course at Highline focused on WordPress and I built a website using it. It was easy to use as a consumer, yet challenging if approached as a developer. The code is often complex and ambiguous owing to the number of different edits done prior to many of the final product releases. I love the interconnectivity and community based design, and the ever-growing library of widgets and plugins enable the inclusion of complex and advanced applications with minimal time expense.
I have long believed that the grading and assessment systems used most often in American schools are essentially backward.
I received high grades throughout public school and on into college and graduate school. I like to make sure that the words summa cum laude from undergraduate school and 4.0 – Phi Kappa Phi from graduate school are clearly displayed on my resume. But, that’s about all that’s worth. Yes, I had some opportunities in life because of my academic record, and my appearance as an intelligent man, but the negative impact of some of the poor choices I made was much greater.
We reward students with high grades when they answer a question or do something correctly, and give low grades to students who do not. It seems logical, because in a teacher’s mind students who answer questions correctly must be the ones who were paying attention and therefore understand the material. We call that competency.
Unfortunately, this traditional, albeit logical approach discounts human emotion and feeling, the impact of which strongly influences not only how students answer questions or demonstrate skill, but their understanding and ability as well.
In the last 15 – 20 years, there has been a large volume of writing about accepting failure as part of the process for understanding. A prime example is the often repeated words of Michael Jordan about how many shots he missed in his lifetime.
I propose a more radical approach. One in which our schools start to not only accept failure as necessary, but also embrace it as essential by incorporating it into the assessment process.
In order to do this, we need to first re-examine our understanding of the purpose of education. What is it? Is it to reward and celebrate the success of those who are the best at getting the right answers? Or, should it be just as often, if not more often, to acknowledge and reward those who are best at learning?
If we begin to focus our efforts on teaching how to learn, instead of just what to learn, our society will improve drastically. When we teachers valuethe learning process as much as we do the course material, we will begin to focus our efforts in a way that helps our students value it as well. As a result, they will be more successful in their future lives and contribute much more to our society.
We all know that the self-worth of most students is dramatically affected by the grades they receive. When they get a failing grade, they inevitably feel like a failure themselves. Fear of failure = fear of making decisions = poor decisions. This is huge, and it affects not just a majority of students, but most of the people in the entire country.
In order to reverse this trend, I believe that we must work toward an assessment system thatviably rewards failure. We must teach our students, both young and old, that failure is not a state of being, but rather an ongoing, fluid and essential part of the process for success. Once we, the teachers embrace this concept, the logistics will become more and more apparent.
For example, what if a student was graded not only by high scores, but also by the number of credible failures? Credible meaning failures as a result of sincere attempts. If failure is in this or some other way rewarded, it will become valuable. When teachers and students begin to constructively look at failure as a good thing, our students will be less afraid to try. They will be less afraid to try new things, alternate approaches and make more attempts to achieve, well, everything. Their confidence and self-worth will grow. Innovation and creativity will explode.
Embracing and rewarding failure in our public school system is one way to incorporate emotional education.Once we open our minds to the fact that human beings are complex creatures who make decisions and approach life using feelings, as well as logic, many other approaches will become apparent. We will see the great possibilities this new view provides for a better life. Our world can become a safer and much more welcoming place.