Activities around Domain Camp in week 3 include installing a better landing page with a WordPress theme (or something else), SPLOTs, setting up domain email address as well as email forwarders, and running sites under SSL.
We are moving into the third week of Domain Camp, a place to learn about many things you can do in your own internet Domain. These are mostly self paced activities you might do anytime, but why not jump in now?. To get started, see Getting Ready for Domain Camp and check out what happened in week 1 and week 2.
Up on the activity board for this week is:
- Demo Video a walk through of this week’s activities.
- Drop in Camp Headquarters (Wednesday, 3pm EST) Use Zoom to visit camp headquarters, ask questions, register complaints etc.
- Communicate in the Community (ongoing)
Welcome / Demo Video
Due to a glitch in camp, we ended up with 2 short videos as the intro for this week’s activities:
See also the video from 2018 providing an overview of this week’s activities
Creating a Better, More Sophisticated Landing Page with a WordPress Calling Card Theme
Back in week 1 we had you use the cpanel Site Publisher to create a very basic welcome site for your domain. Ideally it is the web site most people will see when they visit your domain, what we call a Calling Card (although it can really be anywhere in your domain).
If you did that activity, mot likely you found the site very limited and worse, rather difficult to customize. Since we learned in week 2 how to install WordPress in any part of our domain (in a subdomain, or in a subdirectory, or even to replace what is at the top of the domain, we can now take advantage of a few “Calling Card” themes built in WordPress for this purpose- not really as a blog, but more as an elegant welcome to your domain.
The three themes we suggest trying for a calling card site are all ones converted to WordPress by Alan Levine from Creative Commons licensed static HTML web sites from HTML5up. These are not the only options, we offer more suggestions below.
First meet the themes. Then below will be an activity to guide you through the process if installing in your own domain.
This theme, based on the HTML5up Dimension template, packs everything into a one screen, with a headline for your name, a subtitle, a place to add icons and links to social media sites (optional), as well as room for up to 10 boxes that appear. Each is a link to a bit of content that appears as an overlay on the site, and can include any kind of content that goes into a WordPress post. In many cases these are short, and provide button links to other sites in a domain (or beyond).
Based on the HTML5up template Big Picture this WordPress version produces a site dominated by large images that are navigated by vertical scrolling or using the top menu. Each one alternates the overlay text’s position left or right, and can include a short piece of content, or provide a link to see more on a single page.
This theme can certainly be used for a personal landing page, but a number of other people have used it to create resources for workshops or projects.
This theme bears similarities to Big Picture, as a vertical scrolling single page site with bits of content that can lead to longer amounts inside. Each section’s designated image appears as one scrolls down the page.
How to Use these themes in your own domain
In last week’s activities you learned how to install a WordPress blog in a subdomain.
For these themes you will be creating a new, empty WordPress site on your blog, uploading and activating the theme of your choice, and following a few set of steps to customize it. You will learn to use Posts for your content, a special feature to control the order that they appear in, and how to add plugins to your wordpress site that provide extra functionality.
Before jumping to WordPress, your first step is to consider again, where you want to place this in your domain:
- If your domain is new, and the only thing sitting at the main entrance is the one you experimented with the Site Publisher tool, when selected for a location to install your new calling card site, chose your main domain, and leave the directory field blank.
- Perhaps you have a site at the top of your domain you wish to keep, then you will want to consider either putting WordPress into a subdomain on your site (see the activity for creating a subdomain) or install into a directory from your primary domain like
Now you should be ready to install your WordPress Calling Card site
Having done a first WordPress installation for the experience and understanding how it works, it’s time to create a site for ourself, a landing page or a calling card site for our domain.
Once you have decided where in your domain is shall live, repeat the steps from the activity linked above to create a new empty WordPress site. Use the link via My Apps in cpanel to access the admin interface or WordPress Dashboard.
Build a WordPress SPLOT
You now have set up at least two WordPress sites, and maybe after the creation of a WordPress based Calling Card site you can sense there is more to using this for a chronologically organized series of posts.
In this activity you will go deeper into WordPress, installing a theme which turns your site from what is more typically just for writing, into one that is more web application than blog.
An Email Of Our Own
In this activity we will show you easily how to set up a custom email address that can forward messages to the system you use the most.
Issuing Certificates and Serving Content over SSL
Whether or not you have concerns about security for content on your domain, there are very good reasons for understanding to make sure your content is served over SSL, and how the http:// in front of web site addresses is different from ones that start with https://.
The latter are sites that send content that is encrypted. You and are are likely not transmitting super secure information, but when we do log into sites with passwords (like in WordPress), it’s worth setting up your sites to use SSL. But more than that, Google’s Chrome web browser will soon start inserting the word INSECURE before web content not using SSL, and is changing their search results to favor sites using SSL.
One more reason that may come into play later is that there are ways you can bring your domain content into an LMS, using what is known as iframe tags – for this to work, the content must be served over SSL.
the https thing was tricky for those of us at OU because our old fac/student web hosting did not offer https, so switching to @ReclaimHosting & Domains was huge for us: to work with embedded content of any kind, https is the key. now that we have https, options are unlimited! 🙂
— Laura Gibbs (@OnlineCrsLady) July 17, 2018
Reclaim Hosting offers a free cpanel tool that makes it easy to be issuing, managing your SSL certificates. Let’s dive in.
Drop In Hours at Camp Headquarters
We’ll have the office door open on Wednesdays at 12:00PM EST for anyone who wants to get some help of ask question or just want to bother the counselors. For either session join us in our Zoom office:
- Getting Ready for Domain Camp
- Week 1: Meeting Cpanel, Landing Pages, Files
- Week 2: Subdomains, Installing Blogs, Redirects
- Week 3: Better Landing Pages, SPLOTS, Email, and SSL Sites
- Catch Up Week
- Week 4: Exploring Other Apps To Add to Your Domain
- Week 5: WordPress Retreat with Settings, Categories vs Tags
- Week 6: Cooking Over the WordPress Campfire, Permalinks, Menus, Plugins
- Week 7: Theme Picking and Syndication Hubs