Process for New Media first-years

Version 1.1

Preparation for first class

A. Decide your domain name

In preparation for NMD 104 lab and lectures this coming week, you need to think of a domain name for yourself. You can try your own name, but if it's taken you may need to get creative, eg:

* Add a word like "portfolio," "media", or "maine," eg

* Or choose another domain suffix besides .com--for example, .online, .site, .website, .space, .tech, .store, .blog, .net, .org, .info, .us, or .biz.

B. Bring a credit card

You'll need a credit card if you're a New Media Major, or anyone else who wants a serious website, to cover the $2.75/month charge for the portfolio site. (To get that outstanding deal, you'll need to commit to 1-3 years.)

Tuesday: NMD 104 lecture

Portfolio software compared

This table of features explains why we are recommending WordPress:

Steps for students using

We're following the recommendations at

  • 1. Click on link to Bluehost offer
  • 2. Add your domain name
  • 3. Add your account information (36 months is best offer).
  • 4. Click on cPanel > "Install WordPress."
  • Don't choose a theme yet.

  • 5. Bookmark your login:

  • 6. Choose a WordPress theme
  • Dashboard > Appearance > Themes > Add New.

    (Just pick a decent one now--you can change it later and WordPress will migrate your content automatically.)

  • 7. Add a post
  • Dashboard > Posts > Add New

    Type a description of your project.

    Add Media > upload a PNG or JPEG of your work. (Not the Illustrator .ai or Photoshop .psd files!)

    Do not add a page at this point--that's different from a post.

    Wednesday: NMD 104 Lab

    Add your assignments to the portfolio

    Complete or revise any outstanding assignments.

    Create a new post for each assignment and add image and description.

    Post your portfolio URL in #portfolio.

    Optional: Experiment with other themes. Here is what seems to be one of the better compilations: (Note that your instructors haven’t tested any of these, so don't expect us to know them in detail.)

    Note: do not just create a page with a gallery of your images. Clicking on an image in a gallery won't show descriptive text or show up in menus.

    Thursday: NMD 100 lecture

    Review portfolios

    Students and instructors review portfolios to polish written descriptions, check appropriate image formats, and (optionally) add contribution/s from NMD 100 assignments. (This could be a peer-to-peer exercise.)

    Thursday: NMD 104 lecture

    Add categories and enhancements

    You will add categories for each class (NMD 100, NMD 104).

    Using those categories for each post from that class, you'll create a menu that will show all the categories.

    Optional: After reviewing themes, advanced users may try switching themes or adding a plugin.


    Does capitalization matter in domain names?

    No, but it does matter for the folders and files that appear after the slash, that is: is the same as is not the same as

    Will I use this portfolio ever again? How long do I have to maintain it?

    Yes, you will use this portfolio every year as a New Media Major, building content from class to class. And in your senior year, you'll transition it to a professional portfolio that you can keep after you graduate.

    How many months should I purchase my Bluehost account for? What if I don't want to commit for a long period?

    It's way cheaper in the long run if you pay for 3 years:

    If you pay for 3 years: $2.75/month for 3 years = $99 total.

    If you pay for 1 year: $2.75/month for 1 year = $33, plus $7.99/month afterward.

    If you pay monthly: $7.99/month indefinitely.

    Do I need to purchase Bluehost extras like SiteLock Security and Codeguard Basic?

    No, they're not essential, though they could be handy if you have the money.

    I'm low on cash. Why are you making me pay for a Web host?

    If you continue in New Media (or most professional fields these days) you will eventually need an independent website for yourself. $33 a year is a lot less than the $1200 per year the average college major spends on textbooks. If you can’t afford this now, it will require more work for you in the future, and without the support of a class like NMD 104.

    What if I don't have a credit card or can't us it for this assignment?

    If you're not a New Media Major, you can start a portfolio at It will have some disadvantages (see "portfolio software compared" above). If you are, you can start with but will need to migrate to a standalone WordPress host later; that can be a pain, so pay for a real WordPress site if at all possible.

    What if I find a better theme? Can I change it without losing my content?

    Yes, assuming you have WordPress. (You can't with Wix.)

    But I love my Wix/Weebly/Squarespace/Tumblr site!

    It's great if you already have another personal website, but the one you'll make in class will be connected to the New Media official site, to help future employers and classmates find you when you graduate. You should have an attractive portfolio started by the end of the term!

    Can I migrate my Wix (or similar) site to WordPress?

    No, unlike WordPress, Wix doesn't let you export your own data.

    What's the difference between a post and a page?

    A post is an entry in your portfolio, and typically focuses on one project. You can choose multiple images to describe a complex work, but you may want to use the interface to select a single "featured image." Posts are dated and you can add bunches of them.

    A page is a custom entry that typically stays accessible from your home page. These usually contain generic, timeless information, such as an About or Contact page.

    I can't figure out how to use Theme X.

    Your instructor and TA can help to some extent, but each theme is different so you may need to switch to a simpler one if you're stuck.