Structure and Design Suggestions

Structure and Naming of Pages and Subpages 
When you plan the structure of your e-portfolio, including major pages and subpages, remember that readers of webpages prefer not to scroll too much. Some scrolling may be unavoidable with the sample texts/projects themselves (embedding texts through Scribd can help with this–see WordPress Resources), but try to limit this in the e-portfolio wherever you can.

Although WordPress does not allow you to use tags and categories for pages (unlike posts), you should find other ways (e.g., using links) to cross-reference the sample texts/project where appropriate, particularly around such categories as the skills they display.

Unless you have a good reason not to, you should structure your e-portfolio primarily around the sample texts/projects, each one explained and either linked to or embedded on a separate page; this way the samples will be easy to get to from the main navigational bar. The links to the samples can lead to a pdf or other file to download, another page, or (if the sample is on the web) another website (e.g., YouTube). Whenever possible, we recommend embedding the sample on the WordPress page itself; you can do this by uploading the text to and sharing it from a Scribd (see WordPress Resources). If you don’t go this route, you might consider including a relevant image and a key line or two from the sample on page with the explanatory frame before linking to the larger text.

Take care to give the main sample text/project pages names or titles that will be recognizable and valued by your e-portfolio’s professional audience. Although you might be tempted to simply use the titles of the papers/projects themselves, in most cases these will not indicate what type of text it is and therefore should be avoided as page titles. Consider the following naming strategies and see how some of them work in the student samples: 1) genres or text types (e.g., proposals, analysis papers, law briefs, ad campaigns); 2) larger categories of texts (e.g., professional texts, advocacy work, creative writing); 3) forms or media (e.g., websites, videos, papers); 4) writing domains or contexts (e.g., academic writing, workplace writing, civic writing, personal writing); 5) topics (environmental protection, political organizing, media law); 6) writing-related skills (e.g., visual or multimedia design, researched-based argument, rhetorical awareness, collaboration, precision); and 7) writing-related qualities or dispositions (e.g., curiosity, engagement, creativity, persistence). You should probably experiment with several naming and arrangement strategies before deciding.

If a project involves multiple texts, you can create a “parent” page and then a subpage for each text. In most themes, this will result in a drop-down menu on the main nav bar, but you may want to create a table of contents for the subpages to embed on the parent page or include in a column. Similarly, if you decide to organize the site around writing-related skills or qualities, writing domains or contexts, or another set of categories, you will need to create a “parent” page explaining the category and then subpages that explain and lead to the sample texts or projects under that category; in this case, make sure the explanatory frame for each sample clarifies how it pertains to the category.

Think carefully and get feedback about any possible images (e.g., photos, art, figures, charts, etc.) you plan to include in the header or on pages. Make sure you choose images that resonate with and speak to the other content in your e-portfolio, that reflect the ethos you are trying to project, and that you have permission to use. If you decide to include a photo of yourself (e.g., on the profile of a writer page), we recommend that it be one of you doing something in a writing-related context rather than a basic headshot. Consider abstract images as well.

One way that you can customize each of the approved themes is by adding an image to the header at the top of the template. Note the dimensions of the header and choose an image accordingly. WordPress will let you edit the dimensions of the image, but this will only work to a degree. If you need to acknowledge permission for the header image, you can do so on the home page. You will also want to get rid of the “just another WordPress blog” line in the header (or replace it with a subtitle of your own).

You should consider adding a list of links (like a blogroll) relevant to you as a writer and to your writing samples; this could include links to any other e-portfolios or websites you have created or to the websites of academic programs, professional or campus organizations, community groups or organizations, workplace, and events (e.g., Knights Write Showcase, Undergraduate Research Showcase) at which you developed or presented your writing (e.g., Knights Write Showcase, Undergraduate Research Showcase). Where relevant, you could refer to or include specific links in the profile page or explanatory frames; you can decide whether to include the list of links on all pages or only some, such as the introduction and “profile of a writer.”

From Blog to Website 
WordPress themes were created for blogs, so you’ll want to change the home page from the latest blog post to a static page and creating additional pages for the sample texts/projects (see Resources for Development below). You also want to disable various blog elements, such as “comment,” “share,” and “like”; in most themes you will need to do this separately by editing each page.