The new school year is upon us!
I’m going to let that sink in for a minute. For those of you that were hit with a wave of stress at that statement, please watch the following gif for a minimum of 7 minutes:
Now that you’re stress-free and smiling, let’s get right down to it! This year, you want to be more organized. You try to fool yourself by saying it’s for your students, their parents, or your administration, but we both know it’s really for you. The best way to become more organized and avoid stress in your daily life as teacher (in my most humble opinion) is to create and maintain a class website. Now, sure, you can hop on to Blackboard or Edmodo, but those tools are a bit limited. Don’t get me wrong, they are incredibly useful, but the thought of having my own website that I can tailor to my exact needs just simply makes me happy. I know my students are always able to log on and view all of my materials. No more worrying about downtime, site maintenance, or the inevitable Blackboard crashes (something that happens entirely too often).
I have posted in the past about creating your own blog. The idea is essentially the same when creating a class website. I recommend reading that post (it’s really good…just sayin’) for a simple step-by-step tutorial detailing how to host your own blog on HostGator (there are even a few coupon codes!). In many ways, a blog is the perfect vehicle for your class. You can create pages that house all of your materials, but you can also create and publish posts whenever you like. What’s that you say? That’s perfect for homework and class announcements? I agree! You’re smart!
If you prefer a more traditional website, I still recommend hosting with HostGator. They have a fantastic tool called Weebly (you may have heard of it) that they have worked hard to integrated beautifully with your new domain. Weebly is a drag-and-drop website builder, which is perfect for anyone with little or no HTML coding experience (or those that simply want to manage their time like a champ). I am going to post a few tutorial videos I snagged from YouTube below (thanks to those that created them) that detail how to create some pretty stellar blogs and websites. The Weebly videos were even created by HostGator. I love them, if you can’t tell.
How to Sign Up for Your Very Own Website on HostGator:
Head over to HostGator and purchase a hosting plan
Now, you can choose a different host (like GoDaddy or any other equivalent), but I can tell you from years of experience that HostGator is absolutely the best choice. Even their cheapest plans come with amazing tech support and unlimited space for all your wonderful materials that you want to share. Anytime you have a technical question, you can just fire up their online chat feature (or get on the phone) and someone is happy to help. I’ve never found myself frustrated with them.
Plus, I’ve created a few special coupon codes just for my readers! Yay for saving money! Just choose the one that saves you more.
25% off a hosting plan: teacherssmile25
$9.94 off a hosting plan: teacherssmile10
As for which hosting plan to purchase: Just go with the cheapest one that will fit your needs. In most cases, if you’re only planning to attach one domain (site) to the plan, just buy the ‘Hatchling’ plan (cute, right?). During the checkout process, you will choose your domain name. Be careful here, that is your site’s address (what people will actually type into their browser to go to your site). Try to pick something catchy and memorable. But, most importantly, pick something that is unique to your site’s focus. Or, maybe it has your name in it. It doesn’t matter; it’s your site!
For further steps in creating a blog or class website, click here.
Some Very Helpful Videos:
An incredibly detailed overview of how to create a blog (including how to insert popular items like videos, images, and Google Maps):
A series of videos created by HostGator detailing how to use Weebly (for those of you that want to stay away from creating a blog):
And, as always, if you were inspired to create a blog or website by me, I’m always available to help! Just email me your questions and I’ll come to your rescue!