What is BrandWKU?
BrandWKU is a new initiative in the School of Journalism & Broadcasting to encourage our majors to craft their professional brand using their own personal domain and web hosting account.
Having a web hosting account in your own name has many advantages. First, you’ll be able to have several state-of-the art websites under your personal domain name. We’re requiring students enrolled in J232 Electronic Technologies for Journalists, beginning in Spring 2009, to purchase their own domain name. i.e. smith.com and web hosting space. Once you have your domain name and a hosting account, you will be able to easily create your own WordPress blog for classes, another blog for your own ideas and maybe a Joomla website for to show off your great music or designs. You can also use WordPress entirely to manage your online brand. Simply use categories to separate your “professional” and “school” efforts.
Why should I pay for this?
Great question. If you pay for it, it’s yours. The time is right for you to develop your digital skills using real-world tools. We know that 71% of the US HH now have internet access. This means that more households have internet than cable TV (69% US cable coverage). It seems pretty clear that we are all relying more on the internet more for work, research, networking and entertainment. The networking component is huge with websites like facebook and linked in. Our focus is your future. We want you to succeed. We strongly believe that you should take ownership of your personal online brand now. The internet allows you to engage the world with your ideas. The investment is relatively small for such a big benefit. Another be benefit is that you can use your web hosting pace to park class files of other work. Just upload your files to your host and you can then access those files from any computer with an internet connection. Think cloud storage.
How much is this going to cost me?
We researched a number of web hosting companies using the following criteria:
1) Cost – we looked for web hosts with the best value and features
2) Ease of use – there are many hosting companies, but we wanted to find hosting companies that offer a relatively painless install of the major open-source programs.
3) Support – having a great web host is worth much unless you can get everything to work right.
We have experience with several vendors. There was a feeling that we should provide a few choices, but that we should also suggest a “preferred vendor.” Keep in mind that WKU has no official relationships with any of these vendors. Here’s the options we have. We expect to update this list periodically. Please contact the host directly with any questions or ask an Ad+PR faculty team member for assistance.
http://www.webhostingpad.com/ $1.99 mthly with three year plan (our preferred vendor based on their promo price and features)
http://www.midphase.com/website-hosting/ We recommend the Unlimited plan @ $6.95 mthly
http://www.hostmonster.com/ $5.95 mthly
http://www.hostgator.com/ $4.95 basic plan
I know nothing about technology.
Join the club. We feel like this a lot of the time. But, you have to get started sometime. Why not make it a personal goal to add tech geek to your resume? A WordPress blog on your own hosting account is relatively simple process and it’s getting easier everyday. Plus, that’s why you’re in J232. We are introducing BrandWKU in all J232 classes in spring 09. Your J232 teacher will determine the best way to get you up and running with a WordPress blog as quickly as possible. In some cases, J232 teachers will introduce you to BrandWKU and explain the install and configuration process. In other cases, faculty will come into your J232 classroom to explain BrandWKU. We will also be hosting open evening lab sessions to explain BrandWKU and get you up and running. We’re tying to make this seriously easy for you. You also have terrific support from your hosting company, which is 24/7.
I still don’t like it.
Understood. But, digital is your future. You should make efforts now to master the technology to realize your professional dreams. We are here to help you do this. It will requite a modest commitment of money and probably more time than you want, but it will pay off with a competitive edge. Dive in.
I already have a website.
That’s great. If your current web hosting arrangement allows a WordPress account, you’re gold.
Can I use the free account on WordPress.org?
It’s not the same. You get what you pay for. A free wordpress blog is out of your control. The domain will be @wordpress.org, not your name.com. Big difference in image. Look at it like this. You are spending time developing your online brand. Posting to your blog routinely will build your Google reputation. If you have a personal domain, search traffic will go to your personal domain, not a free domain. BrandWKU requires an small investment on money and a moderate amount of time. You also have much more storage on your personal website to host files of all types than you get with a free wordpress.org blog. Storage is a really big deal when you have large video or design files.
How long do I need to commit to a hosting plan?
One year is the minimum. But, you need to see this cost as an investment in your career. The BrandWKU online portfolio will set you apart from many other college graduates. You should see this as a competive edge and take the responsibility to maintain your site as part of your career prep. Ad+PR faculty have committed to making BrandWKU part of our classes. Expect to receive more assignments in Ad+PR classes using your blog. Ad+PR majors will be also required to review their online portfolio with their faculty advisor before graduation. News-Ed majors will need their hosting account for J348 Basic Interactive Design, which is required for the revised News-Ed program.
What about my domain name?
You’ll need to determine your domain name when you set up your hosting account. Be sure to consider the long run use of your domain name. Avoid cute names or any hint of profanity. Besides, your online brand is too important for goofy names. We suggest that you reserve your last name or some variation. i.e smith.com or jsmith.com. Think about the value of having your own name as a domain name for life! Give great thought to your domain name. It’s just like sharp interview clothes, but a heck of a lot cheaper. Now with your personal facebook URL, you are just a few clicks away from your own publishing and social network empire.
What if I never use BrandWKU after this class?
We hope that you understand that your “brand” is what you make it. Give some thought to the image you want to convey to future employers. We can tell you that actively blogging will build your Google reputation. Type your name into google.com right now. What do you see? If you have a blog and you maintain your blog, you will build Google cred and show up in search results. Consider how much that will be worth to you over time.
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