What is FacultySites?
FacultySites is the University’s hosting platform open to all faculty and teaching staff who desire to enhance their online presence and exposure.
In addition to the benefits of having a strong online presence, there are specific benefits that FacultySites offers:
- Your own individual “.sunyempire.edu” URL with your name and SUNY Empire branding;
- Full autonomy over your space and your content;
- Access to the top website and blog creation tools such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla;
- No cost to you for as long as you are employed at SUNY Empire (the average cost to host a personal website is $12/month);
- A spot on the University’s directory for your faculty site.
Various SUNY Empire faculty are already using FacultySites. Learn more about their experiences and see their website for yourself.
Why is it important to have a faculty site?
Have you ever googled yourself? What you do or don’t see about yourself is your digital presence.
Don’t underestimate the influence of the search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, …) over your academic and professional sphere.
This is why FacultySites is so important to your digital presence. With the SUNY Empire brand and your own name attached to the URL, you are already one step closer to being more present in the digital world.
What are Your Goals and Who is Your Audience?
Have you seen a website that tells you very little? Or overloads you with every information you are not looking for? See these examples:
The issues in ineffective sites are twofold:
- A lack of focus on the intended goals and audience for the website; and
- A lack of basic web design practices.
The Goals, the Audience, and the Layout
When you are ready to create your FacultySite, the following questions will help you prepare ahead of time, and your answers will help you focus on which content to use:
1. what (is/are) going to be the main purpose(s) for this website?
2. What groups of people do you expect will visit your site often?
3. How do you envision your visitors will “read” your site?
4. What resources, people, articles, journals, and other websites do you intend to link or share on your site?
Main Goals for the Site
A. To disseminate information to students and/or colleagues.
B. To increase awareness of current projects and partnerships.
C. To increase an online presence?
D. To share your thoughts, writings and/or opinion.
E. To display your work, writings, and collaborations.
The Possible Audience (Groups A-J)
A. Current mentees
B. Current students
C. Past students
D. Future students
F. Current collaborator(s)
G. Future collaborator(s)
I. Planning committee
J. Galleries, and the like
After determining the purpose(s) and audience of your site, you will then be able to choose a layout that will best suit your intended goals and audience.
The layout of the Site
How do you envision your visitors reading your site?
- Like a standard website? A main page with a menu that links to other subpages.
- Like a blog? One main page that stacks every post you make on top of each other.
- Like an e-portfolio? A site featuring your academic works and achievement.
- Like a business card-style webpage? Only one main page, with not much length.
Remember that writing for the web differs from other types of writing!
Layout 1: Standard website: Main page + menu
Useful for the faculty who want to share many topics, and official items.
Ideal with more than one audience group (any A-J groups listed above).
Layout 2: E-Portfolio: Main page + menu used specifically for academic work
Useful for the faculty who want to feature academic work, writings, journals, achievements, accolades, philosophies.
Ideal for academic use (groups A-I)
Layout 3: Blog: One page that stacks content vertically
“Diary-like”, more for sharing your thoughts, writings, and opinions.
Ideal for casual dissemination of information (groups A-D, possibly F-G)
Layout 4: Business card-like: One main page
The least common of the three and the least effective of the three.
Ideal for those who only wish to share a quick blurb, such as contact information and/or an About Me paragraph.
Which layout will work best for you?
Consistent Review, Edit, Rework
How do you know if your website is doing what it’s supposed to? That people are navigating and flowing through your web pages as they should? Review the site with a student or colleague, edit based on feedback, and continuously rework the content as your intended goals and audiences changes.
After deciding on the purpose(s) of your course, your intended audience, the layout of your site, you are ready to start learning about the basics of web design practices that will elevate your site’s usability, navigability, and friendliness.