Building your site

A plan of action for building your site: 10 things to do

[please check the tutorials before asking questions!]

1. Ensure that you have read and understand the Commons guidelines

2. Activating your DMU Commons space

All DMU Staff and Students are registered on the DMU Commons, and will have an individual blog space automatically assigned to them.

To activate your blog space you simply need to do the following:

  1. Navigate to the DMU Commons Home Page (
  2. Click the ‘Log In‘ link (top-left).


  3. If you are a member of staff enter your DMU staff log-in details. If you are a student enter your DMU student log-in details.
  4. You will then receive an email which will contain the web address for your blog site. This will be your blog site address (you can change this later). You may also want to bookmark this site as a favourite.

You can now start to build your blog site.

Your blog will have a standard theme applied to it. However, you can change the look and feel of your blog by activating a different theme (see section 4 below).

3. Changing the Site Title of your Blog

When you register on the DMU Commons the default site title for your blog will be My ourDMU Blog. We recommend that you change the title of your blog so as to make it distinguishable for search purposes in the list of Commons blogs. To change the Site Title for your Blog:

  1. In the Dashboard of your blog, Go to Settings
  2. From the Settings menu select General
  3. In the Site Title field you can change the title of your Blog
  4. Click the Save Changes button.

4. Setting the Appearance of your site

a. Selecting your theme – the overall look-and-feel of your blog/site

There are many different themes available via the Dashboard, under Appearance > Themes. You can browse and preview these, and then activate the one you want. You can change your theme at any time. But be aware that changing themes may change the structure and configuration of the content on your blog/site.

Each theme can be configured in different ways. For instance, you may need to define the header, navigation tabs, the number of side-bars, colour of hyperlinks, etc. Themes can be configured using the Customize tool, in the Appearance menu.

Note: You are not able to download new themes from the internet and install them on your commons site, nor can new themes be requested.

b. Adding Widgets

Widgets are add ons (also referred to as plug-ins), which add extra functionality to your commons site. A number of widgets have been installed on the commons to provide a range of added functionality.

Widgets can be activated by adding them to your blog/website sidebar(s). Themes usually have at least 1 or 2 sidebars which are the narrow columns to the left or right of your blog posts.
How to add and configure your sidebar widgets

Note: You are not able to download new widgets from the internet and install them on your commons site, nor can new widgets be requested.


As WordPress is an open source platform it relies on site users to develop/support/maintain/and future proof its tools (themes, plugins, widgets, etc). To this end, there is no guarantee that a plugin/widget will remain compatible with future upgrades/updates of the DMU Commons site. This may result in certain plugins no longer functioning at some point in the future, which may impact the functionality of your blog/site.

When registering on the DMU Commons site users do so with an understanding and acceptance of the above advisory.

5. Adding a ‘welcome to my blog’ post
[see: adding pages and posts]

6. Add some pages, as appropriate – e.g. about this site
[See: adding pages and posts]

7. Add some media to your site
e.g. copyright cleared photos, images, video, audio.
[See: uploading and using media on your site]

  1. For audio, there is a special procedure for embedding audio into your blog/website pages
  2. For video: there is a special procedure for embedding video into your blog/website pages

8. Set your site availability (public or private)

By default your blog is available to view by anyone on the internet (public), you can change this setting:

  1. In your dashboard of your blog, click ‘Settings
  2. Click ‘Reading
  3. Under the heading ‘Site Visibility‘ you have a number of options:

– Allow search engines to index this site
– Discourage search engines from indexing this site
Both of these options makes your site visible to the public

– I would like my blog to be visible only to registered users of DMU Commons
– I would like my blog to be visible only to registered users I add to “[title of your blog]”
– I would like “[title of your blog]” to be visible only to Admins.
These options make your site private, as follows:

If you select the option:

‘I would like my blog to be visible only to to registered users of DMU Commons’ – your blog site will be accessible by log-in to all DMU users (staff/students).

‘I would like my blog to be visible only to registered users I add’ – your blog will only be visible to registered users you add. Note: you will need to add the users first. How do I add users?

‘I would like “[title of your blog]” to be visible only to Admins – only users that you have added to your blog as Admins will be able to see your blog.

9. Do you want to activate the Jetpack suite of tools?
Jetpack is a suite of tools that can bring added functionality to your blog/site. If you would like jetpack to be activated on your blog/site; follow these guidelines

10. Have fun and share your blogging experiences!