I use Pinboard to bookmark interesting websites related to ENGL 4814, but I will add the most important resources to this page as the semester progresses. If you’d like me to add a link to this page, just let me know.

Quick links

Virginia Tech Resources

Web Development Software

FTP Clients

Markup Validators and Related Tools




Public domain and/or Creative Commons images:

Background images:

Personal Page Examples

Responsive Web Design

Bootstrap Resources



Inspiration for Your Unit #4 Websites

Sample Content for Your Unit #4 Websites


WordPress Basics

The best way to get started with WordPress is to set up a site and start experimenting with it. When you get stuck, these sites can be helpful starting points for solving problems and finding answers to common questions:

Given WordPress’s incredibly large community of users and developers, chances are pretty good that any problem you encounter has been solved — and written about! — by another WordPress user. As a result, a simple Google/Bing/Yahoo search using plain language (e.g., “How do I hide the search bar in the header of my WordPress site?”) will often be the most effective way to find an answer to your question.

WordPress Themes

All WordPress themes can be customized, but some are much easier to modify than others. If you are new to web design and looking for a theme that can be customized in your browser, look for a theme that has a lot of options in the Appearance > Customize section of your WordPress Dashboard. Other themes might harder to edit, but if you find a theme that’s very close to what you want, it’s fairly easy to change colors, typography, and images. I suggest starting your search with one of these lists:

The key to finding a good theme is to download, install, and experiment with a lot of themes before you settle on one. When you evaluate themes, test them on multiple platforms and devices, and consider how well they can handle the type of content you’ll be creating. I recommend importing the Theme Unit Test file into your WordPress site in order to get a sense of how themes look on big, complex sites.

WordPress Plugins

Plugins add functionality to your WordPress site. You’ll find an endless supply of plugins on the WordPress site, but you might want to start with a few of the following plugins:

  • Jetpack (a collection of plugins that enables many of the features available on WordPress.com)
  • My Custom CSS (allows you to create custom CSS rules that override your theme’s CSS without modifying the theme’s files)
  • Widget Context (lets you specify which pages display particular sidebar widgets)
  • Akismet (greatly reduces “comment spam”)
  • Contact Form 7 (creates custom forms that let visitors send you email through your site)
  • Google Analytics (adds tracking code to each page to monitor visits to your site)
  • Google Doc Embedder (allows you to display MS Word, PDF, and lots of other file types inside your site)
  • NextGEN Gallery (simplifies the creation, management, and display of images, especially groups of images)
  • PHPEnkoder (protects your email address from being harvested by spambots)
  • SimplePie (allows you to import, adjust, and display almost any RSS feed)
  • The 36 Free Plugins That Every WordPress User Could Need