A Portal Page

May 25

While this remains my primary place of learning and contact, the fact that we continue to play and learn in other spaces makes the idea of a home or portal more important.

Last year I purchased shareski.ca but wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. For a while I used it as a place to try and sell our house. This weekend I went ahead and built a portal page much like you see at flavors.me. I see Ian Hecht created one as well.

I’m not totally sure how this will play out, whether this will actually impact my identity or simply be something I use to point folks to when they want more than my blog. The simple idea of owning my personal domain name seems like something more people should be doing.

Anyone else explored this concept and figured it out?

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  • http://cogdogblog.com/ Alan Levine

    I’m not sure there is a definitive answer to “figure out”– I think its a good idea, and I pondered it for a bit for the first domain I bought but hardly use- looked at bit at some of the WordPress “card” themes.

    Jim Groom has one http://jimgroom.net/ and I like Tom Woodward’s too http://tomwoodward.us/

    Heck domains are so cheap, I bought rustle up one

    I like yours, but I have heard that you actually enjoy long walks on the beach and you hate naps.
    .-= Alan Levine´s last blog ..Openness Begat Openness =-.

    • http://ideasandthoughts.org Dean Shareski

      I actually looked at Jim’s a bit and tried something between his and the flavors. me style. My guess I’ll keep playing around but need might need to leave it for a bit until I think I’ve nailed it. Which could be never.

  • http://www.marturia.net Ian H.

    Thanks for the mention – I gave you a shout-out on Twitter when I built the new site, since it was your new one that gave me the impetus to build mine. Also, can I say how awesome it is to have my own tag on your site? I’m honoured :)
    .-= Ian H.´s last blog ..Portfolio =-.

  • http://www.downes.ca Stephen Downes

    I really like the full-page photograph design. I’ve been messing around with various layouts trying to come up with a better version of what I have now. Here’s what I have (suggestions welcome) http://www.downes.ca/layout-test.htm
    .-= Stephen Downes´s last blog ..Claroline – Open Source Learning Management System =-.

  • http://www.simple.lu Bob Reuter

    I have explored this “concept” for quite some time…

    Around 2000, I ‘ve had the idea, with a few friends, to start a small web hosting and design business and I registered the domain name simple.lu – the idea was that we would provide people with their web presence and it would be simple for them. They would have nothing to do, except give us the content they wanted on their website and pay us, of course… we would do the rest, very simple indeed…

    That business never really started off, because I had other business to do; like getting my academic career on track… so, step-by-step the domain name simple.lu got used for other purposes… First I merely used it to have an easy to remember email account, to publish photos for family and friends to see, etc. It turned into some kind of portal where I would link to my different web presence points… and where I had a rapid access to my “tool box” – the places and online services I visit every day – It looked a bit like your own portal page now… http://shareski.ca and I had made it with iWeb too :-)

    But, last year in 2009, for some reason I don’t really remember right now, I installed a WordPress blog (I had used WP to maintain website before for other purposes). I rapidly noticed that having a blog gave me the possibility to share and discuss some of those ideas that came up in my professional and private life and I really enjoy that…

    There are still those connections to my other web presence points that I had on my portal page before, like my mobileMe Gallery or my online print-on-demand book store at lulu.com/rreuter. WP allows me to easily add links and import feeds. I particularly love the fact that there are many plugins for WP that allow me to easily aggregate information feeds from my various other web presence points and merge them on one easy-to-remember webpage: simple.lu

    Yet that domain name is not really related to my name, like your own portal page is… I’m not sure if I’d rather have reuter.lu instead… I’ve used rreuter.com (my first name is actually robert) some years ago, and I wasn’t very excited about it…

    However simple.lu is quite nice, because I can recycle and reuse the slogan we had for that small web hosting & design “business”: “Keep it simple!”…. I know that slogan has been invented and used by so many other people… :-) Now I use “Keep IT simple!”, since now I’m a Senior Lecturer in Educational Technology at the University of Luxembourg (Luxembourg/Europe) and I try to help future teacher students to explore and discover how digital technology tools (IT, ICT and the like) can become nice and simple-to-use tools to support, enhance or even transform (Puentedura, 2009) learning, teaching and assessing in their future classroooms.

    Okay, I have to agree that my blog+portal page has started to become a lit complex, maybe overloaded and hard to decipher, but since I don’t change its structure every day or so, it’s quite possible to 1) get quick access to my “everyday news” and 2) do in-depth explorations… the latter can be a stimulating learning experience from time to time, even for myself as I dig down into my own past reflections and thoughts…

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  • http://geekymomblog.com Laura Blankenship

    Although I create most of my content via my blog (linked above), I created laurablankenship.net as a “professional” portal when I was starting my own business and then, looking for a job. From there, people can see my presentations, download my dissertation, go read one of my blogs (yes, I have more than one), and see my CV. It’s great to pop that on a resume or send in a email as my resume when asked. When you do a search for my name, it’s the first site that comes up. It’s built on a WordPress blog because it’s easy to customize and add widgets and feeds. Good luck with creating what you want. There are lots of models and lots of options!
    .-= Laura Blankenship´s last blog ..Front-loading =-.

    • http://ideasandthoughts.org Dean Shareski

      Thanks for sharing Laura, lots of good ideas there.

  • http://www.apaceofchange.com Damian

    My experience very closely mirrors Laura’s, above. ApaceOfChange.com is my blog, but DamianBariexca.net has my resume, bio, contact info, testimonials, portfolio (w/pdf downloads of work samples), PD resources, Twitter feed, Google Reader shared items feed, links out to various social networking presences and, of course, a link to my blog and a brief statement about why I blog. It sounds like info overload, but I like the way the Thesis WP theme organizes it all – it makes sense, at least to me.

    Like Laura, I also have this on top of my paper resume along with my contact information, and it is the first hit in a Google search of my name (not that I have to worry about being lost in a sea of Damian Bariexcas). I also have a shorter domain (damianb.net) on my business cards; this automatically forwards to the longer domain (because let’s face it, the potential for misspelling is pretty significant with a name like mine).
    .-= Damian´s last blog ..Not For Sale =-.

    • http://ideasandthoughts.org Dean Shareski

      Thanks Damian,

      I was looking at the Thesis theme as well. You’ve done a nice job with it.

  • http://www.apaceofchange.com Damian

    Thanks! For what it’s worth, that’s all done with Thesis straight out of the box – I understand that if you know even the slightest bit of CSS (which I don’t), the theme is even more customizable.
    .-= Damian´s last blog ..Not For Sale =-.

  • http://edtechessentials.com Aaron Fowles

    I don’t, think you, need that many, commas in the picture.
    .-= Aaron Fowles´s last blog ..BrainPOP ESL – Pure awesome =-.

    • http://ideasandthoughts.org Dean Shareski

      Aaron, I, like you, agree. It was, copied, directly from his post.

  • http://www.mrsoro.com Ann Oro

    When I first purchased my domain, I pictured it as a place to send parents and students. Afterward, I realized that I wouldn’t need to use it in that manner but I ended up with http://www.mrsoro.com. It’s funny how many decisions go into getting a domain name – right down to .com, .net, and .org. I like that you selected shareski.ca. It makes it a more general domain.

    I used the mrsoro.com email aliases to set up a Google Apps account so at least the email addresses make sense to the students. It’s the non-education type of Google Apps since I have yet to figure out with the volunteer/web master for the school how to get Google Apps for Education – a project for another day.

    I link to mrsoro.com whenever a web site is requested on sites. It shows people more of what I’m interested in and doing than just my latest blog post.

    I ended up making a portal, as well. I coded it using NVU which is a free web authoring system. I like the clean look of your site. Was it created in iWeb?

    Feel free to take a look. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your site.

    • http://ideasandthoughts.org Dean Shareski

      Ann,

      I just used iWeb. I was going to use the thesis theme in wordpress like Damian and Jim Groom but thought I’d start with a single page.

      • http://www.mrsoro.com Ann Oro

        Damian’s web site has a nice look. I’m still not ready to attempt a WordPress install, though. Maybe someday… I started playing with iWeb and never really created a final project. I’d really like to use NVU with students some day, so making my single page and changing it from time to time gives me a chance to try out new skills. This summer I want to update the page. I’ll have to see how it goes. The summer always goes by in the blink of an eye with all I plan in advance.

  • http://www.downes.ca Stephen Downes

    @ann oro – I like the portal site, it’s nice and clean & really makes it clear who you are and what you do. I would make a subscription option clearer, though. I went to the blog and subscribed to the blog RSS feed, but I had to know what I was looking for. I would actually have a ‘subscribe’ RSS link on the page, and also in the header to assist autodiscovery ( see http://www.rssboard.org/rss-autodiscovery for how to do this).
    .-= Stephen Downes´s last blog ..Welcome to My PLE! =-.

    • http://www.mrsoro.com Ann Oro

      I was looking into the idea of the RSS subscription link today. I wasn’t sure where to post this question, so I figured I’d just add it here. The link to the feed is http://feeds.feedburner.com/NjTechTeacherMusings so I guess I’d just add it with an href link on the blog? It might make sense to put this on the portal page, too.

      I think I’m making this harder than I have to. Thanks in advance!

  • http://www.mrsoro.com Ann Oro

    @Stephen Downes – Thank you for your comment on my portal page. I worked hard to make is clear in respect to who I am and what I do. I’m taking into account your ideas about the subscribe RSS link. When I went and clicked on the link, it was clear that subscribing is not as easy as I intended. I had not heard about autodiscovery. Thank you for the link that will allow me to investigate and use autodiscovery.

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  • http://xmisterparkx.blogspot.com Paul

    Okay, I’ll admit it — I don’t get it. While the portal pages look great–very sleek and professional–why are they necessary exactly? It seems like overload to me–too many urls. I mean, couldn’t you just link your web content (twitter, flickr, delicious, etc.) on your blog and send people there? Isn’t that good enough anymore??

    • http://ideasandthoughts.org Dean Shareski

      Paul,

      That certainly works but the blog can be a bit overwhelming for people and often times those who don’t know what they’re looking for never find it. I felt a single, clean page would allow people to see all of my spaces and they could choose. For example, some might be interested in my videos and others just my twitter feed. Sure they can likely all get there from my blog but again it’s a bit more challenging. Besides, I wanted a domain that included my name and since I my blog is ideasandthoughts, it’s not so apparent that I own it. Not necessary but I think it makes things a bit cleaner.

  • http://xmisterparkx.blogspot.com Paul

    I’m sold. The portal is definitely cleaner, neater, more professional as well as user-friendly. And there’s a lot to be said about branding–your portal url is consistent with your username or “handle” for your other spaces. Makes sense.