New Wordpress Service Offers Easy Website Option

Atlanta, GA

Having an up-to-date, visually pleasing Web presence is essential in most professional industries today. For some Tech employees, though, maintaining a website is one more thing on a long list of tasks.

A new service gives those who aren’t full-time Web developers an easy way to create or maintain a website that shares information about themselves or their work. 

Professional Web Presence (PWP) lets those without coding and Web development experience create a website with a Georgia Tech theme with just a few clicks. 

“We looked at the Web as it exists on campus and were seeing a lot of sites that were outdated, visually unappealing, and vulnerable to hacks,” said Eric Sembrat, Web manager in the College of Engineering who helped get the PWP system up and running. Sembrat and others in the campus Web development community from the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and College of Sciences took it upon themselves last year to explore solutions in response to requests from faculty and staff in their own colleges. 

PWP issues Wordpress-based sites and comes with pre-set packages, themes, and plug-ins all designed with Georgia Tech users in mind. Site administrators can include additional Georgia Tech users on their site and give them different privileges for editing and updating content. Websites or individual page privileges can also be password-protected for those groups who may want to limit who can view certain information. 

The system is ideal for those who need a simple site for their work, such as a faculty member. But it is not meant for those wanting or needing more customized options, or a more in-depth website of the scale that a school or college may need.

“We wanted to make something for those who work with the Web as a very small part of their jobs, and have it be as simple as possible so it’s basically self-service,” Sembrat said.

Many of Tech’s websites are built on the open source Drupal platform, which is designed to be user-friendly but still has a learning curve. In the Wordpress system, those who have used a blogging platform or done formatting in Microsoft systems should find it fairly intuitive. A mobile-friendly view even lets users make changes from a tablet or phone.  

The PWP administrative team handles security updates and patches, and all the themes are built with accessibility in mind. So far, 260 users are working on more than 180 sites created with the system. Some examples of sites built with the system include the InVenture Challenge (inventurechallenge.gatech.edu), Stanley Neural Coding Laboratory 
(stanley.gatech.edu), and blog of Gary May, Southern Company Chair and Dean of the College of Engineering (deanmay.gatech.edu). 

This fall, PWP is taking its training on the road and scheduling information sessions in schools and colleges around campus. The group also hosts a monthly drop-in session at Highland Bakery in the Bradley Building where users can stop by with their laptop to ask questions or learn more. The next drop-in session takes place Wednesday, Sept. 16, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. in the Bradley Conference Room. 

To learn more or get started creating a website, visit pwp.gatech.edu.

Last revised August 1, 2017