This post offers a few tools one can use at the University of Michigan (UM) Medical School and UMHS to build a website, focusing on Google Site resources.
Building a web site with Google Site is relatively easy and does not require any knowledge of HTML coding. Remember you can not put ePHI (electronic private health information) on a Google Site.
As a clinician-educator, sometimes you want to create a space - a website for sharing and for collaborating on resources related to education or ongoing projects. In one-two hours you can build a simple website and add your favorite links.
2. Build a Google Site (Easier)
The effort needed to build a site is low and results are easy to see quickly. You can learn to build a site in one hour.
Why Google Sites?
- It's intuitive, hard to break or corrupt the site
- You can start on your own and don't need IT support
- It's free
Start with these resources for the UM and UMHS community
- Browse the UM Medical School Google Resources
- Start off with a UM Medical School theme (template)
- The UM has an entire Google Site with lots of help
- Lynda.com has many instructional videos (login required)
Learn more at Google
- Go to Google and get started with Google Sites
Learn even more
- Mary Fran's Getting Started with Google Sites is great if you want to dig deep.
- YouTube has hundreds of videos
3. Build a WordPress or Drupal Site (Harder)
The cost varies based on how much you will do and how much the web designer you hire will do. UM IT will starts the process with an installation of either WordPress (WP) or Drupal.
- Drupal is the preferred hosting option.
- Learn more about installation and cost on the UM Hosting Platform site.
- Cost $500/ year to maintain the site (as of June 2016).
- The choice between WP and Drupal depends on your goals for the site, the time you are willing to invest in building and maintaining content, and your budget.
4. Keeping Your Site Alive: Adding Content
Content is King
The little gem of a quote (don't know who said it first) is true. Adding quality content to your website is important and takes more time than you think.
5. My Own Journey Learning to Build Websites
In 2007 I started using Dreamweaver and learned a fair bit of HTML coding (2007) to build a websites 'from scratch'. That approach did not work out (for many reasons), so I evolved to using a Content Management System (CMS).
If you Google search the term options of a Content Management System, you will find many options. I explored these options, talked to folks in the business and met designers. After a winding and longer than expected odyssey that included experimenting with Google Sites, Drupal and WordPress (WP), I chose WP. The site you are now using is a WP site.
If you want to get a site up and running quickly, I would suggest you begin with a Google Site because of simplicity and availability of helpful resources.