The first step on your way to blogging glory is to set up a WordPress.com account.
Head over to wordpress.com and click on one of the buttons that say “Sign Up”, “Get Started”, or “Create a webpage”. These buttons all go to the same place: a six step process to set up your account and website. Everything you select during this process can be changed later, so don’t over think it!
The six steps:
- Category. This helps WordPress make connections and offer suggestions.
- Homepage layout. These options are basic front page layouts, your selection will limit which themes you can chose from.
- Theme. Themes are the magic of WordPress, allowing you the change the complete appearance of your site without editing any content. They are easy to preview and switch between once your site is started, so don’t worry too much about finding the perfect one now.
- Domain name. Type in the name you want for your site’s web address. Once you put a word in the box, WordPress will give you some suggestions of addresses that are available. Choose a free one! Free domains end in .wordpress.com, such as example.wordpress.com. Keep trying different words if a good address doesn’t come up. Spend a bit of time thinking about this, since this is one part of the set up you do NOT want to change later. This URL is how people will find your site and has some branding built in. Hopefully you can find something memorable, meaningful, or interesting.
- Plan. Choose free! There are lots of paid add-ons for many purposes, but we don’t need them.
- Email / Password. Do NOT use your university account. Its better to have a personal account, such as Gmail, that isn’t directly related to your official accounts. Think carefully about your identity and privacy. Do you want to be anonymous? Next choose a STRONG password. Keep in mind that being the most popular web software in the world also means there are a lot of security threats. Since our use is not sensitive Mission Critical, there is not much risk, but having your account hacked is not fun! The best security is simply being consistent about having a strong, unique password that you change on a regular basis.
After you complete the steps, WordPress will redirect you to the admin page of your new website! There will be a lot of pop up help windows explaining what everything is when you first start using it.
However, before we go forward, check your email for the account Confirmation message. You will need to click the confirmation button in the email to fully activate your WordPress account. Get that done, then head to the next lesson about the Admin interface!
More: Your Profile
Optionally, you might want to spend sometime setting up your public profile which is managed via the Gravatar service. Access your account information by clicking the profile icon on the right side of the Admin bar at the top of your window when logged into WordPress.
On this page you can set your name, bio, and upload a profile image (note: it takes up to 30 minutes for your account image to appear on your site). This information will be associated with your activity throughout wordpress.com. If you comment on another blog or create a post on your own, it will be connected to this profile. If you would like to stay anonymous, leave the profile blank or add a pseudonym.