WordPress is a free program that allows you to create and edit your own blog where you can post custom content, audio, video and approved user comments.
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The lesson below will guide you through the basics of creating a blog with WordPress. Once you’ve completed the initial steps of setting up your WordPress blog, you’ll want to explore the many options available to extend your design even further. Visit WordPress.com for more information.As you search for information about WordPress online, you may see information about WordPress.org in your search. WordPress.org is different from WordPress.com – the latter, that we discuss in the tutorial below, is a free website hosted by WordPress. WordPress.org is an installation of the WordPress software that you can use on your own server – it’s much more powerful than WordPress.com and also more complicated to setup. Though it’s beyond the scope of this lesson, if you are looking for a lot more control and functionality, WordPress.org is worth looking into.
- Begin by visiting www.wordpress.com.
- Click on the Sign Up Now button to create a new account.
- Complete the form and click Next at the bottom of the screen.
- Set the name of your blog domain and the title of the blog. While you can change the title at any time, you cannot change the domain name (ie. the beginning part of your web address), so choose carefully.
- If you plan to compose your blog posts in a language other than English, you can change your default language with the pull-down menu.
- Click Next. A confirmation email will be sent to the email that you listed in Step 3 – you will need to confirm you new blog with this confirmation email in order to make it live.
- While you are waiting for the email to be delivered, you can fill in your basic information attached to your user account. Note: You can hide this information once you make your blog live, or make it available to people trying to contact you using your blog.
Working in your New Blog
- Once your account has been activated using the link in your confirmation email, go back to wordpress.com and login using your username and password.
- When you first login to WordPress, your Dashboard will appear on the screen. Think of this as a control panel where you can access any of the tools to work on your site.
- Begin by clicking on Settings on the bottom of the navigation on the left.
- You can change the default settings for the site from the choice within this menu. Here are some suggested changes you should change:
- In the General menu, change your Tagline to something else or delete it. Click Save Changes.
- In the Discussion menu, check the box An administrator must always approve the comment. Click Save Changes.
- If you would like your blog to be hidden except to selected users, click on the Privacy menu.
- There are two types of content that you can insert into your site – posts and pages. A post holds information that is time-sensitive and often short, like an update or an announcement. A page holds content that does not change over time, such as an About message or a Bio.
- Let’s begin by creating a new post. Click on Posts on the left and then click on Add New.
- Fill in a title for the post.
- Enter the content of the post, typing content directly into the box or copying and pasting text from outside of WordPress.
- You can add add media to any post as well, like an image:
- To add images to the body of the text, click on the image icon.
- You can upload an image (along with many other types of safe files such as word docs and PDF files).
- Once the image has been uploaded, you can give it a title and/or caption.
- Select a size for the image to be inserted into your post and an alignment.
- Click Insert into Post to add the picture.
- WordPress automatically saves as you work, but you can save a post that you haven’t published yet by clicking on Save Draft.
- Before you publish your post, you can tag it as part of a custom category that you create. In this way, users can look at groups of posts that are part of one of your pre-defined categories. Click on Add Category at the bottom of the Categories box to create a new category.
- Once you have finished with your post, click on Publish.
- You can see your site by clicking on the Visit Site button on the top of the screen. You will be able to see your blog how users will see it and your new post.
- To go back to your Dashboard, click on the My Dashboard link in the gray bar at the top of the screen.
- Now, let’s create a page. Begin by clicking on Pages on the left and then click on Add New.
- Give your new page a title (like “Bio” or “Syllabus” or “Contact Info”).
- Enter text and/or images into the main content area.
- Pages, in addition to being made public, can be set to be password protected or private. You can access these features by clicking the Edit link next to Visibility.
- When you are finished, either click Save Draft or Publish. Click on View Site again to see your site. You should have a new link on your site to your brand new page. When you are finished, go back to the dashboard.
Changing the Look of Your Site
- To change the blog design, click on the Appearance tab.
- WordPress comes with access to hundreds of custom themes – you can browse through these themes by clicking on the A-Z Filter or the Popular Filter.
- Click on the image for a theme that you’d like to preview and a sample shot of the theme will appear. If you want to use that theme, click on the Activate Theme link on the top-right. If you want to look at other themes, click on the X on the top-left.
- You can change your theme as many times as you’d like whenever you’d like.
- Each theme handles pages and post links differently, so as you switch from theme to theme, your nav and post areas may switch locations. Experiment with different themes until you find one that you like.
- Under the Appearance tab on the Dashboard, if you click on Widgets you can make changes to the way posts and links are displayed on your sidebar. Play around with adding and editing widgets to your sidebar and view the results – you can add and remove widgets as often as you’d like.
- Your Blogroll is a list of links to other blogs and sites – this list appears on your site, typically on your Sidebar. To edit your Blogroll, click on the Links tab in the dashboard. Add new links using the menu available. If you’d like to have several lists of links, label your links in specific Categories and then in the Widgets menu (Appearance>Widgets) you can set link lists to show based on their category.
- If your blog is successful with a large number of people, you may choose to make upgrades. You can have a custom domain name, custom design, more space, and the removal of ads from your site – all for a price. Click on the Upgrades tab in the Dashboard to see the upgrade options.
Note: If you are seriously thinking of upgrading your blog, you may want to consider the cheaper option of installing an instance of WordPress.org on a server. There are increased technical considerations for this option, to include acquiring server space. Visit WordPress.org for more information.
- Once your site is live to the public, you may start receiving comments on posts. Unless you have required comments to be approved first in your blog settings in the dashboard, they will go live immediately.
- If you’ve set your blog up to only show approved comments, you will receive an email every time a comment is submitted. You can approve a comment by clicking on the Comments tab and then rolling your mouse over the post.
- A menu will appear below the post summary – click on the Approve link that appears.
- The comment will now show up on the website.
Maintaining Your Site
- The chief function of a blog is to provide current and changing information on a regular basis. Make sure to post regularly to keep the site up.
- When submitting content on other blogs/websites, make sure to include links to your own blog in the post. This is a good way to bring people to your site.
- Use graphics and video as needed in order to make your site look and feel unique. Make it your own.
- If you’ve created a blog for a class, you may consider having each of your students create their own site and link all of them together with your Blogroll. This is a good way to instantly build a mini web community where everyone is writing and commenting at the same time.
Additional Resources and Works Cited