How to Create A WordPress.com Blog or Website in 12 Easy Steps

I built a website/blog using WordPress.com recently. In this post, I will talk about the reasons I chose to use WordPress.com, as well as the process you can follow to create and customize your own WordPress.com blog.

The WordPress.com
Website/Blog I Created

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I try to build & maintain a working knowledge of the most popular/widely used online website building/blogging services available online…some are free, others are paid.   Although my longtime comfort zone/preference has been to build websites using Adobe products (Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Flash, etc.), I have found that more and more clients are looking for the freedom/ability to easily manage their own content.  This is a fair request and has lead me to exploring just how much I can customize/tweak a website or blog on SquareSpace, Blogger, and now WordPress.com (hooray!) to give the website a professional  “look” while still offering the client the benefits of content management.  In summary, I’m mastering the art of customizing/designing around/tweaking a template so it doesn’t look like a template anymore…

Why WordPress.com?

  1. Search Engine Optimization…My friends Brian & Trevor (SEO experts at Synactable), told me that WordPress sites in general are much easier to optimize for search engines, and are intrinsically built (coded) cleaner overall when compared to Blogger.com, making WordPress.com websites/blogs more favorable for SEO. 
  2. Content Management with Ease – the “dashboard” is your one-stop source for editing just about everything on your blog/website…everything from blog posts to pages to side navigation and widgets.
  3. Pages.  WordPress.com comes with the ability to create a multiple pages on your blog/website without having to know html.
  4. Cost.  WordPress.com is free (or inexpensive if you choose to upgrade for even more features).  I do recommend spending the $12/year to hide the “.wordpress.com” portion of your URL, so your web address (URL) is simplified. 
Before I share my experience, you may want to quickly read over the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.  There are real differences, and I am writing about my experience with WordPress.com for now.  The next step will be for me to dive into WordPress.org…can’t wait!
How to Create Your WordPress.com Blog/Website in 12 Easy Steps
  1. Account creation…couldn’t be easier! Visit https://en.wordpress.com/signup/ and fill in the 4 required fields and voila! 
  2. On the next screen you’ll name your blog domain, title your blog, choose your language, and choose to make your blog public or private
  3. Now it’s time to create your profile.  Enter your profile info (first name, last name, about)
  4. Check your email to confirm your registration
  5. When you confirm your registration, you’re taken to the WordPress.com website.  Login and select “dashboard” from the “my blog” button
  6. Let’s start customizing your blog by clicking on “appearance” (on left-nav while in your dashboard)
  7. Browse the themes to choose one that has the features/layout you like.  Be sure that the template you choose offers the features you require, such as “pages” before you make your decision.  Select your template and click “activate”. I chose the “Ocean Mist” look for The Charleston Real Estate Connection blog.
  8. Design and import a customized header to be placed at the top of each page of your WordPress site (if you so choose).  If you choose the Ocean Mist theme, your header will need to measure 736 X 229.  Regardless, once you click on “header”, WordPress will give you the dimensions for your header.  To upload your header, click on “choose file”, “upload”, and “save changes”.
  9. At this time, you may wish to remove the “just another wordpress blog” from below your blog title.  Do do this, click on “settings” from your dashboard and then “General” to pull up your General Settings screen.
  10. Create pages (if the template you choose offers pages).  To do this, click on “pages” from your dashboard.  You may notice that a default “about” page has already been created for you.  This is usually a good place to start.  You can add, rename, edit, or remove pages as you wish.  Simply click on “add new” button to create a new page, or hover over existing pages to view your editing options.  After naming your page and entering your content, be sure to click “publish”
  11. Customize your sidebar by clicking on “appearance”, then “widgets”.  Drag the available widgets of your choice over into your sidebar by clicking and dragging them one at a time.  You can re-arrange their order as you go.  Now is a good time to evaluate your blog-building progress by clicking on “My Blog” from the top of your dashboard.  Are you happy with the appearance thus far?  Ready to add more pages or widgets in your sidebar?
  12. Create and publish your first blog post. Click on “posts” and edit the default “hello world” post.

    WordPress.com took a little getting used to for me, but I am so happy I took the time to learn my way around it’s dashboard/features/benefits.  I hope you feel the same way! Look for more WordPress.com posts to come on this blog.

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Laura Catherine is a marketing professional in Charleston, SC who has been active in social media since 2005.  If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to this blog via Email or RSS below. Laura can also be found on Twitter (@LauraCatherineO) and LinkedIn

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Comments: 6

  1. pixelsmedia 12 October, 2010 at 10:34 am Reply

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. sonyamacdesigns 12 October, 2010 at 4:02 pm Reply

    I will share so you can share when http://www.ursobeautiful2me.com is up and runN again

  3. Connection Maven 12 October, 2010 at 11:32 pm Reply

    Hi, Laura,

    Good post on the basics of WordPress.com. We find that we like the functionality and freedom that comes from a self-hosted WP site. Not as many limitations on storage or plug-ins. And with a self-hosted blog/site, you have the world available for full customization of your design.

    We build all of our websites using WordPress as a CMS. And we can create customized themes. No more using pre-designed themes.

  4. Michael 13 October, 2010 at 1:52 am Reply

    Laura,

    Good intro. From a “mechanics” view point, one of the other things to beware of with WordPress.com vs .org is that they can take down or suspend your account at any time. Kind of like being evicted from an apartment you rent. This is one of the dangers of building a business on someone else site.

    Did a presentation a few weeks ago on just these sort of issues. You can find the slide I used over on http://www.TheSocialMediaMonster.com.

    Hope we get to meet before BarCampChs. Can’t believe we keep missing each other at all the tweetups and such.

    Michael

  5. Laura Catherine 13 October, 2010 at 1:19 pm Reply

    Thank you Cheryl & Michael for your comments. So nice to know you! I hope to master WordPress.org next. :)

  6. Heather 13 October, 2010 at 9:57 pm Reply

    Great post! I’ve bookmarked it for future reference. Everyone in the SEO Copywriting community says WordPress is THE way to go…I really need to become more familiar with it. Thanks for the help:)

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