Blogging on the WordPress.com Platform

This free course is about how to start a free blog on WordPress.com.

The purpose of this course is to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before you jump into starting a blog.

Is this the right platform for your blog?

Joan Margau

Instructor

Blogging on WordPress

WordPress.com uses the new WordPress Calypso interface.

There are 41.7 million posts published each month on the WordPress.com platform.

You need an account with WordPress.com to have a blog on the WordPress.com platform. After you have created an account follow the steps to creating a site.

Naming the blog

The name of the blog is based on the subject of the blog.
In this example we are going to set up a blog about food, healthy eating. Healthy eating is a good title for a blog about food.

The Name Healthy eating has a string of numbers after the name. This means there are 404990 blogs with the same name.

Too many numbers after the name

WordPress.com provides alternative suggestions. These suggestions are based on a domain name hosted on WordPress.com which means upgrading from a free blog on WordPress.com.

A decision is needed at this point

  • Do you want a free blog?
  • Do you want to upgrade and host your blog on WordPress.com?

The answer depends on what you want for your blog. If you want a free blog you need to choose a name that isn’t taken.

Example: the purpose of setting up a blog on WordPress.com was to blog. It took some time to find the right combination. Using the word “blogging” and the name associated with the blog, Joan.

This combination gave the URL //bloggingjoan.wordpress.com

Choose and Customize a Theme

There are 288 themes to choose from in the WordPress.com Theme Repository. When selecting a theme be sure to read the documentation before installing the theme.

In this example the Independent Publisher 2 Theme is used. After installing the Theme go to the Customize section.

 

Theme Customize Section

The Theme Customize section takes you to the screen where you make changes to the Theme. You see the changes on the screen as you make them.

Customizing Theme Settings

Go through each setting. Click the bracket symbol > to open the section. The Theme settings will give choices. Read the explanation and if you’re not sure of a setting, click on the ? symbol for more information.

Content Options

You will find the selections are self explanatory. Read each one carefully and decide if you want to use that feature. If the box is not checked, the feature is not active.

For more information about the setting, click the question mark ? symbol.

The Featured Image

Featured images are used throughout the site. You may use images in a Header, a page, a blog post, in a widget. Wherever the image is used, you need to make sure you understand how images work. Click on the Featured Images help, this takes you to additional information.

The best way to get relevant information about featured images:

  1. Visit the website and read the information
  2. Bookmark the page for future use
  3. //en.support.wordpress.com/featured-images/

Widgets

Widgets are placeholders and can be placed in the footer or the sidebar of the blog. It is a matter of choice and personal preference depending on the information you want to put into the widget.

Theme Options and Gravatar Image

The Theme Independent Publisher 2, used in this example, comes with the option to use a Gravatar imge.

In WordPress, Gravatar is short for “Globally Recognized Avatar.”

A Gravatar is your personal online Avatar, and is unique to you. You are using a Gravatar with your WordPress.com account which works on WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

You can also build an online profile with a Gravatar account. To set up a Gravatar go to: //en.gravatar.com/ and follow the WordPress prompts.

General Settings

There are many details to take care of with a blog. Sometimes something doesn’t work because the setting wasn’t checked or enabled. Go through each setting, General, Writing, Discussion, and Traffic.

If the setting is greyed out it is not in use. Click on the setting to enable the setting.

Plugins and Stats

WordPress is known for the many plugins you can add to the site for specific funtions.

With a free blog on WordPress.com you can only use some features of the Jetpack plugin. The plugin is automatically installed.

Social Sharing

This is a built-in feature of the Jetpack plugin because it is installed. You can connect social media accounts to your blog posts. Click on Sharing in the Dashboard Menu.

The Social Sharing options screen will open. Select which account you want to connect with your blog. In this example only the Twitter account is active.

Viewing Options

WordPress is responsive software. This means that whichever screen your site is viewed on, the software automatically adjusts to the size of the screen.

You can view the different size screens from two areas. From the Dashboard area and from the Theme Customize area.

Conclusion

WordPress.com is a free platform with restrictions. It will not give you the full use of the WordPress software for your blog.

Should you start with a free blog and then upgrade?

Should you start with everything you need and not have the problems associated with migrating your blog?

The answer to this question is in the next video about WordPress.org (link to Self-hosting With WordPress Page)

Jumpstart to WordPress

WordPress.com is a hosting platform. This means your blog is on this platform and is not self-hosted.

If you know what you want but need help starting take the Jumpstart to WordPress Course.

Jumpstart to WordPress

Set up your blog right the first time. Get the blog you want with all the features you need.