01 Why WordPress?
Other blogging platforms are available – but WordPress is the one I always recommend: it is powerful, intuitive, extendable – and free. There are two versions: WordPress.org and WordPress.com. You need to be a bit techy to use WordPress.org, as you have to download the software and then upload it to your own server. The advantage is that you can customize the code and use extra bits of software called ‘plugins’.
This tutorial will show you how to use WordPress.com – the same software, but hosted on the WordPress servers. This means you can be up and blogging within minutes, and is enough for most uses, at least to start with. If you decide to upgrade to WordPress.org later, you can even import your old posts, so you have nothing to lose.
02 Sign up to WordPress.com
Go to http://wordpress.com. Click the blue SIGN UP FREE button. Choose the web address you want for your blog – just type it in and it will tell you if it is available. The default, free option is to have .wordpress.com after the name – but you can also choose to end your domain with .me, .com, .net or .org for an annual fee. WordPress will suggest a username that matches your domain name, but you can choose a different one if you wish. Enter and confirm a password, enter your email address, scroll down to click Create Blog – then click the link in your email to confirm and be taken to a Welcome page.
03 Visit Your Dashboard
WordPress will guide you through a number of steps including following other blogs, choosing a theme and writing your first post. Don’t worry too much about these – you can change everything later. What you want to arrive at is your Dashboard. This is the control centre for your blog, where you add posts and pages and manage your blog. It is also the same as the WordPress.org dashboard, so worth familiarizing yourself with. You can switch between the ‘front end’ public view of your blog and the ‘back end’ Dashboard from the menu at the top-left of your screen.