If you want a free website, wordpress.com offers an easy way to get one for free with very little effort. You can be up and running in very little time and you can keep your wallet in your pocket. Later on, when you have more experience, or more interest, you can expand outward. If you’re just getting started, though, WordPress.com is a great way to go.
- Two versions of WordPress
- Advantages and Disadvantages
- How to Get Started
- How to Set up your new WordPress site.
Did you know that there are two versions of WordPress?
Note: for the purposes of this article, the terms site, website, and blog are completely interchangeable.
- WordPress.com is the free online system. You fill out a few blanks and you’ll have your own site named something like YourSiteName.Wordpress.com. Everything you will need for your site is hosted on their system, including site templates and all kinds of stuff.
- WordPress.org is where you get the downloadable package that you can install on your own hosting service. The WordPress sutff is free, but you will still need to buy a domain name and hosting. You upload these files to your host, create a database, hook it all up, and you’re good. (This can be automated, and isn’t at all hard anyway.) The advantage to the added work in going this route is that you get a lot more flexibility with plugins, templates, customization, etc. You also don’t use WordPress’ domain name, so it’s better branding for you.
On this page I’ll be writing about the former, WordPress.com. (By the way, the Blogger.com system is very similar.)
The upsides of WordPress.com are:
- It’s quick and easy to set the thing up, much faster than doing it yourself with your web host. There is no downloading or uploading or files or even working with your hosting service’s control panel (administration area.)
- The restricted plugins and other stuff make for a very reliable system.
- Traffic? If you’re capable, now or later, of sending truly server crushing traffic to a site then you will be Ok with WordPress. WP won’t care at all, they can take it. Most paid hosting services will kick you off or make you upgrade to a more expensive setup if you’re sending that much traffic to their systems. Or the server will just crash under the load and the techs will bring it back up. Again, WordPress.com just won’t care about how much traffic you send to your site.
- Despite what I said above about customizing, there is still a nice selection of site templates to pick from. You can have a pretty slick site set up within a few minutes. (It’s just that there is a lot more customization available with the WP on your own hosting.)
- Oh, and did I say this is free?
The downsides are few and these may or may not be an issue for you. For the person just getting started with building their first website these “issues” are not problems.
- You’re restricted in what customizations you are allowed to do. For security and reliability reasons WordPress.com restricts the availability of third party “plugins” and other customizations. There are some paid options which will allow more customization, but it is still much less than the WP hosted on your own domain.
- You will be using WordPress’ domain, like this: YourSiteName.Wordpress.com. You can hook up a domain name to your site, and you can even buy that domain name through WordPress.com, but they will charge you $17 (per year) to do that.
So let’s build the thing.
Step 1 – Topic: You will need to have some idea of what you want to write about. This is, I think, the hardest part. I’m going to write about eating right and weight loss. Not that I’m an expert or anything, mind you, but I do have a spare tire and I have a lot of 3rd party content that I can put up.
Step 2 – Signup: Ok, this borders on trivial. Not because of the brilliance of my writing, but because WP now has a video walkthrough that will show how to get going!
- Go to WordPress.com and click the orange “sign up now” button to the top right of your screen. (Note the 10-step walk-through guide link. This is a video walk-though, which is pretty cool.)
- On the next page just enter the name of your site. Mine will be EatingRightToLoseWeight.Wordpress.com. (You will be given the chance to buy a domain name here. It’ll be $17 if that’s what you want to do, but you don’t have to do it. )
- Enter your login name. This is the name that you will use to log into your WP blog. It does not have to be the same as your site name. I went with gettinglighter, but it can be anything that someone has not already taken. (All of your blog posts will show that name as the author, so it should be something that isn’t illegal, immoral, or fattening.)
- Enter a password and confirm it. I like to use passwords like this: o3289hcdbc83, but I do need to remember to write them down somewhere.
- Enter an email address that you will actually look at. WP will send you a confirmation email which will have a subject line something like this:
[WordPress.com] Activate http://eatrighttoloseweight.wordpress.com/You must be able to read that email to access your new site.
- Once you click the link in that email you will be taken to another WP page and your site will be live.
- From that page you can either view your new site or login to the control panel. You did remember to write down your user-name and your password, right?
And now, you have a new WordPress.com site to play with.
Part two: How to Setup Your WordPress.com Site