To start your blog, follow these steps:

  1. Go to WordPress.com and click on the orange “Sign-up” button. Create a username & password, etc. Click the radio button at the bottom for “just a username” so you can choose your own blog domain name. Check your email and verify your address as instructed, and then no matter what screen it takes you to, revisit WordPress.com.
  2. You should now see a screen that asks you to choose your blog domain and title. You can always change the title later.
  3. After creating your blog, log back in to WordPress with your new username and password and you should see your Dashboard. This is home base. You’ll want to visit the following areas in the left sidebar first:
  4. Settings > General: choose your tagline. Set the timezone to UTC -4. Make sure to click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the screen when you are finished.
  5. Settings > Discussion: I highly recommend you uncheck the default setting “Comment author must have a previously approved comment” to save yourself hassle.
  6. Settings > Privacy: You can change any of these setting at any time. These are not one-time choices.
  7. Next, go to the Appearance tab in the left sidebar, and choose your theme. You can change your theme, but the more you customize your blog and the more widgets you add, the harder changing the theme becomes. Today in class we discussed why you might want a theme with a customizable header picture, for example, or two columns vs. three. Choose wisely. Have fun. You can preview themes before deciding on one.
  8. Choose your widgets. If you don’t know what they are, use the WordPress help.
  9. Visit your site. You will be able to click the “edit” button on the first post to change it. Visit the Comments link in the left sidebar to delete the first default comment. This is good practice in managing comments.
  10. I encourage you to edit your profile, which you can do by choosing My Account > Edit Profile in the top left corner. Upload a more unique image for your avatar. This image will appear whenever you comment on a WordPress blog.
  11. I also encourage you to make use of the super-cool “Press This” dashboard button, available in the Tools tab. Drag it into your dashboard. Whenever you see something on another web site you want to use on your blog, click it and use the pop-up box that appears.
  12. If you missed class today, or even if you didn’t, I highly recommend watching this video on using tags and categories. I recommend you start working with these early as an organizational tool.
  13. Start blogging! Experiment, play around, have fun, you can’t break anything too badly. If you have technical questions, please check the WordPress help (and videos!) first, then email me if you are still stuck.
  14. And don’t forget to email me the address of your blog when you have it.
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