Tutorial: How to Start a Free Blog in WordPress

Set up your presence on the web in minutes

Starting a WordPress.com blog can seem intimidating to anyone who is new to the process, but WordPress makes the entire process easy on beginners. In just minutes, you can create a free blog at this popular blog host and start posting your comments and articles for the public to see.

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Sign Up for a Free WordPress.com Account

Wordpress Home Page Screen Shot
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Visit the WordPress home page and select the Start Your Website button to register for a free WordPress account.

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Enter Information to Create Your Account

Enter a valid email address that has not been used to create another WordPress account in the account sign-up screen. You are prompted to enter a username and password of your choosing, and you are asked to confirm that you've read the terms and conditions of the WordPress website before you click the Continue button.

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Enter Information to Create Your New WordPress Blog

In the first field, enter a name for your blog. Free WordPress blogs usually end with ".home.blog," so the name you choose for users to type into their internet browsers to find your blog is always be followed by that extension.

Answer the questions that WordPress asks including what your blog will be about. You are asked about the goal of your blog and given several options from which to choose: Are you promoting your business? Showcasing a portfolio? Sharing ideas and photos? and others.

In the section under How comfortable are you with creating a website? you'll see a scale ranging from Beginner (1) to Expert (5). If this is your first blog, select 1 and press Continue.

In the screen that opens, enter your blog's name in the field under Give your site an address and click the Blog option. You'll see a list of available URL (address) choices. There is usually only one free option and several paid options. Click Select next to the free option. The screen that opens explains the free plan and several paid ones. Click the Start with Free plan. You can change this later.

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Congratulations! Your Blog Is Created

The screen that opens congratulates you and presents a checklist to get started with your blog. The first thing on the checklist is to confirm your email address by responding to the email WordPress sends to your email address. Open the email and press Click here to Confirm Now. After you confirm, you receive a Welcome Kit email that includes all the information you need to get started including a 5-step process to get your blog up quickly. The checklist includes several other things you can do now or later with the estimated time it takes to accomplish, including:

  • Upload a site icon: 1 minute
  • Create a tagline: 2 minutes
  • Upload a profile picture: 2 minutes
  • Personalize your contact page: 2 minutes
  • Get the WordPress app for mobile devices: 3 minutes

and last, click Do it! next to Publish your first blog post.

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An Overview of Your WordPress User Dashboard

The screen that opens is called your dashboard. On your first visit, it is populated with placeholder text, a quote, and an image to illustrate where you can supply your content. Double-click on the headline, text or quote areas to make changes and write your first blog post. Your changes are saved as you work. Click Preview to see how it appears on the web.

Take time to explore your WordPress dashboard and don't be afraid to test the various tools and features available to you to help customize your blog.

Most of the symbols that represent the formatting options you have, such as for bold and italic text, appear at the top of the screen and should look familiar to you. If you don't know what one of them does, hover your cursor over it, and its name pops up.

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Choosing a Theme for Your New WordPress Blog

One of the best features of starting a free WordPress blog is making it your own with the various free templates and themes available. You can try several different themes to see which one works best for your blog.

Themes offer different levels of customization. For example, some themes allow you to upload a custom header for your blog, and each theme offers various widgets you can select to use in your sidebar. Have fun experimenting with the different options available to you.

The link to the free themes is included on your My Site page which displays when you log in to your WordPress account. On the My Site page, select Themes in the left panel in the Personalize section. Click the Free button to view only the free themes. Click on any theme to see a larger version along with information about widgets, colors, and fonts you can customize. When you find one you like, click Activate this design to apply it to your blog.