How To Start Your Own Professional Blog with WordPress

Posted by Matthew Guay on How to geek See other posts from How to geek or by Matthew Guay
Published on Mon, 26 Apr 2010 18:00:00 +0000 Indexed on 2010/04/26 18:14 UTC
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Would you like to start your own blog or website?  With a free WordPress  account, it’s free and easy to get started creating your own professional quality blog site.

This is the first part in a series on how to create your own professional quality blog site. No, we’re not talking about some cheapo looking blog from Blogger or something on Facebook, but creating a quality blog you can be proud of and present to millions of readers online.

WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms, powering hundreds of high-profile websites and blogs around the world.  It’s both powerful and easy to use, which makes it great whether you’re just starting out or are a blogging pro.  To start out with your blogging project WordPress is completely free, and you can use the online interface or install the WordPress software on your own server and blog from there.

Getting Started

You can start a blog in just a few minutes.  Head over to WordPress.com and click Sign up now on the right-hand side of the main page.

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Enter a username and password, check that you agree with the legal terms, select the “Gimme a blog” bullet, and click Next.

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WordPress may inform you that your username is already taken, simply choose a new one and try again.

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Next, choose a domain for your blog.  This will be the address for your site, and cannot be changed, so be sure to choose exactly what you want.  If you’d prefer your address to be yourname.com instead of yourname.wordpress.com, you can add your own domain for a fee after your blog is setup…but we’ll cover that later.

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Once you click signup, you will be sent a confirmation email.  While you wait for the email to arrive you can go ahead and enter in your name and a short bio about yourself.

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When you receive your confirmation email, click the link.  Congratulations; you now have your own blog!

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You can view your new blog immediately, though the default theme isn’t very interesting without your content and pictures.

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Back on the page you opened from the email, click Login to access your blog’s administration page and to start adding stuff to your blog.  You can also access your blog’s admin page anytime by from yourname.wordpress.com/admin, substituting your own blog name for yourname.

Enter your username and password, then click Log in to get started.

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Adding Content to your WordPress.com Blog

When you sign in to your WordPress blog, you’ll first see the WordPress Admin page.  Here you can see recent posts and comments, and you can see stats of how many people have visited your site.  You can also access all of your blog tools and settings right from this page.

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To add a new post to your blog, click the Posts link on the left, then click “Add New” either on the left menu or on the top of the Edit Posts page.  Or, if you want to edit the default first post, hover over it and select Edit.

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Or click the New Posts button on the top of the page.  This menu bar is always visible whenever you’re logged in, so it’s an easy way to add a post.

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The editor lets you easily write anything you want in a Microsoft Word-style editor.  You can format your text, add lists, links, quotes, and more.  When you’re ready to share your content with the world, click Publish on the right side.

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To add pictures or other files, click the picture icon beside “Upload/Insert”.  Your free blog account can store up to 3Gb of pictures and documents which will definitely give you a good start.

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Click Select Files, and then choose the pictures or documents you want to add to your post.

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When the pictures have uploaded, you can add a caption and choose how to position the picture.  When you’re finished, select “Insert into Post”.

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Or, if you want to add a video, click the video button.  You have to add a paid upgrade to upload videos directly, but you can add YouTube and other online videos for free.

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Click the “From URL” tab, and then paste the link to the YouTube video and click Insert into post.

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If you’re a code geek, click the HTML tab in the editor and edit the HTML of your blog post the geeky way.

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Once you’ve added all your content and edited it the way you want, click the Publish button on the right of the editor.  Or, you can click Preview to make sure it looks right, and then click Publish.

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Here’s our blog with the new blog post containing a picture and video.  While you’re getting to know you’re way around the controls in WordPress, the Preview feature will be your best friend while you try to organize the content to your liking.

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Conclusion

It only takes a couple minutes to get started blogging at WordPress.com. Whether you want to write about your daily life, share pictures of your children, or review the latest books and gadgets, WordPress.com is a great place to get started for free.  But we’ve only covered a small portion of the WordPress features…but this should get you started. Check back for more WordPress and blogging coverage coming up soon!

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