This Guide to Using WordPress will get you off and running

    1. Getting Started

To get started with WordPress, head on to WordPress.com. Create a username and password and pick a web address. The address is always in the format youraddress.wordpress.com. Make sure the “youraddress” portion is relevant to the main theme of your site/blog. Select the kind of plan you want. You can always start with a free basic plan and upgrade to something with more juice later.

Next thing you need is a profile and profile picture also known as Gravatar. Create a personal profile by clicking the round icon at the top right corner of your WordPress account. Upload an image avatar.

Before moving on to the next step, create a title for your site by going to My Sites > Customize > Site Identity.

    1. Explore

The next thing you want to do is to acquaint yourself with the workings of WordPress.com. Start with the Reader which is the community hub. Here, you will find some great material to read.

Next, look under the hood by visiting the dashboard. Here you will get to do a number of things such customizing the look and feel, upload media and, write and edit posts.

To the left of your dashboard, you will see a number of menus. These are essentially links that open various sections of the dashboard. Each section performs a specific function. Click through and explore.

    1. Install a Theme

A theme is a site layout that governs how your blog appears to visitors. WordPress.com has hundreds of free themes to choose from. To begin theme installation, navigate to the “My Sites” menu and then click “Themes”. You can try out a theme using the “Try & Customize” link. If you are happy with the theme, click “Activate” and WordPress will install the theme and, generate a success message.

    1. Configure the Theme

Once you have installed the theme, you must now tailor it to suit your needs. The first thing you need to do is upload a custom header. The header is the image that appears at the top of your blog. It could be a logo or just a slogan that you want to use for your blog. To upload, navigate to My Sites > Customize > Header.

Next, work on the sidebars of your blog. You can add interesting content on your sidebars such as images, text, polls…just about anything you fancy. To do this, navigate to My Sites > Customize > Widgets.

The final configuration you need to do is to change the colors and fonts to your preferences. To do this, navigate to My Sites > Customize > Colors & Backgrounds and My Sites > Customize > Fonts.

    1. Start Publishing

You are now all set to start publishing. First, decide whether you want to publish a post or a page. A post is chronological/historical update. Each post pushes the previous down the list. A page, on the other hand, is a static section of the site that’s linked from the home page. For example, you may have an About Me/Us and Contact page; these are static.

To publish a post, navigate to My Sites > Blog Posts > Add. Type your post, edit, spell check and once done, click Publish and your post is instantly online.

To publish a page, navigate to My Sites >Pages > Add. Type the page edit, spell check and once done, click Publish and your page is instantly online.

Readers need find your content easily, so it is advisable to create a menu. To do this, navigate to My Sites > Menus.

    1. Connect

Publishing is one step to getting people to read your site. To really turn on the afterburners, you must connect with other people.

Start by tagging all your posts with relevant keywords. This helps the WordPress community quickly find your posts.

Also, find blogs that interest you using the Reader. Follow bloggers who interest you and they may follow you back. Guest post constructively on other blogs to get people to check out your own blog. Give lots of feedback via comments and likes. People love to be appreciated and will feel inclined to reciprocate.

Next, go social. Share your posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social accounts. This will spread the word and in time will lead to more blog readers. To set up sharing, navigate to My Sites > Sharing.

Finally, install a WordPress.com mobile app on your phone so that you are always within “tapping” distance of your blog. This way, you can post a quick update or respond to a comment.

    1. Conclusion

This is a quickstart guide and is intended to provide you with the basics. However, if you are already comfortable with the basics and need to understand more about the inner workings of WordPress.com, we recommend you read the documentation which can be found at support.wordpress.com.