How to use WordPress.com, Part 2
Last issue, I covered the steps of signing up for an account at WordPress.com in order to start a feee website for yourself or your arts organization.
Once you’ve registered a site name with your email at WordPress.com and made a few choices about upgrades (none of which are required; using WordPress.com can still be completely free), you’ll be asked for a “tagline” for your site. Enter one – such as the full name of your arts organization, or a description of your arts business – but again, you can easily change this later.
The next screen is where you choose a theme, or design, for your site. You’ll see a half dozen or so choices, and some may look good right away. But it’s important to remember you can always change the design later without having to change everything you have entered on your pages. So choose a theme that looks OK for now, because you can browse through hundreds later on.
The most popular and simplest themes are the WordPress default themes, such as the “twentysomething” series, like twentyten, twentyeleven, etc. And with some theme choices, you’ll be given the option to start customizing the theme right away, but you should click through that screen and finish setting up the site first. You can always go back and customize, and it makes sense to customize after you get some of your page content in the site.
The next step will take you to what’s called the “dashboard” of your WordPress.com site. This is where all the site administration takes place: your posts and pages, your widgets, the site users, and everything else.
You can click on the name of your site in the upper left hand corner to go to the site itself, but check out the Dashboard first and try out each link. When logged in and viewing the actual site, there will be a “admin bar” across the top that only you will see.
It’s easy to point and click and explore and build out your site. But there is lots of help and step-by-steps in the online forums at http://en.forums.wordpress.com
WordPress.com will handle many of your website needs. But if you find you need more capabilities than wordpress.com offers – such as e-commerce, the need to place ads on your site, use an original design, or add custom functions for special business needs – you can still use WordPress.
The only difference is you take a copy of the same WordPress software and put it on your own web server, and then you have much more control and available options. That’s not too complicated, and it’s cheap, at around $80-$100 a year for the web hosting. Using your own webhost will give you may more choices and possibilities for a full fledged web presence.
There are more than 40 million people using WordPress right now, so you won’t be alone and it will be easy to find help with what you want to do.