WordPress.com is the free-hosted version of the ever-popular blogging platform turned website content management systems – WordPress.org. By choosing a pre-made theme-in-a-box (template), it offers a relatively simple way of building a free yet powerful brochure website & blog for your passion, your hobby or your business.
WordPress.com V WordPress.org – Pros and Cons (Differences)
Pros – You don’t have to mess with the convoluted setting up of a hosting account. The optimization via “settings” and customization of the theme via “appearance” is more streamlined than in WordPress.org. The downside to this is you are still relying on WordPress.com as a host to be a good one (secure and fast).
Cons – You don’t have access to the (almost literally) countless themes and plugins available to make your website one-of-a-kind. The upside to this is that it limits the options to be confused with if you are building your first website. However, there are numerous high-quality free and paid themes to choose from as well as upgrades to allow for additional customization and ecommerce plugins. Other paid upgrades include domain name, additional customization power, storage space, ecommerce, google analytics, and support.
Steps to building your WordPress.com website:
1. Go to http://wordpress.com/ and sign up for an account. WordPress may ask you to choose a theme here. There is no rush to do so now – just pick one so you can move on.
2. Find a domain (options include either a free domain or for a fee – map it to a domain already purchased via a host of your choice).
3. Pick a plan – https://store.wordpress.com/plans/.
4. Review settings, customize appearance, & set up pages. See below.
Additional resources in the meantime….
Course – https://bloggingu.wordpress.com/
Support Docs – http://en.support.wordpress.com/
First Steps – https://en.support.wordpress.com/five-step-website-setup/
Learn – https://learn.wordpress.com/
SEO – https://en.blog.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/seo-on-wordpress-com/
IMPORTANT – Type in http://YourDomainName.WordPress.com/wp-admin/ – This is your dashboard. If you are on WordPress.com yet logged in, you are in the wrong place to accurately manage your WordPress.com website.
General – Site title and tagline
Reading – Set static home page and blog page, set search engine visibility,
Sharing – Set up social media profiles to which blog posts are automatically shared via publicize
Tools – Set up of Google Webmaster Tools
Next – choose your theme via “appearance” menu in your dashboard. No need to customize it just yet…
Appearance – Choose Theme – https://wordpress.com/themes/dyad/
IMPORTANT! – Be sure to view the link to your chosen theme (should be available in the footer of your site) to learn more about how to customize your theme as the process will be just a bit different depending on the theme chosen – particularly in setting up featured content via customization and setting up page templates via adding a new page. This will make the journey much less frustrating. Just be advised that some newer themes may not support older browsers such as IE 8. More about seo services here.
Next – add and set your pages. This is so they will be available with you customize your theme…
1. Set page title and friendly permalink (url of that page)
2. Set Page Template (May differ depending on theme chosen). This affects the layout of the page and how information is fed into it.
Home = Front page
About = Full Width
Services = Grid
Portfolio = Grid
Blog = Alt Side Bar
Contact = Full Width
3. Set Featured Image (affects main image for that page and on home page)
4. Add Content (Text / Images / Links)
Testimonials & Portfolio items are set up and maintained in separate areas of the dashboard. Sadly, Ecommerce products cannot be set up in a typical way like on self-hosted wordpress.org websites. However, with a bit of imagination and ingenuity (ie – pics of products and links to a paypal website), this can still be accomplished. E-Commerce plugins however are available with a paid upgrade.
Now you are ready to customize your theme…
Appearance – Widgets
Appearance – Menu
Appearance – Customize Theme
– Title / Tagline / Logo
– Colors / Fonts
– Header Image (leave blank if choosing featured image)
– Confirm Set Menus / Widgets
– Confirm Set Static Front Page / Blog Page
– Theme Options – Featured Pages on Home Page (or blog posts)
See the little “edit” button just under the “more” button there? They are throughout your site in this view. If you click on it, it will take you to the area of wordpress (outside of your “dashboard” where you can make additional edits. Try and and see.