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Learn WordPress.com

Get the Most from WordPress.com

You’ve got a new site: huzzah! Whether you want to be a WordPress.com pro or just need to learn the basics, you’ve come to the right place. 

To learn how to make posts, pages, do basic customization, and broadcast your posts on social media, go through this site section by section.

Here are a few recommended resources to get you up to speed even faster:

  • Get Going NowA quick-start guide to all the basics you need to get up and running immediately.
  • Get a Homepage: Learn how to turn that blog into a static website for your business or your organization.
  • Get Lingo: A handy glossary to demystify WordPress terms.

If you want more detail on any topic, visit our Support site for documentation on every WordPress.com question you can think of (and some you can’t).

Ready?

 

Get Going Fast: A Checklist

Feel comfortable with online tools, and don’t want the step-by-step version? The Quick Start Guide takes you on a no-nonsense tour of the basics.

If you want more hand-holding (and we don’t blame you!), skip this guide and tackle the other sections to create the most awesome site on the internet.


Get started: register, fill in your profile, and name your new creation.

  1. Register: Go to WordPress.com and create a username and password.
  2. Create a web address: Choose your free YourAddress.wordpress.com web address. (For a custom YourAddress.com web address, go to the next step.)
  3. Choose a plan: Choose between Free, Personal, Premium, and Business. The Personal, Premium, and Business plans include a custom address. (What’s the difference between the plans? (Here’s the difference.)
  4. Get a profile: Set up a profile with your personal information and upload a Gravatar — the image that represents you in the WordPress.com community. Click on the round icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen (next to the bell) and then click on Profile to enter your details and upload an image. (Not in-depth enough for you? Here’s the in-depth version.)
  5. Set your title: We’ll use your username to set your site’s title — just as a default, but you can change that. Go to My Sites → Customize → Site Identity to name your site and give it a descriptive tagline.

Get comfy: learn your way around WordPress.com.

  1. Visit the Reader: It’s the first place we’ll take you, and our community hub. Check out the lay of the blogosphere, and find some great new reads. (Not sure how? Here’s how.)
  2. Explore the My Sites menu: Click on My Sites in the top, left-hand corner of the screen and you’ll see some menu items that allow you to create new pages and blog posts and customize your site. Click around and explore — you won’t break anything.

Get personality: pick a theme to define the look and feel of your blog.

  1. Check out the available themes: A theme is a layout and visual look for your blog. WordPress.com has hundreds to choose from, and you can customize any of them. Head to My Sites → Themes to browse the looks on offer. Preview how a theme will look by clicking on the three dots on the right-hand side of the thumbnail and then Live Demo. If you like what you see, click Try & Customize; if you don’t, keep on browsing. (Want a more detailed intro? Head over here.)

Get configured: customize your theme to make your blog your own.

Now that you have a basic site, and you’ve chosen a look for it, you may want to customize it to suit your unique needs:

  1. Upload a custom header: Most themes allow you to tweak the look of the header (the image running across the top of your blog) and the background (the color or pattern behind the main text area). Go to My Sites → Customize → Header Image to upload your custom header. (Want more info? Check out this section.)
  2. Add specialized content with widgets: Widgets allow you to add interesting and useful text, images, or navigation elements to the sidebars of your blog (the parts other than your posts). To add and configure widgets, go to My Sites → Customize → Widgets. (To learn what’s possible and how to put widgets to work for you, check out this section of the guide.)
  3. Personalize your blog with custom fonts and colors: Basic Design Customization, which is part of all our plans, allows you to change the fonts and colors of your site. To start experimenting with colors, go to My Sites → Customize → Colors & Backgrounds. To try out some new fonts, go to My Sites → Customize → Fonts. (Need to learn more before taking the plunge? Be our guest.)

Get published: write a post, write a page, and create a menu to help visitors navigate your site.

  1. Decide if you want to write a post or a page: A post is an update, and as you add each new one, it appears at the top of your blog. (By default, blogs show posts in reverse chronological order.) A page is a piece of content that contains static content — something you’re likely to link to from your blog’s navigation — the most common example is an “About me” page that tells readers who you are. (Still not sure? Dig deeper here.)
  2. Publish a post: Head to My Sites → Blog Posts → Add. Give your masterwork a title, throw down some words, and click Publish. Voilà! (Need a little more help? Here it is.)
  3. Publish a page: Go to My Sites → Pages → Add.  The rest is almost identical to posting, so you’ve got this. (More on pages? More on pages.)
  4. Create a menu: Help readers find all your great posts and pages with navigation that gets them where you want them to go. You can create new menus with pages, blog categories, or your own custom links. Go to My Sites → Menus to get started, and find out more about the process here.

Get connected: become part of the community and grow your readership.

  1. Tag your posts: Tagging your posts makes it a lot easier for other people to find them, both on your blog and through the magic of the WordPress.com Reader, which allows people to search for content by topic. If you’re not sure of the how and why of tagging, learn more here.
  2. Find other blogs to read: The Reader helps you find content you’re interested in by subject, giving you an excellent way to reach out and like, comment, follow, or share posts from bloggers whose work interests you. The Reader can also help inspire you when you’re stuck for ideas.
  3. Show your favorites some love: Build up a network of contacts and connections on WordPress.com by giving feedback via “likes” and thoughtful comments. Everyone loves to be noticed, and taking the time to show your appreciation builds your network, ultimately bringing more people to your blog.
  4. Use social networks to extend your reach: If you have a Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Path, or Facebook account, you can automatically broadcast new posts to your networks to spread the word. WordPress.com has built-in tools to automate that process, so you don’t need to share every post individually. Visit My Sites → Sharing to configure these features or find out more about them here.

Get mobile: post from your tablet or smartphone, and never miss a moment of inspiration.

Find the right app for your device: There are WordPress.com apps for iOS and Android devices, and you can find links to them here.


Now you’ve grazed the surface, why not dip into our in-depth guides in the following sections, starting with Get Started?


Get Help

If you’ve got a specific question about your site or are having a problem using WordPress.com, please head over to the Support pages or the forums for assistance.

Get Started

Welcome to WordPress.com! Here’s a quick look at the plans you can choose from, and a few tips to make sure you’ve covered the basics.

What type of WordPress.com plan is right for you?

At WordPress.com, you can select one of four plans: Free, Personal, Premium, and Business. All of our plans have the primary features that make WordPress.com so awesome: a growing collection of well-designed themes, basic customization, and unlimited bandwidth. Plus, you don’t have to worry about hosting, security, backups, or software updates — ever.

If you’re not sure what’s right for you, you can always bump up to a paid plan in the future. Note that with these plans, you don’t upload your own themes or plugins — all this goodness is built right in to WordPress.com. If you need a site that requires a custom theme or specific plugins, a self-hosted WordPress site might be a better fit. Learn the differences between a WordPress.com and a self-hosted WordPress site.


Handy tips for setting up your account

Use a strong password. Your security is really important to us. As with all of your online accounts, please use a strong, unique password to log into your WordPress.com account. This post on creating a strong password — and why you should care — is a good primer.

strong password

Choose a web address, title, and tagline. Your site’s web address is like the address to your online home — it’s where visitors can find you. When you register, you’ll receive your own unique wordpress.com address (such as example.wordpress.com). But some people like to nix the “wordpress.com” part. (It’s fine, our feelings aren’t hurt!) If you’d like to do this, you can buy a custom domain name, like example.com, as long as it’s available.

You can read more about your web address, and learn how to change it in the future, if necessary. Note that your web address and site title can be different, and if you’d simply like to edit your site title, go to My Sites → Customize → Site Identity. Here, you can also update your tagline — this post offers tips on creating the perfect phrase.

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We’ve asked a number of users how they selected their blog names, from Paper and Salt to She’s a Maineiac. They give great advice, and this post on blog name inspiration offers more ideas.

Set up your public profile. Updating your public profile isn’t mandatory, as some people prefer to blog anonymously. But do fill in these details if you’d like to establish your identity. To edit your public profile, click your Gravatar in the top right-hand side of the screen to head to My Profile. When you comment on sites across WordPress.com, this is the information associated with your account.

My Profile

Be sure to upload a Gravatar, which is the thumbnail that appears next to the comments you make across WordPress.com. It’s the primary image that people will associate with you.

If you’ve updated these general settings, you’ve covered the basics. (Virtual) high five!


Get Comfy

When you become a part of WordPress.com, you’re actually getting two awesome services: your blog, plus your Reader — a place where you can read posts from sites on and even outside of WordPress.com. We’ll help you get comfortable with both to help you get the most out of WordPress.com.


Don’t fear the Reader

When you log in to WordPress.com, you’ll land in your Reader. It looks like this:

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We call it “your” Reader on purpose. It’s a place you make your own and tailor around things you love, so every time you log in, you find something new that speaks to you.

There are three main things you’ll do here:

  1. Find great stuff to read.
  2. Catch up with blogs you follow (once you’ve found them).
  3. Post to your blog on the fly.

Let’s take a look at each one, shall we?

Find great stuff to read

The best way to attract readers is to read and comment on others’ blogs, and the best way to find blogs to read is to search tags in the Reader. Click Tags to open the tools, then Add to search for a tag.

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In the box that appears, type in the tag you’re looking for, then click Enter/Return on your keyboard. Your Reader will load up all the recently-published posts using that tag.

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If you’re not sure where to start, consider topics you’re interested in. Art? Politics? Knitting? Here, we’re adding the Photography tag. Now, whenever we come back to the Reader, Photography will be in our list of tags and we’ll be able to check out the latest posts tagged “Photography.”

Delete a topic by clicking the X, and use the search bar to add new topics. Search for specific subjects, people in the news, recipes, movies, current events, whatever — get creative. Within each topic, the Reader will display a list of all posts from WordPress.com bloggers that have been tagged with that topic, starting with the most recent.

When you’re ready for some more exploring, give some of our hand-picked content a try — it’s been verified by Very Official WordPress.com Experts as being certifiably awesome. Discover features excellent posts from across the WordPress community that have been hand-picked by our editors, browsable topics, and original features like Q&As with people doing cool things on WordPress.

Manage and catch up with blogs you follow

Once you click on a tag you’re following, you’ll see a stream of recent posts. You’ll see an excerpt from each post, along with the post’s title, blog name, and any images in the post. Click on Follow in the upper right to automatically add future posts from the blog to your Reader stream, or use the tools at the bottom of the post to visit the blog directly, like the post, share the post on social media, or leave a comment.

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You can also manage the blogs you follow on the Followed Sites page. Click on the Manage button next to Followed Sites.

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There, you can add any blog or site to your Reader by typing the URL into the search bar and clicking the Follow button:

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You can unfollow any blog by clicking on the green Following checkmark to the right of the blog title.

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Post to your blog on the fly

The last useful Reader function is the ability to quickly post directly from the Reader, without going to your dashboard.

Up in the right-hand corner, next to your Gravatar, you’ll see the word, “Write.” Click on it to start a new post.

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Master your dashboard

The second major piece of your WordPress.com experience is your blog (or blogs). The dashboard is where you can create posts and pages, configure the look of your blog and modify sharing settings.

Getting there

First things first: how do you get to your dashboard?

First, log in. You’ll be taken to the Reader automatically. To get to your blog’s dashboard, click on My Sites from the top left-hand corner of the Admin bar to open your site’s dashboard:

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Your dashboard

The dashboard is the place to create new posts, pages, add media, experiment with new themes, and create custom menus. You can also manage sharing to social media, users, blog settings, domains, and more:

 


Have dual citizenship

The Reader and your dashboard are both key to squeezing every last drop of goodness out of WordPress.com; even if it seems like only one or the other will be useful to you, we encourage you to get to know them both and learn to move fluidly between them. To wrap up the tour, here is the intersection where you can pass easily from one world to the next.

When you’re in the Reader, Click on My Sites to get to your dashboard. (If you have more than one blog, you’ll be able to choose which blog to work on.)

From your dashboard, click on Reader from the blue menu bar to read the blogs you follow.

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Now that you know how to navigate, let’s get your site set up just the way you want it, starting with picking the perfect theme. It’s time to Get Personality.

Get Configured

Picking a theme you love is the first step; customizing it is the second step. There are many ways to inject more “you” into your site, from uploading custom headers to adding an upgrade that allows custom colors, fonts, and more.


Custom header, anyone?

Many themes allow you to upload a custom header. Headers can be anything from a favorite photo to a slick, graphically designed banner.

Not sure what we mean by “header”? Check out this example — on top left is the standard homepage for the Oxygen theme, and below is an example of how Viaja el Mundo has added a custom header with a bit of style and panache:
baseoxygen

viajaelmundoheader

Not sure how to get started? Check out some header inspiration and our overview on picking visuals for your blog.

Not sure where to get good images? Here’s a list of places you can get good quality images for free:

When you’re ready to make your own header, check out our overview on Pablo and Canva (two free image editors you can use to create headers) and our primers on creating blog header images with Canva or with PicMonkey.

Note: not every theme supports custom headers — if your theme doesn’t you can always pick one that does.

Got your header image? Great, it’s time to upload it. Go to My Sites → Customize → Header Image. You’ll be able to browse your computer to find the file, then click Add new image:

If you’re happy with the preview, click Save & Publish:

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Custom fonts and colors

You can upgrade your blog to the Personal, Premium, or Business plan at any time to get access to custom fonts, custom colors, and custom CSS

Once that’s done, go to My Sites → Customize to begin experimenting with custom fonts, colors, and CSS.

From there you can browse and preview typefaces like Gentium Book Basic, Libre Baskerville, Merriweather, and Ubuntu. (We offer over 30 free Google Fonts!)

Custom fonts

To pick your fancy new fonts, go to My Sites → Customize → Fonts. You can choose two fonts: one for headings (think post and page titles, widget titles, and headlines inside posts and pages), and one for body text. To pick a font, click on one of the default font names to see all the available fonts. Keep your eye on the live preview on the right-hand side of the screen to see how your site will look with its fancy new fonts. Not sure which fonts pair well together? Here’s some advice.

Once you’re happy with the way everything looks, click on Save & Publish. It may take a few minutes for the changes to be seen on your blog, although typically it’s faster. You can come back at any time to play with your fonts some more as long as your have an active upgrade.

You can have a lot of fun with custom fonts. We encourage you to experiment, but offer a few guidelines:

  • Size matters — make sure all your fonts are readable on-screen.
  • Fonts have feeling and emotion. Some are strong and bold, others are delicate, elegant, or whimsical. Think about matching the feelings of your fonts to your blog’s personality.
  • Readability is always key, so save the more embellished options for your title and headers, and pick something cleaner for regular body text.

We also interviewed some WordPressers who’ve done an exceptional job using fonts to personalize their blogs; you can benefit from their wisdom.

Custom colors

You can do a good deal of customizing with headers, and custom colors adds another level of personalization by letting you change the overall color scheme of your blog. You can view and apply color palette suggestions and background patterns or create your own unique color palette for your site. Score!

To begin experimenting with your site’s color scheme go to My Sites → Customize → Colors & Backgrounds. You’ll see individual color options, suggested palettes, and available background patterns.

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If you’re not sure where to start, pick a new featured palette. The individual circles will change to reflect the colors in that palette, and you can hover over them to see what they’re assigned to — your background, post titles, link and visited links colors, and more.


Next up, learn all about creating posts and pages, working with images, other media, and creating menus to help readers get around your site. Head to Get Published.


Get Personality

A theme is a template for your site — it creates the basic layout, which you can then customize to add a personal touch. You can switch themes any time, and as many times as you like, to find a theme that’s right for you.

Browsing themes

There are hundreds of themes to choose from on WordPress.com, from super-sleek and minimal to fun and festive. You can quickly browse themes right in your dashboard: just hover over My Sites in the top-left corner of your screen, and select Themes.

Use the search box to look up a specific feature or theme name, or just toggle between free, premium, or all themes.

If you’d like the see how the theme looks with your posts and pages, hover over the three gray dots on the bottom, right-hand corner of the thumbnail and select Try & Customize.

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This will load your posts and pages into the theme, and let you play with customizing tools. You’ll be able to preview your new look and try out different options, from a new tagline to new widgets:

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Don’t worry: you’re the only one who sees this! Your blog and theme remain as-is for the public while you’re previewing. If you decide you want to use this new theme, click the Save & Activate button at the top of the customizing tools:

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If you don’t want to activate the theme, click the X and you’ll return to the grid of theme thumbnails.

If you’d like to run a more thorough search, you should give our Theme Showcase a try. There, you can find detailed information on all our themes, including a list of their features and links to sample sites that show each theme’s potential.

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The Theme Showcase also allows you to make targeted searches for themes that meet your specific needs, from layout and color palette to features you can’t live without — just click on More and you’ll see all the available search parameters.

If you know which look you’d like to give your site but don’t care a great deal about particular features, just scroll down the page until you find something that catches your eye. Clicking on a theme will take you to a page with a detailed overview and the ability to check out a demo site. Or, if you’re sold, just click on Activate.

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If it’s layout and features you care about the most, you can narrow your search significantly by choosing the number of columns your site should have, or filtering themes by the availability of features like a post slider, Custom Header, or Featured Images, to name a few.

Pick a theme that says “you”

You might not always have a clear vision for your site or blog when you’re just getting started — and that’s perfectly fine! Here are three guiding principles that’ll help you find the theme that’s the best fit for you.

Your style: You want to make your blog a place that you think is comfortable, visually appealing, and reflective of who you are. Some features and designs might look snazzy in the Showcase, but will feel wrong for you if they don’t channel your personality.

Choosing something that doesn’t speak to you will likely entail lots of tweaks to try and make it feel like “you.” Set yourself up for success by picking a theme you’ll like looking at every day.

Your content: If you know what your subject matter will be, you can further narrow the list of likely themes. If you love photography and know you’ll be posting images with most posts, you’ll want to consider photoblogging-friendly themes, where visuals get most of the attention.

If you’re more writing-oriented, there are many themes that make your text the star, including most of our minimal themes. There are also themes for specific purposes, like music, travel, or weddings.

What if you’re not sure what your site will feature, or you envision posting on a variety of topics? First, have no fear — that’s true for the vast majority of bloggers, especially when they start out. Second, there are plenty of themes that are well-suited for different types of posts. (We release new themes regularly.) Take a look, and see which designs attract you.

Your time and energy: Some themes can handle more customization than others. How much time and energy do you want to put into your theme, as opposed to the content you’d like to create? Be realistic about what you want to do and the time you can devote to customization. The last thing we want is for you to feel frustrated by your site — we want you to stick around and publish.

Change your theme

A few days (or weeks, or months) have gone by. You’ve seen a lot more other sites, and have been feeling more comfortable customizing yours. You may wonder if it might be time to change your theme.

To pick a new theme, go to My Sites → Themes, or make another quick trip to the Theme Showcase to browse and make your selection.

 

Take your blog mobile

Many of your readers will not be reading your blog on a computer. They’ll be on phones and tablets of various sizes. Luckily, you can make sure that visitors can read your content on screens of all sizes.

The vast majority of our themes are responsive, meaning they automatically change their appearance depending on your visitor’s device, while trying to preserve as much of your original design as possible.

In case you need more guidance…

We know that picking your theme is a big decision (even if it’s easily reversible). So here are some additional resources that might help you navigate this exciting world of gorgeous designs:

What’s next? In the following section, we’ll take the theme you chose and add personal touches so readers know without a doubt that they’re on your blog (and not just because you’ve used your head shot as the background image). Move on to Get Configured.

Get Published

You’ve picked a theme and added some personal touches. It’s time to publish! On WordPress.com, that means a post or a page.

Posts are what you think of when you think of a blog; they’re dated, and appear in reverse chronological order. They move down your blog as you publish new ones. They’re browsable in the WordPress.com Reader, where prospective fans can find them under tags you assign them.

Pages are different — they’re handy for timeless content, like an About or Contact Me pages.

Ready to publish a post? Get started by clicking the “Write” button on the right side of the toolbar at the top of your screen:

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Or click on My Sites, then on Add next to “Blog Posts.”

This will create a draft post on your blog and open up the post editor:

In the top field, insert a title. Go for clear and intriguing — if your title doesn’t make someone want to click, your post isn’t going to get read.

In the large area below the title, write your post. To add more interest, use the formatting buttons, which you may recognize from a word processor. Along with standard formatting options like bold, italics, and bullet points, there are two specific tools here that are helpful to know about: the link and quote tools.

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Highlighting text in your post and clicking the link button will allow you to insert a URL to create a link, like this one. Highlighting text and clicking the quote button will create an indented blockquote, like this paragraph.

Now, let’s add a picture. There are two ways to do this: you can drag the image files from your desktop right into the post where they’ll be automatically uploaded and inserted, or you can use the tools within the editor.

To add an image from the editor, place your cursor in the text where you’d like to put the image, and click + button:

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Then, click Add Media.

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To upload an image from your computer, click Add New.

Once the file uploads, click on it to select it, then click on Insert to put it into the post:

If you click Edit, you’ll be able to give the image a caption and a description, then click Insert to put the image into the post.

Once the image is in your post, you can choose its alignment and adjust its size. Click on the image to pull up these options:

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If you’d like to have your words wrap around the image, choose a right or left alignment option. Use the plus and minus signs to increase or decrease the size of the image, and the thought bubble to edit your caption.

You can also adjust the size of your image right in the post by clicking and dragging one of the boxes at the image’s corners. To remove the image entirely, click the X.

Your post is almost ready! Before clicking Publish, give your new post a few tags and categories — you’ll see an area for that in the right-hand column:

I’ve given this post the “adoption” tag, (as well as two others) which will allow people browsing the “Adoption” tag in the WordPress.com Reader to find my post, and the category “Memoir” so people who visit my blog can find it among the other kinds of posts.

When you’re ready to flip the switch, click Publish at the top of the page:

You’ll see a small “saving” note over the publish button, followed by a notice that your post has been published and a link to the live post:

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Congrats! You’re a published blogger.

If you notice a typo on your brand-new creation — doesn’t it seem like one always manages to sneak in? — you can always edit and update the post. Click on My Sites in the upper right corner, then on Blog Posts. This pulls up a list of all your posts, and you can click Edit to make changes:

Ready to try a page? The process is almost the same. Return to My Sites — you can click My Sites on either the blue or black admin bars, depending where you are on WordPress.com — but click Add next to Pages instead of Post:

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The Page editor that appears looks just like the Post editor, and both writing and inserting images work in exactly the same way. The key differences between the Post and Page editors are:

  • The Page editor has no area for tags and categories; pages don’t use either of those.
  • The Page editor includes a Page Attributes section that lets you create parent and child pages or change the order of pages — mysterious now, but helpful when you want to create a menu with drop-down submenus for your site.

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As with posts, WordPress.com will auto-save your work every few seconds while you’re drafting your page, and you’ll click the same Publish button to publish your page for the world.

Once you’ve published a page, you’ll probably want to create a menu to make it easy for your readers to find it and move around your site. Head back up to My Sites, and click Menus. You’ll find it in a section called “Personalize,” just under the post and page options:

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This will open your menu settings. You’ll be able to see how many menus you have, add and subtract items, change the order of items in your menu, create sub-menus, and move menus around.

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Click the pencil icon to the right of any menu item to edit or delete it, or Add New Item for an additional menu item.

You can create menu items that link to a page on your site, a link (either to your site, or anywhere at all), one of your categories or tags, or one of your posts. To re-order a menu item click and drag it. Click and drag an item to the right to nest it under another item. When you’re done, click Save.

There are a few themes that don’t support menus. If you’re not able to display menus, you can still use the Custom Menu widget to add a menu to your sidebar. Create a menu using the steps outlined here, and then add the widget to your site — you’ll learn all about adding widgets in the Get Flashy section.

If you’re looking for more guidance, or want to dig deeper into your publishing options…

Get Flashy

Widgets are some of the handiest features on WordPress.com. They are free built-in tools, accessible from your dashboard, that allow you to add custom touches to your sidebar or footer. You can display important information more prominently, direct readers to content you want them to see, and reinforce your site’s design. With widgets, you can add a bit of flair and personalize your site with a few clicks.

Widget basics

You can add a variety of widgets from the Customizer: go to My Sites, then click on Customize next to Themeswhich will open up the Customizer and a panel of selections on the left-hand side of the screen.

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As you’ve discovered, each theme is different: some themes have a left or right sidebar, some may have a footer section at the bottom of your blog, and some themes have hidden widget areas that pop out with the click of a button. So, the placement of your widgets will depend on your current theme.

In your Customizer, click on the Widgets tab. Your theme’s available widget areas will display (and might look a bit different from this):

widgetarea

To add a widget, first click on a widget area. In the panel, click on Add a Widget. The Customizer will show all of the available widgets that you can add. This is where the fun begins!

clickaddawidget2-16-17

Scroll the alphabetized list of widgets, or use the search field at the top to find one. Then, click on a widget to add it. The Customizer will then display a box to configure the widget’s settings. If you have questions about a particular widget, each one has its own support page. Here’s a sample of the customization options available for the Follow Blog widget.

widgetdetail

When you’ve finished updating these fields, click Close on the bottom of the widget box. You can also reopen and update a widget using the small down-facing arrow, or delete it by clicking Remove.

You can reorder these widget panels as well — you can select a widget and drag it up or down, depending on where you’d like it appear. After making your changes click on the Save & Publish button at the top of the panel.

Quick advice on adding widgets

Add wisely. You can add as many widgets to your sidebar or footer as you’d like, but choose carefully — the key is to display widgets that enhance your site, rather than detract attention from your content. This handy overview on design and clarity and this post about how to tackle your sidebar offer food for thought.

Starting out and not sure what to add? We recommend several widgets to start, no matter what kind of blogger you are and what type of site you have. The Text and Image Widgets are the simplest and most straightforward widgets out there, but are very powerful and versatile. With a Text Widget, you can display a mix of text and HTML, which is handy for a bite-sized bio, important business information, or a quick update for your readers.

text widget

An Image Widget lets you show a custom image that you’ve uploaded to your media library, so you can display your new book’s cover, for example, and link the image to your book’s Amazon, Goodreads, or other page. This blogger has used an Image Widget to link to a category of posts — in this case posts with the “mural” category.

image widget

Other handy widgets perform more specific functions: the Top Posts & Pages Widget displays your most liked or popular content, while the Follow Blog Widget allows visitors to sign up and receive your posts via email.

On the widgets support page, you’ll find a list of all available widgets on the right side, in case you want information on a specific widget. This roundup of widget resources is also a great place to explore quick widget tutorials.

Show and hide widgets. Once you have your widgets in place, you can adjust their settings to display on specific pages of your blog using the Widget Visibility feature. When editing a widget, you’ll see a Visibility button at the bottom right. Configure the settings to show (or hide) a widget on a specific page; or category, tag, or author page, for example. It’s a handy tool offering more control over what a reader will see when viewing a certain page. This tutorial on widget visibility explains some cases where the setting might be helpful for you.

In case you need more guidance…

You’ve got a lot of widgets to choose from! For more on working with widgets, here are some resources to dig into:

  1. Want to connect your social accounts right away? Activate your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter Timeline Widgets.
  2. Get to know popular widgets in our tutorial series: Widgets 101, 201, and 301.
  3. Interested in adding more visuals to your sidebar? Consider these image-focused widgets.
  4. Learn how to create your own custom Image Widget with this step-by-step tutorial.
  5. Learn how to grab the HTML you need to add images to widgets in this handy tutorial.

You’ve spent the past several sessions customizing your site — it’s coming along! Next, in Get Connected, we’ll switch gears and talk about ways to connect with others and get your site noticed. You’ve worked so hard to make it your own — now it’s time to show it to the world!


Get Connected

By now, you’re well on your way to having a beautiful site chock-full of compelling content.

Are we done? Nope: having this site is about more than just publishing. On WordPress.com, we encourage you to share your content with the world, discover others in the community with similar interests, and use the tools available to you to create more.

How do you get your stuff out there? Let’s find out.

Take advantage of tags

Once you hit Publish for the first time, you might find that publishing a post may be the easy part, while getting others — often strangers — to engage with you is tougher. Sure, there are thousands of people out there who might love to read your review of The Hobbit or get your killer carrot cake recipe, but how do you make it easy for them to find you? Enter tags.

Tags group related posts together on your site and are a simple-yet-powerful way to help readers distinguish between your gadget reviews and your street art photo essays. Add tags from the Post Settings — they’re on the right side of the screen when you’re writing or editing a post:

Tags not only help readers get around your site, they help others find your site in the first place. As we mentioned earlier, you use the Reader to discover the freshest content published by fellow bloggers — topics in which you’re interested, but also new stuff that intrigues you. That means the Reader is also the place where others will find you. But only if you tag your posts appropriately.

While tagging is optional, assigning tags to your posts increases the chance that others will see them on the topic pages in the Reader. Use tags that directly relate to the subject of your post, and think about what you’d search for if you were looking for the same content.

Include broad, popular tags that others commonly search for, but mix them up with a few specific tags, too. If you’ve written a review about one of Zadie Smith’s books, you can tag the post with general terms (“books,” “fiction,” “literature”) as well as more focused ones (“Zadie Smith,” “On Beauty”). Blending together the common and the specific will help your posts stay visible in the Reader for a longer time.

Stay relevant — you don’t want irrelevant content showing up in the Reader stream and neither do we, so choose your tags carefully.

A couple of tips to help you make the most of tags:

  • If you include more than 15 tags and categories (total) on a post, it won’t appear on the topic pages — that’s our way of helping ensure relevance.
  • If your blog is private, your posts won’t show up in the Reader, so go to My Sites, then select Settings → General to confirm your privacy settings.
  • If you regularly post material that is offensive, not safe for work, or not suitable for minors, we might flag your site as mature, and mature blogs aren’t included on topic pages. (You can contact support if you think your blog may have been accidentally flagged.)
  • If you’re misusing the tag feature, your blog may not appear in the Reader. Misuse includes tagging your content with misleading tags and posting questionable affiliate links, marketing material, and unoriginal content.

Like and comment on blogs you follow and love

The Reader lets you follow your favorite blogs and stumble upon new sites. You can also use it to give fellow bloggers a virtual high-five: when you enjoy something you’ve read, you can “like” it, just like you do on other networks (think Facebook), directly in the Reader. Just click the star in the bottom-right corner of the post:

Clicking on the post will let you read it in its entirety right there in the Reader, while clicking on Visit will take you to the original post (both count as a view for the blogger who published it). Either way, if a post moved you, leave a comment — there’s no better way to expand your blogging network and start engaging conversations than leaving thoughtful, substantive comments. It’s also one of the best ways to attract others to your own site, so everybody wins.

Connect your site to your other accounts on the web

Your site shouldn’t be an island — especially when it can easily function as your home on the web, the central hub from which you reach out to your audience, whether they’re your friends, family, or complete (but like-minded) strangers.

You’ve got a cool tool called Publicize right in your dashboard — access it by clicking on the Sharing tab in the left sidebar:

configuresettings

Publicize allows you to automatically share your posts on social networks, including Facebook, Google+TwitterLinkedIn, Tumblr, and Path — no more publishing and then individually pasting the link into each site. Just click on Connect next to the networks of your choice, confirm the account you’d like to add, and that’s it — it’s as simple as that.

Once you’ve enabled a service through Publicize, you’ll be able to add a custom message (a short quote, an enticing preview…) to each post. That’s the text your readers on other networks will see once you publish your post:

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.24.37 PM

While you’re still in your dashboard, you might also add a few sharing buttons to your posts. This will make it easier for your readers to pass along their favorite post to their networks. Just click on Sharing Buttons at the top of the page, then choose and configure the ones you’d like to see appear next to your post.

Make sense of your statistics

Your stats page is full of interesting data to analyze and learn from. If you’ve already started publishing on your site, you probably visit your stats periodically (or every 15 minutes) to see how you’re doing. But you can also use your stats proactively, to fine-tune your blog and draw in even more readers.

Head to your Insights screen to get a powerful overview of your site’s performance, from your posting frequency to all-time views and visitors.

Or check out your blog’s traffic patterns over the past few days, weeks, months, or years.

Scroll down the page to learn more specific information about your visitors. What are some of the most interesting pieces of information you might glean from your stats?

Countries tells you where in the world your visitors hail from, which might help you tweak your content to appeal to your audience and think of ways to connect with readers from different parts of the world.

The Posts and Pages module will give you essential knowledge on the kind of content your audience enjoys the most, and can help you design and implement your editorial calendar (if you choose to have one).

You might also be interested in exploring who your top Referrers are — these are the sites that drive traffic to your blog. Conversely, Clicks tells you which links on your site your readers are most likely to follow. Generating views for another site is a great way to build a relationship with other bloggers, who might end up inviting you to write a guest post or mention your site in one of their pieces.

If you require even more detailed stats for your site — for example, you want to improve the design of your online store, or drive more visitors to your contact page — you might consider adding Google Analytics to your site, a feature that’s available for anyone on the WordPress.com Business plan.

More resources for networking and expanding your blog’s reach

You’re now armed with the essentials to publish content, add multimedia, and share your stuff with the world. Next step? Publish on the go! A blogger need not be stymied by her proximity to a computer. If you’ve got a smartphone, you’ve got the ability to capture great moments and blog them as they happen: read on for the basics of blogging from your mobile device.


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