When you become a part of WordPress.com, you’re actually getting two awesome services for the price of none: your blog, plus your Reader, which brings every WordPress.com blog together in one easy-to-search place. Your blog is where your ideas come to life, and your Reader is where you connect with other WordPressers — our community hub. We’ll help you get comfy with both so 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’ll look a little something like this:
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 four main things you’ll do here:
- Find great stuff to read.
- Catch up with blogs you follow (once you’ve found them).
- 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.
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.
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.
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 your favorite writers. The Recommended tab offers you a selection of sites based on other things you’ve read and liked that (we hope!) are right up your alley.
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 the Followed Sites tab of your Reader, or use the tools at the bottom of the post to visit the blog directly, like the post, or leave a comment.
You can also manage the blogs you follow in the Followed Sites tab. Click on the Manage button next to Followed Sites.
There, you can add any blog or site to your Reader by clicking the blue Follow Site button:
Type or paste in any URL, even if it’s not a WordPress.com blog, the click Enter/Return on your keyboard to add it.
You can unfollow any blog by clicking on the green Following checkmark to the right of the blog title, or click on any blog’s title to access your preferences for that specific blog, and manage whether you receive email notifications:
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 a pencil icon. Click on it to start a new post.
(Clicking the bell will show you your most recent notifications — that is, all the Likes and comments on your posts.)
Master your dashboard
The second major piece of your WordPress.com experience is your blog (or blogs), which is probably why you ended up here in the first place. The dashboard is your blog’s mission control center.
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 Site(s) from the top left-hand corner of the Admin bar to open your site’s 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 Site(s) to get to your dashboard post-haste. (If you have more than one blog, you’ll be able to choose which blog to work on.)
From your dashboard, getting back to the Reader is a snap. Click on Reader from the blue menu bar to read the blogs you follow.
Our tour of WordPress.com is now complete; please exit the trolley on the right, and be sure to take all your belongings with you. Now that you know your way around, 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.