by Vairo Kremanis
WordPress.com is one of the most popular platforms for hosting websites and blogs. WordPress provides a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to set up and maintain your site, while also offering a wide range of customizable options to make your content more attractive.
If you are new to WordPress, follow these simple steps to set up your free website:
Create an Account.
To set up a website or blog on WordPress, you first need to create an account. Be sure to register your account through WordPress.com, rather than WordPress.org, as the second option requires more advanced skills and separate hosting. The registration process is simple and enables you to choose from a range of packages, some of which offer additional features for a subscription fee.
The basic package is free of charge and is suitable for most websites and blogs, particularly in the early stages of development. You can always upgrade to a paid package later.
Choose an Address.
WordPress will prompt you to choose a URL (uniform resource locator), or website address, for your primary site. You can choose a free subdomain of WordPress as your address (e.g. sitename.wordpress.com), or you can pay a fee for a custom address and domain mapping.
You can create multiple websites with WordPress, but you will need to select one as your primary site, as this will be linked to your profile and any comments you make on other websites and blogs.
Pick a Theme.
WordPress offers a wide range of free and paid themes. Each theme uses a different design and comes with its own set of features. Choose a colour scheme, layout and style that complements the topic of your website or blog. Some themes are designed specifically for certain purposes, such as displaying photography, promoting businesses or hosting a professional portfolio.
Tweak the Settings.
Most themes enable you to customize the settings, such as the header image, page layout and location of the sidebars. Get to know your chosen theme and experiment with the settings to find the right options for your site. Most themes allow you to add widgets to the sidebars or footers.
Widgets range from visible site statistics to newsletter sign-up forms. You can also use your WordPress Dashboard to tweak other settings, such as the visibility of your site.
Personalize Your Site.
Once you have the basic structure for your site, you need to add a title and tagline to let visitors know what your website or blog is about. The title should be clear and memorable, ideally between one and five words. The tagline can expand on the title, adding extra information or clarifying the purpose of your website.
You can also add a logo or other graphic to make your site more visually appealing and help build familiarity with visitors, which is particularly important if you intend to build a recognizable brand.
Set Your Homepage.
Initially, the front page of your website will show the latest posts added to your site, as this is the default view for blogs. However, if you are setting up a regular website, you may prefer to use a static page as your homepage. You can create a page that introduces your website to visitors, promotes your services or provides links to other pages on your site. Once you’ve created your homepage, remember to set it as the default page in your WordPress settings.
Add Extra Pages.
Most websites add an About page to tell visitors a little about the site and its purpose. You can also use your About page to add any legal notices or other relevant information you need to display. In addition, it’s important to provide a page with your contact information, such as your email address, telephone number or postal address. If you prefer not to give out your contact information, WordPress allows you to provide a simple contact form that enables visitors to contact you directly through the website.
Post Some Content.
Whether you choose to use dynamic posts, static pages or a combination of the two, you will want to post some content to pad out your website and give it some personality. You can use categories and tags to organize your content and link it to other posts and pages on your site. Tag clouds, category lists and customized menus can be added as widgets to help visitors navigate your site and find the content they are looking for.
Provide Social Links.
Link your website to your social media profiles and other online activities. Provide links to your social media pages on your website, either by adding a Social Links widget or including links on your About page.
You can also add your URL, or website address, to the profiles of your social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. In addition, you can enable sharing on social media by adding links at the bottom of each post.
Promote Your Website.
Once your website is up and running, it’s time to promote it and bring in some visitors. Search engine traffic can take a long time to build up, so it’s a good idea to try a few other options.
Social media is one of the best tools for promoting a new website, particularly if you already have an active social media profile and a substantial following. Paid advertisements can be effective for generating website traffic, but you will need to decide whether it’s worth the cost.
WordPress.com provides a user-friendly platform for creating websites and blogs. Setting up a free website is a simple process that most people can complete within an hour or two. If you are new to WordPress, following the steps above will provide the foundation for your website or blog.