According to Google dictionary a blog is “a personal website on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis”. Some of the top reasons motivating people to blog are: to express their opinions and thoughts, to market or promote something, to help people, to establish theirself as expert, to connect people like them, to make a difference, to stay active or knowledgeable in a field or topic, to stay connected with friends and family, to make money or to have fun and be creative.(Gunelius, n.d.)
Automattic Inc. created WordPress.com in 2005 after they launched WordPress.org in 2003. Both versions of WordPress are blogging software but the difference between them is that the .org version is an open source system meaning that users are allowed to “play” with the code behind WordPress to make it more customized to their taste while the .com version is a standard version in which you don’t have access to the code. In terms of cost, you can have a basic WordPress.com blog for free and just pay for additional features while you need to buy a domain and a host plan and other primary features to have a WordPress.org.
This article is focused on WordPress.com because it is the version used for the purpose of the Digital Media Literacy course and second because it requires less technical knowledge, which makes it easier to use.
How To Use WordPress.com: The Basics
To start, check this tutorial video made by http://www.musicmediatribe.com to learn how to sign up for a WordPress.com account/blog, how to change the header image of your blog, how to create a new category for your posts, edit a post and how to embed a YouTube video into a post.
This video covers most of the basics of WordPress.com blogging except how to add pictures to your post so here is how you do it: First, go to the edit window of your post as explained in the video above. Then click on the first icon next to upload/insert entitled “Add Media” (keep your mouse on it to check its title). A small window will open after clicking and you will have the choice between uploading a media from your computer if the file is on your PC, from URL if the media is online or from the media library if you have already uploaded the media to your WordPress account. Once you have uploaded the picture you will get the ability to modify some options like the image’s tile, alternate text, caption, description, URL, Alignment and size. Once everything is ready you just need to click on “Insert into post” and that’s it.
This also applies to adding music and videos since they are all medias. I should note that I used all the techniques covered in the video and in my explanations in this post so you can clearly see the outcome of those technique by browsing over this article.
Of course there are a lot of interesting features on WordPress.com you should learn but, those are the basics you should master to start your blog.
WordPress.com Features and Advantages
· You can create a blog in few minutes.
· A great choice of themes (Over a 100).
· Integrated stats system (Check the disadvantages section for more info).
· Good writing tool.
· Great spam detector technology.
· Great support if needed.
· Ability to import your blog from another blogging platform to WordPress.com.
· Available in 50 languages (Native Versions).
· You can have multiple blogs and multiple authors.
· Privacy options for the blog as a whole and per-post options.
· Interesting widgets to use.
· Good tools for comments follow-up.
· You cannot modify the code behind your blog.
· You cannot add plugins.
· You cannot link to Google Analytics, which offers much more control over the stats of your blog. You have to stick with the WordPress stats system, which is basic.
· You are not allowed to place ads on your blogs. (This can be solved by buying an upgrade)
You get a WordPress.com account/blog for free but you have to pay for additional features like for example: get your own domain name, use premium themes, upload HD videos, increase you storage space and some other upgrades…
To conclude, after talking a bit about blogging in general and the background of WordPress we have seen the different techniques to master the basic skills for blogging on WordPress.com and we have also assessed the advantages, disadvantages and cost of using WordPress.com as a hosted for your blog.
Being a WordPress.com user for more than a year now I can say that it is a really great platform for blogging and I would recommend it to anyone willing to start a blog. In addition to that, I encourage everybody to have their own personal blog because it’s really interesting and useful and you will surely enjoy it.
If you have any question or feedback concerning WordPress.com please leave a comment on this post and I will be glad to listen to your opinion and help you if you are having issues. Don’t forget, if you are WordPress user, you can use the support forum: It’s really useful !