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Go to WordPress.com to sign up for your own site. You can follow the WordPress step-by-step tutorial. Mindy McAdams’ Journalists’ Toolkit also offers some great tips.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Use WordPress.com, not WordPress.org.
- Start a new WordPress site for class. Existing sites aren’t allowed.
- Choose a username that you like because it can’t be changed later.
- Use a real, working e-mail address when you sign up.
- Write down your username and password.
- Choose your URL or domain carefully because it can’t be changed later. Avoid long, complicated names. Keep it professional. Remember: This is a site where you’ll display your work for potential clients or employers. Your URL should have something to do with the focus of your blog. Your blog will contain news and feature stories that you write. Some of the stories will be assigned. Other will be picked by you, giving you the freedom to explore an area of interest. Think about the kinds of stories you might write before rushing to pick a URL. More information: WordPress tips on finding a focus.
- Pick a blog title. You can change this later. Ideally, your blog title and URL should the same or similar.
- Your blog should be set to public, not private.
Once you’re done with those steps, WordPress will send you an email. Click on the link to activate your blog. Now you’re ready to try out your blog.
- Sign in to WordPress and explore the dashboard, or back end of the blog where you run your site, organize your pages, add posts and customize your design.
- Learn the difference between posts and pages.
- Choose your local time zone.
- Pick a theme. WordPress suggests asking:
- What is the goal of my blog?
- What kind of vibe do I want to set for my readers?
- Is my blog personal or professional?
- Do I want to display wide-format photos, images or videos?
- Do I want to customize my header? (The header is the big top area of the blog; some themes allow you to add images or design that header all on your own).
If any of this is overwhelming, consider the words of Mark Twain:
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
And remember that WordPress has a great support site where you can find answers to many questions.