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New to WordPress.com? Tips to Get Started Fast November 22, 2005

Posted by Leita in Internet, Wordpress.com.
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Under construction clipart circa 1995. Sorry, I couldn't resist.The WordPress.com gates are open now, at least temporarily. With so many blogs starting from scratch by new wordpress users, I thought a few tips might help get some blogs set up fast without looking like the little man here.

The best tip I can give anyone new to wordpress.com is to visit the wordpress.com faq site and Lorelle’s. There are plenty others, but these two are my favorites.

Note: this is the procedure I use for fast-starting a wordpress.com blog but everyone will have their own. Feel free to comment if you have additional tips.

Time to start:

After your blog is created, login to the Dashboard (located at
http://foo.wordpress.com/wp-admin/) and click on the User menu option (aka foo.wordpress.com/wp-admin/profile.php) and fill out the form.

Important: If you want rich text editing, there’s a box at the bottom of this page. Click it if you want wysiwyg editing, leave it unchecked if you do not.

Contrary to semi-popular belief, WordPress.com blogs can have more than one author. Within the Users section, there is a tab for Authors and Users. Here you can add other people to your blog and give them various authorities: Admin, Editor, Author, Contributor or Subscriber. (Update: Adding a link to Matt’s post regarding multi-users in WordPress.com so he’ll know someone really did post about it.)
After updating your Users, head next door to Options. Tabs here are: General, Writing, Reading and Discussion.

General:
While you cannot change your WordPress url, you can change the Title and Tagline here. This is also the tab for setting your time, date, and the day you wish your weeks to begin.

Important: It seems a little out of place, but there is a box for determining whether or not users must be registered and logged in to comment. Click or not, your choice.

Writing: Here is where you decide how many lines will appear in your Write Post box. If you want extra space to write without scrolling as much increase this numer. (I use 16)
Indicate whether emoticons should be little images or text. Guess which one I selected. ;) Last item in this section is the name of the Category where posts default. Leave this as Uncatagorized for now and remember to come back after setting up your Categories if you want to call it something else.

Reading: Where you decide how many posts to show per page and in your feed. Also indicate whether you want your full posts to feed or just a Summary.

Discussion: Decide whether you want to moderate comments or let them post right away, whether you want trackbacks/pingbacks and notify weblogs. This is all pretty self-explanatory but if you’re unsure exactly what how trackbacks and pingbacks work, Lorelle has the answer written in non-techno babble. In a shell of some nut, you don’t have to actually do anything. WordPress.com automatically pings the big boys like Technorati and Feedster whenever you post something new. Easy, eh? You betcha.

Almost Done! Read on…

Themes: (Didn’t you want to do this one first?)When selecting one, consider more than just the way they look. Some have options (such as calendars and contact pages), some do not. Pick the one you think best matches what you want your site to do in addition to how it should look. If you select Kubrick there’s a tab for changing the header and title colors.. nice!

Links: Obvious, eh? Add your links and blogrolls here, either under one category or create several of your own. If you use a service that offers OPML links or backups, click on the Import Blogroll and fill in the url or browse for the file if it’s stored on your hard drive.

Manage: Much of what you’ll find here will be used as you begin posting. If you already know what your post Categories will be you can add them now.

Note: when writing a new post, you’ll find a Category box on the right side of the page where you can select which category the post will belong and also an empty box for creating a new category without having to make a separate trip to Manage/Category. All these boxes (discussion, password-protect, slug, etc. are moveable; click and hold to arrange them the way you want.)

Bonus tips:

  1. If your theme has a default “About” page, go to Manage/Pages and edit that sucker. Leaving the default message can make a blog look unprofessional and unfinished, especially when a slew of posts are already published. Remember: Search engines find wordpress.com blogs fast, usually within days and people will be clicking that About link. Make up a big lie if you want, just give them something that doesn’t say Under Construction.
  2. Please edit or remove the default post and the attached comment. You won’t get in trouble, the WordPress.com folks don’t mind at all, I promise.
  3. The Write Post is buggy on occasion. This post has an image in the first paragraph and a [more] link that didn’t work. Published three times, changes would not show up and it finally wouldn’t publish at all and wound up in the Drafts minus some last minute edits. You’ll learn to deal with it by copying post content before saving in case it doesn’t go through and you wind up with a blank post or, as in this case, one where the formatting is all awry. (This rarely happens anymore, but it still does on occasion.. like today.)

That’s it! Your blog is ready for the first post.

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I know I’m a little late, but I’ve been traveling – still, no excuse for being late taking a moment to say thank you for the link and recommendation. And very great intro in how to get started with WordPress.com. Thanks!

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