Class 1

Dipping our toes into

Our first class in the 3-part

Start a Blog… or a web site

is Intro to your Tools.

Here’s the PDF of the slides I used.

If you open the PDF and minimize that window, you can follow along with these notes and source links from my presentation. Please note: I did not link all the links, so you may have to copy-&-paste them into your browser window to visit them.

SLIDE (Page) 1

In this 3-part class we’ll cover
Intro to your Tools;
What you can do and how you can do it;
and Tips, Tricks, Traps.


WordPress is a publishing platform that makes it easy for anyone to publish online, WordPress is an open source content management system. That is, it is software that anyone can download and use for free to build a website without having to code that website by hand. is the application we’re going to be working with. focus on creating wonderful content is hosted for free by WP, using a version of the software WordPress that’s maximized for lots of folks doing lots of things… and DE-maximizeed in some respects Hosting your own WordPress site can be fun and rewarding, but it also requires some technical knowledge and places more responsibility on you, the publisher. For this, you need to own or buy a domain name and have or rent space on a web server. is an information and “grab the software” repository

Pros of
quality hosting services,
baked-in spam protection,
automatic backups,
automatic updates,
proven security,
and some plugins and services not found elsewhere (or not right away).
Manage with just your web browser
you cannot modify the PHP source code
can’t upload any plugins
you can’t upload your own theme
you may also hear these cons:
URL will be [whatever] which seems unprofessional (you can buy, register, and use a URL for $18 a year, or redirect a URL you already own for ?$13? A year)

You will have WP-placed ads on your site. (Can pay $30 a year to avoid this)
as the ads do not display to us when we are logged in, and as many use browsers with ad blockers when logged out, they may not realize they are there at all. The only way to get rid of all advertising on our free hosted blogs and eliminate your competitors’ ads from appearing on your blog is to purchase an annually renewable No-Ads upgrade.

You can’t sell on a site.
The only things you can sell on blogs are products that you, yourself create and/or services that you personally provide.

Having a blog or website on is like renting an apartment. You don’t have to worry about the pipes freezing in winter, you don’t have to mow the backyard, and you don’t have to fix the dishwasher if it breaks — all of that is your landlord’s job.

But on the other hand, you can’t install skylights, knock down a wall to combine two rooms, or rent out your spare bedroom without the landlord’s permission.

BEWARE: When you see info on the web re WordPress… it’s usually about the program, which is used in WordPress.ORG (installing, plug-ins, backups etc)
One of the great things about using WordPress is that you can easily have your own website, blog or a combination of both.
can set up public or private blog, a web site, or both!

what do you want to do?
private or public
Post long articles, see recomm at
art/ photos gallery
write a book?

Slides 3, 4, 5

Why WordPress? Easy changes
lots of help online with forums, etc.
Why NOT another web site maker like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, Simplesite

Slide 6 parts of a blog or site… let’s call it your WEB PRESENCE

Name of blog (can delete this if you wish, put in header)
Tagline (ditto)
Header (each theme has optimal size)
Menu (May not SEE it until you SET it)
Sidebar (more than one, left or right) Some templates have full-width pages which delete the sidebar
Footer (infinite scroll)


STEP ONE: Get a user name.
You can use it for as many blogs as you like.
Your user name is JUST how you sign in.
Don’t set up your blog just yet. (And set a password)


STEP TWO: Pick your web address. There are two types of web addresses to choose from on a free web address, yours just for registering, or a custom address, which you can purchase.
For best SEO, use your focus in your name e.g. Dwayne’sDigestiveTractDoodlings (
Terms: my domain is, my URL is
You can also use a URL you already own, with a domain mapping upgrade


Set your blog’s title (which can be different from your URL) and your tagline. It’s in
dashboard> settings> general


So you now have a WordPress user name, a blog title and a tag line.
For example my user name is and this user name actually has 3 blogs set up.
my blog’s title is Create a free blog or website
with the tagline can do wonders!
and the URL of my blog is
What’s that you say? A Dashboard?


Top black bar when you’re signed in
Click on blog name to get Dashboard
Options down left side
Make your dashboard screen look the way you want it.
Contextual “help”


The fun part: choosing a theme (which you can easily and even daily change If you don’t like any of the 164 free
themes, you can always pay for a premium theme.


You can filter by features, number of columns, even color and style.
Custom Header, Custom Background, Custom Menu, Sticky Post, Microformats, Translation Ready, Featured Image Header, Featured Images, Infinite Scroll, blog, education, bright, clean, conservative, formal, Light, minimal, simple, Post Formats

If you have a theme that supports the Custom Menus Feature you can:
Change the order of pages
Nest pages to create sub-menus
Display posts on different pages by creating category pages
Add custom links to the navigation menu
take a look at how your web presence will look at mobile/ responsive:

SLIDE 14 & 15

NEXT Set up your framework:
A plan for pages
# of choices in Menu
“sub-menu” divisions
Children and grandchildren


Wait a minute… Pages? Posts?

I’m going to break with the usual way of teaching WP here and talk about pages first… then we’ll talk about posts.
Unlike posts, which are displayed on your blog’s front page in the order they’re published, pages are better suited for more timeless content that you want to be easily accessible, like your About or Contact information.
A Page is:
Static (or relatively so)Included (usually) in your menu
Can be commented on (or not)
Can present new info or specific categories of post, or link to another site

Examples: About, Our Services, Contact
Think of a page as your “brochure” About Page, Contact Page, Start Here Page, Books Page, Events Page, Archives Page,

tip: keep a private, pw protected page for your own notes and resources (you can also use a draft page or a draft post)

This next run of slides is for those of you who want a web site, with or without the blog feature. Here’s how to turn a blog into a web site: Then, make these simple adjustments to make your home page static and instantly turn it into a “regular” site:


Create the page you want to serve as your home page by going to Dashboard –> Pages –> Add New. Publish it.

SLIDES 18 + 19 +20

Now we’ll set it as the front page of your new site:
Go to Dashboard –> Settings –> Reading. Select the page you just created from the dropdown menu under Front page displays”–> A static page –> Front page. Save your changes.

21 + 22

If you would like to add a blog to your site but don’t want your home page to display your latest posts, create a page (again, Dashboard –> Pages –> Add New) entitled “Blog” or something similar. (This next point may or may not be necessary, depending on the theme you choose: In the Page Attributes box in the right column, select Blog from the dropdown menu next to Template.) Do not type anything in the post window. Hit Publish.

Go to Dashboard –> Settings –> Reading. Under “Front page displays” –> A static page –> Posts page –> Blog.


What’s a post?


Categories and tags
What are you going to write about?
Make a list of the top 5- 10 things you want to blog about. Under each one, make a list of what you want to blog about under each topic.
Set 3-5 broad topics you’ll be posting about, such as sunbathing, sand castles.


Make these your categories

Categories are like table of contents…. tags are like index…

SLIDE 26 Tags

To help the reader find what they’re interested in (and to help YOU too…. where something is, how often you write about tuna fish sandwiches…)

SLIDE 27 + 28 Designing your blog

The details of this list are on

10 Blog Design Dos & Don’ts

SLIDE 29 Enough already!
Next week, we’ll be talking about:Customizing your theme
Images & Widgets
Comments & Menus
and, as they say, even more!

#30 LAST SLIDE Resources.

(the remainder of the slides shown in the PDF are just the pretty pictures. Maybe they’ll clear your mind of information overload 😉 )


Note: I am disabling the comments for this page, and ask that you use today’s blog post for that purpose.