How to Setup Your Blog (WordPress) For Students

This was cross-posted over on Ryan Bolger’s class blog, which I wanted to announce anyway. If you’re interested in seeing what we’ll be up to this quarter jump on over there and check it out. I am looking forward to the class I am a teacher’s assistant for “Transforming Contemporary Cultures.”


This post is a quick step by step way to set up your WordPress blog. We encourage everyone to use WordPress not only because their blogs are free but they are simple to use and offer many features. Plus it helps that it’s what I use for my own site, which means I can help you if you get stuck.

Creating Your Account

Once you’ve gone to WordPress.com — Click on “Get A WordPress Blog Now.”

On this next page you want to create a username. This is the name you will use to login to Worpdress regularly so you want it to be something simple to remember. Give a real email address and check the box about all the legal stuff. Then click the next button.

You next step is to create your domain. Your domain becomes the address that you give to me once you’ve created the blog. Your blog, and every free wordpress blog, ends with wordpress.com – the part that makes it different is what you put in that first box. My example domain would be http://myaddress.wordpress.com

Then you want to create your blog’s title. It can be the same as your blog’s address, like my “professional” blog — www.gatheringinlight.com is title gathering in light. But I have a blog I use just to mess around. On there the address is, wessdaniels.wordpress.com but the title is much much different. So it really depends on what you feel like doing. For this class you’re free to choose what domain you create and what you call it.

Click signup.

Now you’ll want to check your email, and once WordPress emails you there will be a link in there that will activate your blog. You will need to login using the password they provide you and your username (you can change your password later under the “options” tab in the WordPress dashboard.

WordPress Dashboard

On the wordpress dashboard you will see two layers of tabs at the top. The top row is the main menu area, and the row just beneath it, in the darker blue, is the specific options for the main menu tab you’ve selected.

At this point what’s most important is the “Write” tab. That’s where you will be create your posts.


The Write Page

This page is where you create your posts, which are the blog entries. If you want to create a static web page select “write page” but this is not what you want for your assignments.

If you’ll notice you have a title bar – this is where you will type the week and assignment you’re posting on.

The next area just below that are the controls for your text while blogging. They are much like controls you’d find in Microsoft Word. (This bar will not show up in Mac’s Safari Browser), if you are a mac user I would suggest downloading Flock or Camino.

You have options for Bold, Italics, Strike through, Bullet points, Numbers, Indentations, alignments, creating and removing links to other websites, adding pictures, creating a line beak for your post, and spell checker.

Just below that is the text box. That’s where you do all your typing.

WordPress runs automatic saves from time to time, but if you want to save your draft click the “save” button just below the text box.

On the right you can create categories for your posts. It’s best if you have just a few categories that are broad but that make it easier to search for posts that have been “tagged” by that category. For instance if you’re writing a lot of reflections, that would make a great category. Creating too many categories however, makes them harder to use so create them sparingly. Once your categories are created they are always available in that box to be used for later posts.

Finally when you’re ready to post – click “publish.”

Finally check your post

You always want to double check to make sure your post is live. To do this click on the “View Site” link at the top of your dashboard. This will take you to your blog’s public persona. It will also


Copy URL

Once you’ve made sure that your blog post is live. The last thing you want to do is copy your URL (blog domain or address) from the address bar of your browser and paste it in an email to me.

Logging In

It will be important for you to be able to login again once you are ready to write again. You can do this a couple ways.

The easiest is to go back to wordpress.com. You can also visit your blog which will most likely have a link called “login” on it. Finally if you add /wp-admin to the end of your address it will take you to this lovely login screen, e.g. http://mydomain.wordpress.com/wp-admin

Tools

If you are looking for a browser that has a built in blog editor, which I am using for this post, then download Flock (for PC and MAC). Once you’ve set up a wordpress blog it’s really easy, and Flock’s setup wizard will walk you through it, to get moving on it. Just remember to constantly save your posts!

Flock: The web browser for you and your friends.

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Wess

...is the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

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