What is WordPress?

I don’t know. But according to WordPress.com, it “Powers 37% Of The Internet”. That’s like one-third of a pie chart plus an extra slice for dessert! I suppose we should take a seat at the table too and learn something about this platform. Let’s dig in!

WordPress Course on LinkedIn Learning

As you will know by now, I like to make use of the access to LinkedIn Learning I get for free as a member of the Toronto Public Library. They have not just one course about WordPress but an entire “learning path” of 13 courses! However, in reading over the learning path description I got a little intimidated. It says, “Go beyond simply choosing WordPress themes, and learn how to actually manipulate WordPress to build content and designs that match your unique needs.” If I’m gonna be honest, I really just want to start with simply choosing WordPress themes. (Whatever those are.)

So I did a quick Google search and the second thing that pops up, right after the WordPress site itself, is “WPBeginner – Beginner’s Guide to WordPress“. Interesting… It says that it is “a free WordPress resource site for Beginners”. Beginners! That’s us! And you know I’m a sucker for “free”. Let’s check it out together, shall we?

The WPBeginner Resource Site

Oooo, very nice. Lots of things to look at. Where to start? Right across the top it says “Beginner’s Guide for WordPress / Start your WordPress Blog in minutes” but then I am given some options that I don’t quite understand.

If you are feeling a little lost at this point, not to worry. While you were standing there looking around in awe and wonder, taking in the scenery, I scouted ahead (because that’s what I’m here for) and I think I know what path we should take.

Dot Com? Dot Org?

I don’t know if you know this, but I do know that there are two WordPresses: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. But I still get confused about the difference between the two. When I scouted ahead, I saw that the “free WordPress.com platform is a good choice for hobby bloggers and those starting a blog for their family.” (Source: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Which is Better?)

Basically, with WordPress.com, we can start a site that is completely free, just like with Wix, whereas with WordPress.org we’d have to shell out a bit of money for a domain and hosting (I have a vague idea about what these two things are; we’ll study them in more detail down the road). Both budget and blogging prowess are a bit thin at the moment for making a monetary investment, so I think we should opt for creating a free site with WordPress.com and see what all the hype is about.

This WPBeginner site looks like a really great resource and I’m sure we will refer to it again in the future. But for now, let’s head on over to WordPress.com.

The WordPress.com Site

Well, here we are!

What you are looking at on your screen may not look exactly like this. They may have switched out the look of their home page by the time you are reading this, and they also seem to have different looks depending on how you get there. But as long as the URL starts with “wordpress.com” you are in the right place.

Regardless of how you get there and what the landing page looks like for you, there should be “Log In” and “Get Started” buttons somewhere, probably in the top right-hand corner. Obviously we can’t log in without getting started first, so let’s hit that Get Started button! (This is so exciting!)

Here’s what I see:

Again, what you see on your screen probably doesn’t look like this. But you should see something that tells you to enter an email address and choose a username and password.

Uh-oh, it wants to get me a domain:

I thought we would be under the WordPress.com domain? Just like how with Wix, my free site is my_username.wixsite.com, I thought it would be something like my_username.wordpress.com. Well, I’ll try entering “Learning to Blog” and see what happens.

So they show me two options right at the top, labelled “Our Recommendation” and “Best Alternative”. These are “free” for now, but they will renew at a cost. So not exactly free then, is it?

But if I scroll down a bit, it gives me a long list of options that would cost me money eventually, but the very first option is the one that sits under the WordPress domain, and that one is free. So that’s the one I will select.

Gee, they really try hard to extract money from your wallet. Once again I was alarmed to see that I had to choose a paid plan:

But if you look closely, you’ll see tucked away under “Pick a plan that’s right for you”, in tiny writing : “Choose a plan or start with a free site”. It looks like it’s just underlined, but that’s actually a hyperlink, folks. That’s where we’re going.

And voilà!

Well that was relatively painless.

There’s a big red button right in the center that says, “Get started” and above that it says that it will guide us through setting up and launching our site. Why don’t we go our separate ways for now and meet back here when we’re done?

Sorry, just checking back in with you for a second. I’ve just finished naming my site and giving it a tagline, and now I’m in editor mode for the home page. Have you gotten this far yet? I haven’t made any changes yet–here’s what WordPress has given me to start out with:

Alright, carry on… Meet you back here.

Sorry to bother you again. I just wanted to show you something. I wasn’t really sure where to go from here so I clicked on Preview to see what it actually would look like so far. I noticed that what I had for my “tagline” is actually what I want to put as text on the Home page. So I wanted to change it. And I saw that in Preview mode, there’s an Edit Header option. Circled in red with a big red arrow pointing to it here:

When I click on that, it takes me here:

I’ve circled in red where you go to change your site’s title and tagline. And then I saw all the other things I can do here, like change the site’s colours and backgrounds. I think I could spend a lot of time here exploring backgrounds and pretty colours…

So I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted. And hungry. I think we should take a break here and enjoy our little slice of pie. Let’s ramble a bit on our own and come back to compare notes in the next post.