Putting Out the Welcome Matt
Seems the long weekends bring out a rash of new users trying their hand at starting a blog on WordPress.COM. I thought I’d repeat here what I’ve posted previously in the forums and in the odd mail that shows up from people using my contact form.
If you are entirely new to blogging, learn a bit first about blogging before you learn about the means to get there.
If you already understand what blogging is, then next understand why you want to blog.
If you’ve understood why you want to blog, next understand what you are going to blog about. WordPress.COM has conveniently provided a general list of the types of blogs allowed here. Also, advertising of some sorts is not allowed on WordPress.COM. If this last point is a deal breaker for you, then WordPress.COM is not the place to set up your blog.
After you sign up for a WordPress.COM blog, your first stop for getting your feet wet in WordPress.COM are the Support Docs, as they give a broad layout as to the various features available. I also heartily recommend picking up the 2nd or most recent edition of “WordPress for Dummies” by Lisa Sabin-Wilson at your library. While mostly for self-hosted WordPress (or WordPress.ORG), there are three chapters dealing with WordPress.COM and the book is laid out in a way that learning is more fluid than just browsing or searching the Support Docs, although all the info in the book is right there. (NAYY-just a fangirl.) Do be aware that WordPress.COM regularly tweaks and integrates new features even before they are released as a part of a regular WordPress update, so some material in the book may be slightly outdated by the time you read it.
If your topic isn’t covered in the Support Docs, your next stop should be the WordPress.COM User-to-User Support forums. Before asking your question there, please read and follow the two stickies at the top of the forums, which have lots of good information for new users of WordPress.COM. Next search the forum tag cloud and use the search form to see if your topic hasn’t already been asked and answered. The forums have been around for nearly three years and most every possible topic has been covered numerous times. A SEARCH TIP: the search box in the Support Docs is really good at turning up the more recent and relevant forum posts too.
If you’ve done all the above and still come up empty-handed, then by all means ask in the forums or contact Support directly through the link in your WordPress.COM Dashboard.
The Support forums are also a fount of creativity. There are a lot of skilled users who have come up with some great ideas and workarounds and also blog about them. Here’s the short list:
http://teckline.wordpress.com/ (now http://wpxpert.wordpress.com/)
There’s a learning curve involved in getting a blog up and running on WordPress.COM. Don’t expect to know everything right off the bat or set up your blog 100% the way you want it to look right at the start. If you want to experiment first, make your blog private or set up a second blog for testing if you don’t want those experiments to be out in the wild.
That’s making the long story short, but that’s all the time I have for now. Questions? I’ll check back in the morning after brewing a pot of coffee.
Updated: Now with excellent video where Matt discusses the future of WordPress:
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