Create a Blog or Website
Whether you’re starting your first blog, or a professional site, or looking to add a new site to your existing account, registering is easy!
Signing Up for Your First WordPress.com site
To sign up for your first WordPress.com site, simply fill out the signup form.
Your site address can include lowercase letters (a-z) and numbers.
Adding a New Site or Blog to an Existing Account
- Log in to your account (if you are not already logged in).
2. Point your browser to https://wordpress.com/start to register your new site.
- Log in by clicking/tapping on the Login button on the http://wordpress.com page.
- Select the My Sites tab.
- Open the site selector by clicking on Switch Site at the top of the sidebar. (Note: Skip this step if your account currently has only one site.)
- Click or tap on Add New WordPress at the bottom of the sidebar.
Deleted Site Names/URLs
A WordPress.com site owner can choose, at any time, to permanently delete their site. There are any number of reasons someone may want to do this, and we certainly respect their wishes and decisions.
Sites that have been deleted by the owner will remain deleted. We cannot, under any circumstances, allow someone to take over a site name that was previously owned and deleted by its original/previous owner. Please do not submit support requests asking us to do this.
Reserved Site Names/URLs
When a WordPress.com user signs up for an account we reserve the URL of their username. So if they signed up for the username of exampleuser we would reserve exampleuser.wordpress.com for them. There is nothing we can do to unreserve it and you will need to choose a different name.
Your WordPress.com site’s URL can be edited later, while the custom domain you have purchased can not be edited later.
Great, you’ve registered a website on wordpress.com. Now what? Whether you’re building a small business website or a personal portfolio, these five steps will get the framework of your new website all set up, leaving it ready and waiting for your great content.
- Outline your site’s content.
Note: A theme sets the look and feel of your site. Although all themes in our Theme Showcase fundamentally work the same way, themes can have significant differences regarding specific layouts, options, and functionality.
One of the first things that most people do with a new site or when freshening up an existing one is spend loads of time looking at themes. Once they choose a theme, it’s not uncommon for folks to spend considerable time and effort customizing it, all without planning for content. If you’re in that group, I hope you’ll reconsider your approach.
You see, content should come first.
This is a good thing for everyone to remember, not just first-time bloggers. A site with ho-hum content — or worse, no content — will keep people from coming back, assuming that they find your site in the first place.
Content should drive the theme, not vice versa. What good is a pretty site if no one looks at it?
Why do so many people work on their theme first?
Most of us are visual thinkers. Others may just overestimate the importance of how a site looks and underestimate the importance of what it says.
But there’s another reason. Writing can be hard work.
There have been times that I’ve played with themes as a procrastination method when I was unsure what to write or self-conscious about sharing my writing.
Spending time looking for themes and customizing them are ways to feel like you’re working on your site (and you are) without doing the hardest and most personal work: creating content.
The good news? Having a plan can guide you even during those times when your muse has left the building or your internal editor is hollering at you that your writing isn’t good enough.
So let’s put a plan together!
Measure once: define your scope
Maybe you’re a brand-new writer or perhaps your blog’s focus has shifted over time. Or maybe you haven’t changed your theme in a while and want a new look.
No matter which group you’re in, you should spend some time thinking about what you want to write about — and what you don’t want to write about — before picking a theme.
Let’s say that you want to write about travel. Specifically, you want to write about places you’ve been, places you want to go to, travel tips, and travel gear. However, you absolutely do not want to write about the ins and outs of frequent flyer programs because who can keep all of that stuff straight?
Congratulations! You just created the beginning of a content plan.
Hint: Use the Reader to browse other blogs on the same topic you want to write about to see how others organize their content.
It’s helpful to create a basic sitemap at this stage.
- Create pages.
Pages are static. That means that the information displayed on a page doesn’t change, or doesn’t change often. A great example of a page would be the About or Contact Us section of a website.
Create a New Page
Watch the video below for a quick overview of how it works, and read below for more examples and settings.
To add a new page, navigate to My Site(s), then click Add next to Pages:
You’ll land on the Editor, where you can add text, media, embeds, contact forms, or any other content for your page. Customize, review, save, or publish your new page using the editor settings.
Edit a Page
If you would like to edit an existing page, head to My Site(s) then click Pages on the left menu. Next to the page you’d like to edit, select Edit from the dropdown.
Setting a “Home” Page
By default the front page of new WordPress.com sites will display posts from your blog. If you would like to create a more traditional website, add a page called “Home” and add any content you want to display. Next, head to Customize in My Site(s) and select Static Front Page. Choose your new “Home” page as the front page for your site. Here are more detailed steps for added help.
Creating a “Blog” Page
Again, by default the front page of new WordPress.com sites will display posts from your blog. If you prefer to have a static homepage with a link to your blog on a separate page, create a new page and give it a telling name, like “Blog,” “Company Blog,” “Updates,” or “News.” Then head to Customize in My Site(s) and select Static Front Page. Under the “Posts page” dropdown, select the new page you would like to display your posts.
Create Sub-Pages / Page Order
The Page Attributes module in Editor allows you to set page parents and templates, and to change the order of your pages.
Also, 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 the Menu Support Page to learn more.
How to Find the Page ID
You can find the Page ID in the Edit Page URL. For example, the page ID for the following example is “58167694.”
Getting your pages to look just right
Your site’s Theme and the widgets you add to your site via Customize will dictate how your site’s pages look. For more information on getting the look and feel of your site just right, take a peek at Customize support.
3. Configure your site to use a static home page.
A new wordpress.com website defaults to a “blog” view. Tweak the site’s settings to create a regular home page instead, using the home page you just made.
Set a Static “Home” Page (Front Page)
By default the front page of your WordPress.com site will display latest posts from your blog. If you would like to create a more traditional website, you can set a static “home” page instead.
Watch the video below for a quick overview of how it works, and read below for more examples and settings.
- Create a “Home” page
In your site dashboard add a new page, and title your new page “Home.” Be sure to publish this page.
- Set a Static Front Page
Launch the Site Customizer and click on the Static Front Page tab on the left.
Select the Static Page option, then choose your new page from the Front Page drop down.
The preview window will display your newly selected page as the front page of your site.
- Save your changes
Click on the Save & Publish button to save your static page settings.
- Create a custom menu
You may notice that you have two “home” links on your site menu, or that the pages on your site are not displayed in the order you wish.
The good news is that you can create a custom menu for your site in any arrangement you like by following the steps in our Custom Menus guide.
Optional – Create a blog page
If you would like to have a blog, you have the option to set up a separate page to display your recent posts elsewhere on your site.
As with setting a static “home” page above, you will need to create a new page called “blog” and return to the site customizer, and choose this page from the Posts Page drop down.
4. Pick a theme you love.
Now that you have the basics in place, choose a theme you love. It may sound backward, but having pieces of your website set up first will make it easier to see whether a theme works for you.
A theme controls the general look and feel of your site including things like page layout, widget locations, and default font and color choices. WordPress.com has a wide range of themes for you to choose from in the Theme Showcase where each theme has an about page that includes features and instructions. New themes are always being added, so click on the Trending view in the Theme Showcase to see what’s new and popular. You can change your theme as often as you like.
Watch the video below for a quick overview of how to change your theme, and read below for more examples and settings.
Here’s an example of a theme, Edda:
Activate a Theme
To activate a theme, go to My Sites → Themes in any site’s dashboard or the Theme Showcase. Click on the three dots to the right of the theme’s name and then click on Activate.
The active theme is shown at the very top of My Sites → Themes.
Please note that the currently selected theme will not appear in the results when browsing or searching for other themes.
To view all 380 themes available, go to the Theme Showcase or My Sites → Themes menu option in your site’s dashboard.
You can sort themes by clicking the links for Trending, Popular, and Newest at the top of the page, and you can filter those results for Free or Premium.
Additional filters are available in the Theme Showcase for popular types of themes such as photography, food, music, portfolio, business, and more. You can also filter by feature, such as Custom Header or Post Slider, or by layout, color, or price.
Looking for a particular theme or a feature? Enter your keyword in the search box, and you’ll only be shown themes that match.
The search is real time and the count number shows the number of themes that match your search criteria. Note that the search results will be sorted according to your viewing mode, such as Trending.
To preview a theme before activating it, go to My Sites → Themes. Click on the three dots to the right of the theme’s name, and then click on Try & Customize.
This action takes you to the Customizer, which will show you a live preview of the theme with your content. It’s a great way to test drive a theme if you already have content on your site.
You can scroll up and down and even click around in your blog to get an idea of how the new theme will work with your content.
If you like what you see, click the Save & Activate or Purchase button in the top left corner of the Customizer window. Click the X found in the top left corner of the Customizer window to back out and continue browsing through the theme showcase for a better fit.
Another way to preview is to look at the demo site for the theme. You can get to the demo site by going to My Sites → Themes. Click on the three dots to the right of any theme’s name and then click on Details. You’ll be taken to detailed information on that theme. You can try out the theme by clicking on the Demo button that appears on the top right of the details screen. The Theme Showcase also has direct links to each theme’s demo site.
Clicking on a theme’s thumbnail will show you a preview of that theme in the Customizer. If you like this theme, click the Save & Activate or Purchase button in the top left corner of the Customizer window. Click the X found in the top left corner of the Customizer window to back out and continue browsing through themes to find one more suited to your site.
If you already know this is the theme you want, you can go ahead and click on Save & Activate or Purchase. Purchasing a theme will activate it by default.
Sidebar Elements in Older Themes
Some older themes offer a set of sidebar elements. For example, the Nuntius theme offers a search bar and an archives list as default sidebar elements. You will notice that when you go to My Sites → Customize → Widgets these elements will NOT appear among your Current Widgets. To remove these sidebar elements, go to My Sites → Customize → Widgets and add one or more widgets to the widget area. This will replace all sidebar elements with the widget(s) of your choice.
For comprehensive information on WordPress.com widgets, please see our widget documentation.
In addition to our many free themes, we also offer a selection of gorgeous Premium Themes that feature exciting customization options and exclusive support directly from the theme authors. Each theme has been carefully designed to help you present your message to the world.
If you like switching themes often or want unlimited access to the newest premium theme offerings, you might like the Business upgrade.
When you change a theme, nearly everything comes with you. Your posts, pages, media, blogroll and all of your content stay with you.
When you change to a new theme, there are a few things you’ll want to check afterward:
You’ll want to reassign your Custom Menus to the locations you want them in the new theme. Each theme supports different locations, depending on the theme.
You’ll want to place your Widgets in the proper Widget locations. Like Custom Menus, each theme supports different locations, depending on the theme.
The only thing that would not come with you is Custom CSS, because that is theme-specific. You will find your past CSS in the CSS revisions link located at My Sites → Customize → CSS.
Uploading Custom Themes
Instead of uploading a theme, try checking out the current theme collection to see if there’s an option there that will work well for you.
WordPress.com does not offer the option to modify theme files directly, however, you may make changes to a theme by adding CSS if you purchase the WordPress.com Premium or WordPress.com Business plans, both include the Custom Design feature. Custom Design also comes with custom fonts and colors which let you change entire color palettes and font selections for themes with a few clicks, no coding required.
You do not need to know how to code to change fonts or colors using the built in tools, however, you do need to have some CSS knowledge to make changes using the CSS Editor. Our support team can help you get started in the CSS Customization forum. We also provide links to tips, tutorials, and books on our Custom CSS page.
Note that Custom Design does not allow you to edit core PHP or template files. Learn More.
Themes on WordPress.com support the latest two versions of browsers at Browse Happy:
- Internet Explorer (11 only)
5. Create a menu.
Finally, create a menu of all your new pages so visitors can navigate your site easily.
Custom Menus are a list of common links that are usually displayed as the main navigation for your site. The menu location can vary depending on your theme, and some themes offer additional menus such as social links menus.
Watch the video below for a quick overview of how a custom menu works, and read below for more examples and settings.
To add your first custom menu, follow these steps:
1. Create a Custom Menu
Go to your My Sites, and click on Menus to create your first custom menu. By default the Primary Menu area for your theme is selected for you, and Default Menu has been started.
To change the name of your Default Menu, click on the pencil icon and give it a new name like “Main Menu.”
2. Organize your menu
If you have any pages already published on your site, those pages will be listed for you in your first menu. You can also add any additional pages and links you’d like.
Note: Before a new page can be added to your menu, you must first create and publish it.
To re-order your menu, move a menu item by dragging-and-dropping, or by updating the settings within the item you’d like to move:
- Click on the pencil icon next to it.
- In the menu item details, click on the Move button.
- Click the Move here link closest to where you want to move the item.
- Select Move Item Above or Move Item Below.
You can also add a drop-down to your menu using the drag-and-drop feature.
- Add the link to your menu that will appear in a drop-down list.
- Drag it and drop it directly beneath the main menu item you want it to be found under.
- Drag it again, this time to the right, so it indents beneath the main menu item, and drop it there.
- Save your menu
Once you have organized your menu, be sure to click the Save button to save your custom menu.
Additional menu items
In addition to pages you have already published, you can add several different types of menu items to your custom menu:
- Page – Adds a link to another page on your site.
- Link – Adds a custom URL linking to another site.
- Category – Shows a feed of blog posts from a given category.
- Tag – Shows a feed of blog posts from a given tag.
- Post – links directly to a blog post on your site.
To add one of these menu items:
- Click on the + icon next to an existing item and choose whether the new item should go above or below it. (You can always move it again after you create it.)
- Choose the menu item type from the list that appears at the left.
- Select from the options displayed for that type.
- Give the menu item a name in the New Item field — this is what will actually appear in your menu.
- Click the Add Item button.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. The type of menu item I want is unsupported, what should I do?
If you get a warning saying that your item type is unsupported, or you can’t see your desired type in the types list, you can still edit these types at WP Admin → Menus. Currently, some Post formats are not supported in the new menu page but are still supported in WP Admin.
Q. It’s showing a Menu but when I go on my site the menu is not there, how do I fix it?
If your theme isn’t showing your default menu, try making any change to the menu and re-save — this should force the theme to use that menu.
Q. Where is the feature X that was there before?
If you want advanced features, such as adding menu item descriptions, CSS classes, changing a link’s target or title attributes — please use WP Admin → Menus.
Q. How do I create an un-clickable parent tab for my sub-menu
To create a menu item that is not clickable but will contain submenu items, just add a Link menu item and add a # symbol in the “Link Address (URL)” field.
There’s lots more you’ll do to tailor your website — you might find these tips helpful — but you’re off to a great start! Continue fleshing out your content, add your logo or branding, connect your site to your social media presence, and more.
Tool tip: I used Creately, a free online tool, to make this sitemap, but you can use a pencil and paper. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
A sitemap serves as a visual representation of how your content is organized and how each piece relates to the whole.
Measure twice: decide on basic presentation
Now that you have an idea of what you’re going to write about and how you’re going to organize it, let’s talk about how you want to present your content. Here are a few things to think about, using our travel blog example for reference:
- Will your content be text-heavy with essays about your travel or image-heavy with pictures of places you’ve been?
- Is there specific content that you want to draw particular attention to, like a travel tip of the week? If so, how will you do that?
- Are you planning to use widgets to showcase content, link to your social media profiles, or encourage people to follow you? If so, do you want to add them to a sidebar, footer, or maybe both?
- Speaking of sidebars, do you want one? Are there any other layout options you need, like multiple columns?
- What general colors or style are you looking for? Perhaps a glamorous look for today’s jetsetter or a retro vibe invoking the golden age of travel?
- Are there design elements or features that will help your visitors more easily navigate your site to find the content they’re looking for?
You may find that sketching a basic layout, or wireframe, is helpful.
Tool tip: Like the sitemap, this wireframe example was done using Creately, but again, pencil and paper work just fine.
Using your plan, it’s time to get working on creating content. You just need a bit of content to get started, so don’t worry about having everything set before you pick a theme.
Hint: If you need some inspiration, we’ve got you covered with daily prompts or our free ebook, 365 Days of Writing Prompts. Once you’re off to a good start, consider using an editorial calendar to help keep you going.
Once you have just a few pieces of content in place, you’re ready to go theme shopping!
Using your notes on presentation, check out our Theme Showcase. Use the filters at the top to narrow down the selection. You can also choose to include free themes only, premium themes only, or all themes.
If you have the WordPress.com Business plan on your site, you also have access to our premium themes.
Next, pick a few themes that come closest to the layout and style that you’re looking for and have the features you need. You should be down to a handful of themes at this point, so spend time poking around each demo site, then choose the one you like best.
So that’s it!
You should now have some new tools in your toolbox to help you build or update your site using a theme that will fit your needs.
We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and tell us how you picked your current theme or which tactics you used to plan your layout around your content. Or, if you’ve been inspired to make some changes, let us know how things go!